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Diaspora Matters

Diaspora Matters

App Group for Shipping Containers Formed

containers

One of the biggest costs you are likely to encounter when importing goods is shipping costs. With a lot of people importing goods from countries such as Turkey, China and Dubai, our forum realised that costs can be reduced drastically if importers pool their funds and import together.

Inorder to help local importers, we have created a community where people share import costs and monitor movement of their goods from abroad. There has been massive responses and interest from many small businesses and we believe this will go a long way in reducing costs and hurdles of importation of goods.

Interested? Then join our Facebook Page where you can find details on the group.

 

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Diaspora Matters

Useful website for tracking Zim currency rates

forex

Tired of asking people what the latest rates are on the streets? Then your answer lies on this website http://rate.co.zw and today;s rates are as follows:

Last updated Mon 15 Oct 2018, 15:05

OMIR

561%

USD / RTGS

130%

USD / Bond

120%

Bond / RTGS

20%

USD / ZAR

14.3638

ZAR / Bond

0.1400

ZAR / RTGS

0.1700

Meanwhile our forum has recommended the setting up of Bureau De Changes for all forex dealing. This helps to formalise the informal sector and stabilise rates in addition to creation of formal employment and contribution to the fiscus through taxes.

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Diaspora Matters

Riding the hyper inflationary wave

wave

Its now a fact that we are in hyper inflationary season and this is a wave we have to ride and avoid sinking-its a sink or swim situation. So how do you protect your business?

1.Join groups where other entrepreneurs discuss latest events, the experiences they are facing and strategies they are using. Our forum provides various platforms for small businesses discussions

2.Some businesses have closed shop on a temporary basis. This allows them to take stock of their financial and operational affairs. They are waiting for the wave to subside and restrategise when the coast is clear. You can make huge sales but at a loss or increase prices and lose your loyal customers…its safer to close shop and then monitor developments.

3.Keep in contact with your suppliers,how much are they charging? What are their next plans?

4.Everyone is waiting for the next government policy measure to address the crisis, will there be price controls? Will there be dollarisation? The recent monetary policy is a reference document…keep informed of the next steps to be taken and assess their likely impact on your business operations and models

5.Your clients should also be informed of the steps you are taking, challenges you are facing….keep them informed of your business closure and opening…clients hate surprises!

6.Monitor your competition activities…are they closed too or open? Have they found an alternative supplier?

7. Foreign markets…take this period to look at opportunities in the region, Zambia, Malawi, Mozambique, Lesotho and RSA. Focusing your operations locally increases risks, are there gaps in the region you can exploit?

8. Keep a positive mindset…allow time to panic, to be angry, to predict doom….but after this phase its time to innovate, find out how you survived in 2008, look for references from South America for countries that have experienced the same situation like us. Your research skills will be crucial  in finding out how others are doing it…Innovate, get your best brains on the table and come up with scenarios of operations. If dollarisation comes…how does it impact you? If keep prices keep rising…what is the end game? Crucially when is it going to stop?

9. Dont forget risk management…keep your operations safe-your inventory, premises, hard cash if you have any-risk is extremely high in inflationary periods.

10. Manage the stress…stress from clients, suppliers, employees. Everyone is experiencing stress and therefore be careful of stress related strategies. Stress stops you from clear thinking or thought processes, stress sometimes lead to unnecessary panic.

11. Are you surprised with the turn of events? If you were totally caught unaware this means there were gaps in your business strategy, you did not do enough scenario planning in your strategy because you should simply have activated Plan B or C. Do not be caught unawares next time, your business strategy should be water tight next time and closely follow macro-economic events in the region and in the country.

12. It will be well (hopefully)…This is a phase-perhaps necessary to normalise the economy in the long run. We have gone through this before and survived…Of course it will leave a lot of scars but if you go through the points we noted above you can find ways to lessen the stress.

All the best

 

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Diaspora Matters

The untold story of cross border bus accidents in South Africa

intercape

More than 20  people perished in 2 separate  cross border bus accidents near Polokwane in South Africa  last week. What could be possible  causes of the accidents? Our organisation conducts various entrepreneurship training programs across the region and last week we traveled to South Africa for trainings in South Africa and Botswana.

