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How To Register A Company In South Africa

24 July 2019– In South Africa there are five different types of companies that you can register and they can be registered either as a non-profit or profit company. A popular online and easy-to-use choice is the CIPC (Companies and Intellectual Property Commission) but there are many private companies who also charge a fee to manage the whole process for you.

While it is not necessary for all businesses to formalise their registration, companies that wish to do business with the government or formal sector or to participate in tenders are required to do so. These types of businesses will benefit from a lower tax rate than that applied to individuals. As a registered business, you will need to file an annual tax return and pay an annual fee – whether the company is trading or not.

However, more informal businesses and sole proprietors may not feel that there is initially much benefit to them to warrant this step. It is important to bear in mind that even though you may not formally register your company, you will still have to be registered with the South African Revenue Services (SARS), as you are liable for tax if your turnover exceeds the prescribed threshold.

In terms of the South African Companies Act, 2008, a company may be registered with or without a company name. If you register your company without a reserved name, its registration number automatically becomes the company name, which is the quickest way to register it. Your company may transact with a trading name or add a name at a later stage. If you add the name at a later stage, you will first need to reserve the name and then apply for a name change. There is an additional cost to this.

Whatever type of company you decide to register, you will require a Memorandum of Incorporation (MOI) which lays out the rules agreed to by the shareholders for the running and maintenance of the business activities. This MOI is available in a standard format or can be customised to impose certain conditions or waive specific requirements. If you decided on a customised MOI, it is suggested that you draw this up with the assistance of a legal person and this document must be submitted together with your company registration application.

A private company is the most common and simplest type of company to be registered. Private companies must have at least one Director and one Incorporator – who may be the same person. Close Corporations are no longer allowed.

The following steps need to be taken to register as a Private Company with a standard MOI on the CIPC’s website:

  1. Register as a customer here
  2. Deposit the required amount for the registration into the CIPC account
  3. Reserve your corporate name
  4. Register your Private Company with a standard MOLI online

The following supporting documents must be scanned and emailed to the CIPC at eServicesCoReg@cipc.co.za:

  • Certified identity copy of applicant;
  • Certified copies of the Identity Documents of the Directors and Incorporators;
  • The name confirmation certificate (COR9.4), if applicable;
  • Power of Attorney (if applicable);
  • For trust or company/juristic person as an incorporator, the resolution and certified ID copy of the duly authorised representative must be attached.

A Company Registration Certificate can be issued within 3 – 5 days after the submission of all the required documentation. The MOI can take up to 10 days to process, especially if you have made any amendments to the standard version.

You can obtain more information here, If you have not already registered your company with SARS.

 

How To Quickly Set Up A Virtual Office

July 2019 –Virtual office space is an effective way to align functionality with affordability. Most companies that rent virtual office space include a prestigious business address and a professional receptionist in the package. Additional facilities such as meeting rooms for hire and access to free business networking events are usually also included.

First Steps To Setting Up A Virtual Office

Although you won’t need a physical office, there are other facilities that you will need to consider, once you have secured your virtual office. You will need to establish how you to interface with your clients and suppliers, as well as what tools you will be using to do this and to run your business.

Since you will not have a visible premises to showcase your products and possibly few, if any, salespeople performing cold-calling for you, it is imperative that your business has an online presence – in the form of a website and relevant social media accounts, as well as regular blog articles,  for marketing purposes.

1 – Set Up Your Website

Your first priority needs to be the creation of a website, after you have registered an appropriate domain name (i.e. www.yourcompany.com) with a professional hosting service. Professional website builders and content creators can also be contacted via online companies such as Fiverr.com, which is an online marketplace advertising freelance services.

2 – Create Your Social Media Platforms

Once your website, with its Search Engine Optimised content, is live you will need to open relevant social media platforms, such as LinkedIn, Instagram, Facebook, etc., to ensure that your company gets noticed.

3 – Blog Articles

Regular blog articles about your products and services or industry news should be utilised to keep search engines coming back to index your site and keep it visible when clients are searching for your company or products and services.

4 – Communicating With Your Clients

Once you have taken care of your online presence, you will need to examine what types of communication tools you will use. There are conferencing apps like Skype for Business or Webex which allow you to hold voice or video conferences with others anywhere in the world – so long as they have an internet connection. WhatsApp or Facebook Messenger are also very popular tools for instant messaging and image sharing. Instagram is a wonderful platform to use if your product has great visual appeal.

5 – Cloud Storage For Data

On-site servers are expensive and external hard drives are limited in their storage capacity and also susceptible to theft or damage – which creates a risk for your data storage. With DropBox, Office 365’s OneDrive or even GoogleDrive, you can store content in the “cloud” and share it quickly and easily with others.

6 – Getting Your Team Together

As previously mentioned, you may have very few employees – especially when you operate a virtual business. You will reach a stage when you need to outsource some of your work to contractors and freelancers to assist you with some of your projects, IT or accounting issues. Using companies such as People Per Hour or Upwork makes this easy as you will not have to bring a full-time employee onto your books, but simply contract work out to them.

