Zoeke Blog

Starting your Business the SA Way

Starting a business in South Africa can be very exhilarating and scary at the same time. Sure, it’s easy to hop-on-over to CIPC, registrar your company, give a few name suggestions and wait for the paperwork to be approved and BAM! You’re a registered company.

But what should you do now? Where do you start and what steps should you follow? Well, if you did know what to do, you wouldn’t be reading this blog right now. So let jump right into it and get our businesses going!

Your Company, Your Brand, Your Purpose

Regardless of what your companies name, product or services is, your company should ALWAYS represent your brand. It should always be consistent and in line with your company’s mission & vision. A brand is the look and feel of your company – it consists of your logo, the colours you use, the message that you’re portraying and even the fonts on your business card.

I can go on for hours about logo design and corporate branding but I’ll only touch on the important parts for now. However, if you’d like some more info on this topic, go and read my post on Logo Design and Branding.

Get some help

Seek the advice and services of a professional graphic designing company (like Zoeke) to help you create your logo. There are plenty of companies out there who can help you – their pricing structure normally depends on the reputation of the company but on average the starting price per hour is around R375.00.

Talk to the designer personally. If you know what you want, it will help the designers in their designing quest. There is nothing as daunting, for a designer, as trying to design a company brand and only having your name to work with. Send them pictures or ideas of other companies that you like and ask them to incorporate different elements into the design. 


Make sure that after you’ve had your logo designed that the designer sends you your logo in ALL the formats – Hi-Res PNG, JPG, PDF and Vector. Keep these files SAFE! Save them to your DropBox or Google Drive accounts, your computers hard drive and in your email archive. You’ll need them for future marketing. There’s nothing as detrimental to a company as having a Low Res image Logo on their website or business card. I personally lose all trust in a company if their branding is pixelated. 

Logo Quality

Apps & Software

Graphic Designer in general use specific software (like CorelDraw, Illustrator or Photoshop) to design your logo. But, given that we live in 2019 and technology has evolved immensely in the last decade, you can actually design your own logo using your smartphone. Hop on over to your Google Play or iPhone App Store and have a look at the apps that you can download. Play around with a few different versions, the fonts and colours.

However, I DO NOT recommend that you use this as your final logo though. Instead, use this as a mockup or sample idea for the designer who will be working on your branding. 

Why can’t you use your smartphone logo? Well, you have to remember, a smartphone’s screen size is on average only 375 x 667px (or 13 x 23.5cm). If you were to use this logo, for example, a signboard outside your building, your printer will need to blow up your logo to about 1m x 2m. It will result in VERY bad quality pixilated print. Instead, use only your smartphone logo as a temporary solution on small mediums until you’ve got the finances for a proper quality logo.

Google My Business

If you own a physical shop or you have a business premises where your customers can visit you then register your company with Google my Business. With GMB you can add in all your business details like contact numbers, address, business hours and also upload images of your products/services.

Google goes as far as allowing you to track your page insights – in other words, the interaction that people have with your business page. It is a bit more on the tricky side but go and have a look and see what your customers are doing and saying about you. Just remember: results won’t show up immediately. It takes time and lots of patience for your online presence to build up and become relevant.

Sign Up with Business Directories

Register your company with as many business directories as possible. These associations (better known as links) with business directories help build a reputation for your company and, of course, helps potential customers to find your business.

Businesses that appear in business directories are capable of earning more trust from search engines – Google and other search engines tend to respect business directories more than your average website. 

List of a few Business Directories in South Africa

Remember to update your company listing at often as possible – we recommend at least every third month or so. Keep a list of where you’ve registered, your usernames and all your passwords – keep this in a safe place.

Social Media

We currently live in a world where traditional marketing isn’t enough to be heard or seen. Almost everyone these days has a smartphone and utilizes social media to connect to their friends, family and work colleagues. So why not utilize it for your company?

Sosial Media

Social media offers many benefits to business owners, as it allows them to reach out to their potential and current customers. Social media groups like Facebook allows you to create a Group (aka a business profile) using your own personal Facebook page. This means that you can invite all your friends from your personal page to like, share and follow your business page. This helps a lot as the hardest part of getting noticed is finding people to follow you. 

When using Social media, always remember these 3 Golden Rules:

Out of sight, out of mind
Try to post as often as possible without overdoing it. You don’t want your customers to forget about you! On average, try to post something at least once a week.

Quality, not quantity
Not contradicting the previous rule, always post meaningful and quality post. If you own a construction company, post articles and images about new developments or the benefits of using certain materials. PLEASE don’t post videos of cute kittens and babies – we all love them but do this on your own personal page only.

Consider your audience
Never post thing that has a racial, political, social or ethical value to you. Not everyone thinks the way you do and they won’t appreciate it if you force your opinions into them.