On the early hours of Monday, we witnessed a Zambian cross border bus accident that claimed the lives of 9 Zambians. We arrived 10 minutes after the accident had happened and witnessed most passengers still trapped inside the overturned bus. The apparent cause of the accident was a burst front tyre . A few days later another bus accident carrying Zimbabweans claimed a similar number of casualties although the cause of the accident is still unknown.

What could be the causes of the bus accidents? It could be mechanical failures such as tyre bursts, human errors such as fatigue or thugs throwing obstacles on the roads in order to cause accidents and steal from hapless accident victims. The latter point maybe true given the timing of accidents and also confirmation of several buses that are being stoned on the N1 road. So bus owners and passengers should be on the look out for deliberate accidents happening in the wee hours on the road. We witnessed several victims being assisted by passersby and there were suspicions of some victims losing possessions such as wallets to ‘helpers’.

So choose carefully the time of travel because travelling during the early morning on this stretch of the road makes you susceptible to possible attacks and accidents.

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Diaspora Matters

SADC Women Entrepreneurs Newsletter

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What are women entrepreneurs up to? What is trending? How is our organisation helping women in Botswana, Lesotho, Eswatini, Malawi, Namibia, South Africa, Zambia and Zimbabwe? Get all the answers from our exciting newsletter covering some of our regional work in Southern Africa.

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Diaspora Matters

Of Glenview 3 Clinic, Cholera Outbreak and Internal controls

interr

Did spend the greater part of today at Glenview 3 Clinic one of the epicenters of the cholera outbreaks. The clinic is one of the 2 referral centres assisting patients with cases or suspected cases of cholera and typhoid . Had taken a relative who was critically ill but luckily he was attended to after 8 hours of treatment. Witnessed a lot of great work being done by the Ministry of Health and Child Welfare, City Council Health Dept, Oxfam GB and MSF. Hundreds of patients were being attended to and treated efficiently.

Room for improvement

The area where patients queue for treatment is situated next to the road meaning that other clinic patients and visitors were mixing with cholera patients. One could witness a lot of mothers with newly born babies walking past the the centre thereby making them vulnerable to infections. The queues are sometimes long blocking the entrance to the clinic  therefore becoming susceptible to mixing and mingling with suspected cholera patients. This may result in more people getting infections especially patients and visitors to the clinic.

This can be rectified by creating a separate space for everyone queuing for cholera treatment especially to the immediate left of the entrance instead of cholera patients queuing parallel to the main entry . The health officials who designed the treatment centre should therefore review the internal controls so as to reduce unnecessary infections given that the diseases are highly contaminable.

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Diaspora Matters

Benefits of having a Website for SMES

webisto

Do you own a business? Does your business have a website? In this day and age where digital technology and the Internet has influenced how we live and work, it is shocking to know that very few small business owners have a website.

It is hard to believe that only 46% of small businesses have a website. This statistic is confounding when you realize people spend 6 hours a day on the Internet.

Based on 2014 survey results, 41% of small business owners reported they don’t think they need a website. What that means is they probably don’t know the benefits of having a website for their small business.

We will look at the benefits further down, first we look at what is a website and the types of websites then the benefits of having a website.

What is a website.

A website is a collection of related web pages, including multimedia content, typically identified with a common domain name, and published on at least one web server. All this might sound confusing to the average user. Lets break it down a bit. A website is a collection of web pages (documents that are accessed through the Internet), such as the one you’re looking at now. A web page is what you see on the screen when you type in a web address, for examplewww.ruserewebs.com click on a link, or put a query in a search engine like Google. A web page can contain any type of information including pictures, videos, music, and can include text, color, graphics, animation and sound.

When someone gives you their web address,www.ruserewebs.com it generally takes you to their website’s home page, which should introduce you to what that site offers in terms of information or other services. From the home page, you can click on links to reach other sections of the site. A website can consist of one page, or of tens of thousands of pages, depending on what the site owner is trying to accomplish. Now we know what is a website. Lets look at the types of websites.