Virtual Office Rentals in Johannesburg or Mauritius

If you are looking to rent virtual offices in Johannesburg or Mauritius, you can buy memberships from The Business Exchange. Read here to find out more about these office spaces and their additional services.

You can also contact The Business Exchange, if you require assistance to set up or maintain your website or social media platforms.

 

How To Market Your Business

June 2019 –We have some suggestions for you on how to maximise your marketing efforts by working smarter and not harder! Marketing is not only about handing out flyers, samples and discounts or getting your car wrapped to get your brand more visible. You need to do some necessary groundwork to ensure that you are prepared for the questions and sales leads that will follow your marketing efforts.

Sell the Benefits NOT the Features

Before you embark on any type of marketing, you first need to make a distinction between the features and the benefits of your product or service. The easiest way to determine this is to ask yourself – what problem does my product / service solve? These are your benefits. Always address the benefits to your potential customers first. They must be made aware of why they need your product / service to get their buy-in.

Who are my clients?

Once you have established the benefits, you need to clearly define who your customer is. In other words; Who will be using your product / service? Why will they need it? Where are they situated? Can they afford it? Detailed research around this will save you a lot of time, money and effort in the long run.

What is an “Elevator Pitch”?

Now that you know who will be using your product / service and why, you need to develop an Elevator Pitch. An Elevator Pitch is a brief, persuasive speech of 20 – 30 seconds that you use to spark interest in your product, service or company. You should always be ready for any opportunity to talk about what you do in order to generate sales leads.

Do you have a website?

If you have a product or service to offer – you MUST have a website. It doesn’t have to be anything fancy and a lot of basic websites can be designed without any coding knowledge. A website will help your potential customers find your business and should address most of their basic enquiries, as well as provide a clear path for them to take a specific action in making a purchase or contact.

What about social media?

Social media is the next consideration – after you have established your website. However, not everyone uses social media, and the choice of platform that you choose must align with the type of product / service you supply. Your understanding of your customer profile will assist you greatly with this decision. You may find that your customers respond better to emails or flyers.

Network and build relationships

Using providers of flexible, serviced workspace, such as The Business Exchange in Johannesburg and Mauritius, you will have access to their free regular networking events where you will be able to mingle with other business people, spread the word about your business and receive coaching and mentoring from guest speakers. This is a fabulous opportunity to meet potential clients and build long-lasting business relationships.

Ask for referrals

Never underestimate the power of friends, family and existing customers. If they are happy with your services – be brave and ask them for a referral, whether by word of mouth or online. Many residential areas have their own Facebook groups and residents are always asking for referrals on these

Emailing Lists

Email marketing is still a highly effective method of reaching your customers. You can establish a business blog which offers relevant advice and where clients can subscribe to a newsletter about your latest specials. Each time someone subscribes, you have another potential client. The same can be done for giveaways or discounts which are provided in return for an email address.

Your marketing efforts need to be on point at all times. You need to be close to your customers and aware of the slightest changes in your market so that you can optimise your marketing activities as required. Research should never end.

To find out how The Business Exchange, can support your marketing efforts, please email our Business Manager or view our website

How To Improve Communication in The Workspace

Office Tips from The Business Exchange

February 2019 – One of the major hindrances to effective business activities and relationships in the workspace, is either a lack of or poor communication. Good indicators that communication is not optimal in your office are the high levels of stress, tension and fear exhibited. Good communication goes hand-in-hand with a company culture of stability and predictability.

What Are The Effects of Poor Communication in the Office Workspace?

Poor communication can lead to expectations not being met in terms of deadlines, which affects a manager’s perception of their employee’s performance. This can lead to performance management and other disciplinary measures against the beleaguered employee, adding to the low morale, stress and tension that he or she is already feeling in the office environment.

Once tensions reach a certain level, an emotional upheaval can be expected which will lead to accusations, frustration, anger and hurt – all of which create a negative snowball effect on the company culture and further depress the mood in the workspace.

Another important factor to consider is that dissatisfied employees create dissatisfied clients – which will affect your company’s bottom line.

So, if communication is not important to you, then it should be! You will need to gain insight into the levels of communication in your company. This means that you will need to understand;

  • How transparent your employees’, their teams’ and your communication is.
  • How they feel about your current level of communication with them.
  • Are they comfortable with sharing ideas amongst each other?
  • How frequently is communication about company-related issues happening in your company?

Steps To Improve Communication In the Workplace

Both the quality and the quantity of your communication is crucial to building relationships and handling difficult conversations in the workspace. As different as your employees are from each other, so too are their communication skills, levels and requirements. At first glance, it may seem like a marathon task to begin to understand all the different communication dynamics, but we have a few pointers that will help you.

  • Invest in a good communication course from the Cleaner to the CEO!
  • Consistently encourage a communication-friendly culture.
  • Practice active listening with each other, i.e. a conscious effort to understand what is being said.
  • Personalise your communication according to each individual.
  • Be genuine in your communication with each other – don’t overdo it.
  • Have a preference for face-to-face communication and learn to watch for body language clues.
  • Team-building is a great way to learn to understand and communicate better with each other.