Marketing - Digital vs Traditional

Way back in the pre-digital age you had Traditional marketing – for all you millennial out there, traditional marking was the only way of connecting, interacting and maintaining a relationship with your customers. Fast forward a few decades and you get Digital Marketing. 

So what is the difference between Traditional and Digital Marketing and how can we use it to grow our business?

Traditional Marketing
Traditional marketing is mainly tangible items (things you can hold in your hand), for example, business cards, print ads in newspapers, flyers, billboards, brochures and posters. Traditional marketing can also include referrals and word-of-mouth.

Considering the longevity of Traditional Marketing, these strategies still has a very firm grip on our country’s economy – a lot of rural people still rely heavily on print advertising to conduct business. Things like business cards, flyers, print ads and billboards are still very important elements to implement in your marketing strategy.

The future of Traditional Marketing seems very unpredictable and unpredictability for a small business owner is a very dangerous thing. One of the biggest disadvantages of traditional marketing is that it can’t be easily measured. It also tends to be a very static marketing strategy – in other words, you can’t really interact with your audience; you’re throwing information in front of people and hoping that they decide to take action. Lastly, Traditional Marketing tends to be much more costly than Digital Marketing – consider the costs involved in displaying a billboard on Grayston Drive in Sandton compared to a Digital Ad on Facebook… ouch!

Digital Marketing
Digital marketing, on the other hand, is anything that involves a pixel – websites, social media mentions, videos or banner ads. What makes digital marketing so exciting is that it is still evolving and at the moment no one can predict the future of this strategy.

Digital Marketing is cheaper, more measurable and can reach a wider spectrum of potential customers. Also, Digital Marketing is much more interactive which means you can get feedback or responses from your past customers. Social Media allows us to create direct contact between you and your audience.

The only real disadvantage of using Digital Marketing is that it does take time to build up your reputation. As the saying goes: “Rome wasn’t built in a day”, building your online presence does take a lot of planning and patience.

The debate on whether digital marketing is overpowering traditional marketing still continues to this day. Over the last decade, traditional marketing has decreased by more than 160% and digital marketing expenses (the budget that people allocate to digital advertising) have increased by 15%.

Website (Digital Marketing)

Living in this 21st century digital world, having a website is no longer considered a luxury but instead a necessity for any business, big or small. A website in itself can be used to accomplish MANY marketing strategies and, if done correctly, will grow your business immensely!

But why, you ask? Here is my personal top 3 reason why you should have a website:

1.  With a website, you can attract new customers
According to researchers, 81% of people research a business online BEFORE they make a purchasing decision. Why? Because we value our money – we want to know who we’re giving our money to and we need to know if we can trust you and your business. If you don’t have a website, you won’t be able to prove to your potential customers that you are the right person for the job.

2.  A website will save you time
Communicating with potential customers can take a lot out of you. With a website, you can save yourself time by providing answers to common customer question and inquiries. Not only can you showcase your products or outline your services in detail with beautiful images, but you can offer your customers video tutorials or downloadable PDF instructions to help hesitant customers make their buying decision. 

3. Your competitors have a website
Enough said… if your competitors have a website, you should too. The whole point of conducting a business, in any industry, is to be better than your competitors.

Word of Mouth (Traditional Marketing)

Word of mouth marketing (also known as WOMM) is one of the oldest marketing strategies that is still used to date. It results in 5 times more sales than paid media marketing and people are 90% more likely to trust you if recommended by a friend or family member (according to researchers).

So why is WOMM so effective? People are sceptical and they don’t always believe what advertisers are telling us. However, if our trusted friends, family members or customer’s reviews tell us that this brand is trustworthy, we’re more likely to believe them and trust the brand.

How do we achieve WOMM?
Spread the love – ask your family and friends to spread the word about our company. You never know who they might be talking to on a daily basis.

Keep your customers happy – always strive to give the best quality product/service to current and potential customer. WOMM is created and spread by happy customers who want to share with the world how wonderful your brand is.

Ask your customers for a review – Not every customer is going to refer your company or give you a review but that doesn’t mean that they didn’t enjoy the experience. Ask your customers to give you a review on Facebook, Google My Business or via email (which in turn you can use on your website). A word of warning though: make sure you ask the right customer for a review – you don’t want to be stuck with a bad review from an unruly customer which is almost impossible to remove from the internet.

Be your own advocate

No one knows your brand or business as well as YOU! It is important for the management and the brand managers to stay true to the brand promise and be the biggest advocates of the brand. The internal staff and employees can be involved by enriching them about the brand’s values and strengths.

Agree or disagree, we’d love to hear from you – what marketing strategies or branding steps do you use to promote your business? How has your experience been in your startup adventure? And what advice can you offer to other young South African entrepreneur? 

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Starting your Business the SA Way

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