The types of websites   

Many business people and individuals do not know what kind of a website to get their products and services. However, sites are categorized as follows:

  • Static sites: These are non-editable internet sites. These are very difficult to upgrade. You have to take it down and redesign from ground up.
  • Editable Brochure Sites: Requires a content management system like WordPress.
  • Editable Dynamic Website: It engages the user with login areas. This site is self-managed like Facebook.
  • E-commerce Websites: They have a payment gateway e.g., PayPal. These are the best for business. You will know why later.

There might be others I left but these are the most significant types that you need to know.

BENEFITS OF HAVING THERE HAVE TO BE REASON WHY YOUR BUSINESS MUST HAVE A WEBSITE.

1. Improve Business Credibility.

A simple way to view a website is that it is your online business address. This is where your customers, clients and associates go to find you on the Internet.

The Home page identifies your branded value proposition, the About Us page tells visitors all about your business and the Contact Us page informs everyone how to get in touch with you.

It legitimizes your business and improves your credibility. It gives your business an identity and is virtual proof that it exists.

Don’t be misled into thinking a company page in Facebook is enough to build your credibility. A 2015 survey showed that 84% of consumers believe that having a website makes your business more credible than just a social media page.

Having a website means you have your own domain. In the same survey, 65% of respondents regard a company-branded e-mail as more credible than a generic one.

2. Build Your Business.

Before broadband technology became widespread in 2004, websites were used primarily for marketing and informational purposes. A website functioned more like a brochure; you put one up to stay ahead of the competition. But there wasn’t much thought and purpose behind the content.

With the growth of the Internet, the influence of social media and the popularity of mobile devices, the website has become a crucial tool to build your business.

  • Share Your Story – According to Nobel Prize winning psychiatrist Daniel Kahneman, consumers patronize brands they can align their values with.

A website is a great way to share your story; tell your audience why you started this business, your goals and what you hope to accomplish with it.

  • Get Clients – It’s not enough to have a rock star online profile. 36% of clients prefer to deal with businesses that have websites. By contrast, only 21% will work with businesses without websites.

A website gives you the platform to highlight your experience and expertise.

  • Find Your Team – Are you looking for people to help you run your business?

Set up a Career page in your website where prospective candidates can fill out an application form and attach their resume.

Post your job requirement in social media and link it back to your website. You should have a good number of candidates in no time!

3. Enhance Your Online Presence.

Here’s a statistical fact that will blow your mind:

Of the 7.4 Billion people in this world, 3.5 Billion people or 47% are online every day. They are searching for information, sharing on social media or shopping on e-commerce websites.

This number is expected to grow as the world becomes increasingly dependent on mobile technology to search the Internet. Today there are an estimated 2.3 Billion smart phones worldwide. But in 2020, the total number of smartphones is expected to hit 6.1 Billion.

If your small business does not have a website, you will be undermining its ability to generate income. And not just any website; but a mobile responsive website, one that can be accessed by mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets. Statistically, 65% of online traffic comes from mobile devices.

A mobile responsive website will help you capitalize on the opportunities available on the Internet through the following ways:

  • Improve Search Rankings – By optimizing your web pages, it will be easier for people to find your content.
  • Distribute Content – Create relevant, unique and usable content and distribute them through different channels such as social media and blog sites. People who love your content would want to know more about you and visit your website.
  • Open 24/7 – Unlike a brick- and- mortar business that operates 9- to- 5, a website never closes shop. It is open 24/7, even on holidays.
  • Introduce Business Flexibility – If you don’t want to miss out on opportunities, outsource customer service and have your agents manage all concerns and inquiries via chat or e-mail support at your website.

4. Build a Strong Relationship with Your Market.

A business by definition is a living, breathing entity. Loyalty is achieved when customers know they are dealing with a company that understands their needs and not just a company that wants to profit.