Change the Communication Dynamics in your Workspace From the Top Down

Finally, as a Manager or business owner, it is your responsibility to set an example of good communication within the workspace. You are integral in changing behaviour and culture. Something as simple as walking around and greeting everyone first thing in the morning will slowly help improve the morale. Get to know the employees who you don’t directly work with; ask questions about their families or their work, encourage them to give input on company projects and encourage an open-door policy, where they have access to you when they need someone at a higher level.

Remember – a great communication culture starts with you!

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How to Give Employee Perks Without Breaking the Bank

Office Tips from The Business Exchange

January 2019 – As a provider of flexible office space, The Business Exchange knows how much everyone loves benefits, especially your employees! Company benefits are a great way to attract a talented workforce and show your employees just how much you value and appreciate them.

Recently, two key findings released by the Aflac WorkForces Report (AWR), a national online survey undertaken across the U.S. since 2011, noted an increase in employee satisfaction since 2017.

Further studies indicated that employers were offering more useful company benefits to their staff, as they realised what a difference these benefits made to the well-being of their employees, the majority of who were struggling with health and financial issues.

As an employer, benefits are probably on your low list of priorities – especially when it comes to cutting costs. “Company Benefits” have unfortunately been hit and miss in many instances with some benefits being little more than tricks to get the employees motivated for a short period. However, the right benefits programme will probably save you money in the long-term, when you consider finding suitable ways in which to proactively influence your employees’ motivation, health and general well-being in the office space.

Today’s benefits-driven employees are quick to recognise tacky benefit package efforts, which is why we’ve put together some time-proven ideas which won’t break the bank.

Health and Wellbeing in Work Space
If your company is unable to afford a full medical aid scheme for your employees, there are other very basic and affordable options that more medical aid companies are starting to offer. From personal experience, I have seen the relief in our employee’s faces when they realise that they can now afford professional treatment for themselves and their family.

Company workouts are a new trend and encourage group workouts at the workspace, such as yoga or pilates, in the afternoon after work. This is an excellent way of getting your exercise in before you get home and avoiding rush hour!

Encourage Charitable Services
In a country where community needs are so high, companies can easily encourage their employees to volunteer their time at registered charities, by offering paid time off in lieu of a certain amount of hours volunteered at pre-approved charities. The science behind this thinking is that the company motivates the employee to volunteer and the employee becomes happier by practising generosity.

Encouraging Thankfulness in the Workplace
Thankfulness is an excellent way to remember all the little things that matter. A simple gratitude blog on your company intranet where employees can mention, (anonymously if they so wish), things for which they are grateful also contributes towards inner happiness and allows employees to get to know each other a little more.

Company Support or Interest Groups
Clubs or groups that appeal to a common interest can be held before or after work, or even during a lunch period. Guest speakers can be approached to talk about life skills, and hobbies or awareness groups can come together in support of each other or shared interests.

Flexitime at the Office
Many, but not all, employees enjoy the flexibility of being able to manage their own time with a flexible schedule, especially companies with employees who are young parents. Remote working is possible but requires trust between the manager and employee. Employers will most likely experience an increase in productivity when the employee respects this flexible type of work model.

Holiday Daycare at the Office
Parents of school-going children always battle to find daycare once the schools close for vacation. Depending on the availability of suitable space in your building and local regulations, it may be worth considering bringing in some qualified au-pairs to entertain the kids during the holidays, while the parents work. This will relieve a lot of stress, especially with employees who are single parents.

Let Music Feed Their Souls
Most companies have uncapped wifi, and this is a great way to offer another low-cost benefit to your employees by allowing them to stream music to their headsets while at their desks. This won’t cost you any more than you are already paying, reduces their stress and saves everyone from listening to the same station blaring out in the open workspace.

Pass on your Corporate Discounts
Larger companies may enjoy numerous discounts from their suppliers, so why not pass these onto your employees?

Spoil the Ladies (and Men)
Consider bringing a manicurist or nail technician into the offices and allocate them a separate room, where employees can avail themselves to a nail treatment once a month. The company provides the employee with an hour a month, and the employee covers the cost of the treatment.

A Branded Welcome
Provide a small, branded welcome pack to each new employee. This needn’t cost much. It can consist of a t-shirt, pen, notebook and a packet of mints. Something simple but thoughtful.

Birthdays are Special!
Some companies give their employees a day or half-day off work when it’s their birthday. This is another small, low-cost way of making an employee feel valued.

Personal Development Library
Encourage your employees’ personal development by allowing them to buy e-books on the company’s account so that they can learn new skills or purchase self-development and business type e-books which all employees can access.

There are so many creative ways to engage with your employees and to make them feel happier and more motivated without costing a fortune. If you run out of ideas, send out a survey and ask your employees for suggestions – you may be surprised at how little it takes to create a great corporate culture.

 

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