  • Let the Market Know “Who You Are”. Outside the Home and About Us pages, you can set up a blog page where you can share your thoughts and ideas with your audience.
  • Address the Needs of Your Market. Invite your audience to engage you by encouraging them to post comments on your blogs. Embed survey forms and ask your audience to participate and convey their needs.
  • Educate the Market of Your Business. Utilize the 80-20 Rule; 80% of your content should be usable or relevant to the needs of your audience while 20% should educate them about your business.
  • Improve Customer Service. In addition to e-mail, social media, mobile and landline, install chat support as the 5th avenue for customer service. This will give your end-users more options to relay concerns and inquiries.

5. Efficient Way to Promote Your Business.

If you are still using traditional forms of marketing, you are wasting valuable resources, time and money. Traditional forms include press releases, print ads, flyers and distribution Point- of- Purchase materials.

While still popular, traditional methods cost more money and cover less ground. It is also unsustainable; flyers, posters, print ads and press releases usually end up in the bin.

Online marketing is faster, more efficient and inexpensive. There are many tools and techniques that you can use for online marketing but without a website, these strategies will fall short.

Think of the website as the sun with these online marketing tools as the planets revolving around it. Your online marketing efforts will create inbound avenues to a specified destination place which is your website.

Among the most popular online marketing tools that you can use to create inbound traffic to your website:

  • Social Media – Of the 3.5 Billion people online every day, 2.34 Billion or 67% are on social media.
  • Blogging – Companies that blogged 16 times a month received 4.5 times more leads than those that blogged 0-4 posts per month.
  • E-mail Marketing – E-mail marketing is 40 times more effective in acquiring customers than Facebook.
  • Use Videos – Embed a video on your Home page. A video can deliver your messaging content faster and more efficiently than text. Video on a landing page can increase conversion rates by 80%.

Finally, online marketing is a sustainable process. Your content will not go to waste. You can easily update it and reuse after a few months.

6. Boost Your Reputation as an Authority.

If your business is in a competitive industry, a website will give you the forum to boost your reputation as an authority figure.

  • Blogging –  There’s one reason why blogging is the cornerstone of the content marketing process: It works! Here are 3 key statistics on the benefits of blogging:
  • Websites with a blog have 434% more indexed pages.
  • 47% of buyers read 3 to 5 blogs before engaging a sales rep.
  • 61% of consumers report a blog influenced their decision to buy.
  • Podcast – Set up a podcast in your website, distribute the schedule via Twitter, Facebook and invite experts to discuss topics that interest your audience. 21% more people listened to podcasts in 2016 compared to 2015.
  • Seminars – Conduct seminars on your website. This is a great way to share your knowledge with your market. Encourage your audience to actively engage during the seminar.

7. Create a Tool for Sales Generation.

A website can also be an active and passive tool for generating income because it is the termination or exit point in the sales funnel.

It is very difficult to convert sales in social media. There are no available mechanisms to complete the transaction on- the- spot. An e-commerce website for example, has a checkout counter where goods and services can be paid for right away.

It can also be a good source for passive income via PPC or Pay- Per- Click advertising. Advertisers will pay you every time a user clicks through their ad in your website.

8. Showcase Your Work.

Here’s a valuable tip for those who want a clear advantage in the job market:

Open a personal website and include a page that showcases your body of work.

That is one valuable tip that Hiring Managers all over the country wish job applicants knew. The same can be said for small business owners. A website will give you the venue to present samples of your work.

If you’re offering interior design services, content writing, professional web design services and other types of work that can be made visual, a portfolio page will encourage more clients to try you out.

If you want to increase the impact of your portfolio page, include 5 or more client testimonies. You can put the client testimonies in the Home page which is where users land after clicking unto your link or the Services page.

9. Keep Track of Your Business in Real Time.

One of the most significant benefits of having a website for a small business is that you can keep track of its performance in real time through the use of analytics.

Analytics will provide you valuable data on how your business has been moving within a period of time. Key indicators of business performance include the following metrics:

  • Number of visitors going to your website.
  • Number of “unique visitors” or those who visit your website only once.
  • Page views or impressions tell how many times a page has been read or visited. This will give you an idea on which type of content visitors find interesting.
  • Bounce rate is the percentage of visitors who leave your website without exploring past the page they landed on.
  • Average time on site will show how long visitors view your content. The longer the average time on site, the better for your website.

10. Professionalize Your Brand.

Many small business owners make the mistake of not working on their brand until they gain traction.

You have to start working on your brand before launching your business. The brand gives your business its identity and makes it easier for customers and clients to understand what it is all about.

The website is the most effective and efficient way to build and professionalize your brand:

  • It places your branded value proposition front and center in the Home page.
  • Website optimization techniques can help Internet users find your brand.
  • It can be distributed seamlessly through various online channels.
  • A professionally made website shows you are serious about your business.

If you want an effective website or one that can help you take your business to another level, you have to be prepared to invest in one. In a survey of small business owners, 19% identified cost as another reason for foregoing a website.

A website is not an expense. It is an investment because you should expect a return on your money within a period of time.

For your investment to pay out, you have to make sure your website is professionally designed, fully functioning with fast download speed and packed with great content.

Do not penny- pinch and try to do a website on your own despite the availability of free templates. Your best option would always be to hire a professional web designer who has the experience and training to build a functional yet aesthetically beautiful website.

I  hope that by now you have the knowledge about websites, their benefits and why you must have one for your business. At Rusere Webs are professional web designers who has the experience and training to build a functional yet aesthetically beautiful website. Contact us today by visiting our website www.ruserewebs.com or Call 0027 71026 1453. We are on Facebook too www.facebook.com/ruserewebs. Like our Page for more updates. Any questions we are ready to help.

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Diaspora Matters

What is the value of your rural home?

mhuko

Question for financial experts.What is the value of your rural home? The answer is it depends…depends largely on your mindset….its all in your head. If you view rural land as a place of witches…then its value is zero! If you view it as an investment place then its intrinsic value is extremely high.

Lets look at examples
If you opt to go to your rural area and rent out your home in Glenview for $300 per month then your rural home is as good as your urban one for a specific period of time.

If you decide to build a home in Seke and rent out your Avonlea flat for $600 per month then your Seke home is as good as your flat. Your rural home is worth  $60.000 because its allowing you to earn $600…at the end of the month you have earned $600.

So the value is in your mindset…your rural land can earn you as much as you want depending on how you view investment.

Dear forumite, get land, land and land nomatter where….do not look down upon land.

Setting up a diaspora village
Do you have access to rural land? Located near urban areas like Domboshava, Musana, Seke, Chihota, Musami? Diaspora and local tourism is on the up…international tourist arrivals is on the up. All of these people need variety….they want the African or Bhundu experience which is why they go to Vic Falls, Hwange, Masvingo, Mana Pools, Gonarezhou and others. There is nothing interesting for them in staying at Hotel Miekles, Rainbow or others….they have better experiences in their home countries.

Our tourism sector does not have options…for most diasporans they started touring Vic Falls, Nyanga, Masvingo from primary schools. There is nothing new in Vic Falls perhaps the carnival that was added in recent years?

So in comes an opportunity for innovative entrepreneurs to develop cultural villages…places where tourists learn about Shona, Ndebele and Tonga cultures…learn the mbira and marimba instruments. A place that allows tourists to have an authentic African experience..a place where they can live for a while vachienda kumombe,kunoraura,kufudza mombe,kutswa,kuenda kunhimbe,kurima negejo.

How many parents from the diaspora would not love to have their kids get kufudza mombe experience? Of course done not as a chore but a great learning experience?

Sounds utopic? Check out The Boma at Vic falls where tourists play drums, drink chikokiyana…there is even a sangoma who is often consulted by foreign tourists. Visit The famous Carnivore in Kenya and check out the many tourists at the place eating game meat.

We go back to our initial question…what is the value of your rural land? Zero if its a place of backward folks, the uneducated. It can be completely useless..a place that makes you angry!

But if you wear a different hat, your land can be extremely valuable…can be equal or more to your Borrowdale mansion, can be equal or more to your London flat…the value is in your mindset…your ability to innovate and earn money from it.

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