Solutions Web is excited to announce the launch of ProtoLink-3d Web Site.

 ProtoLink-3D is a 3D Printing company based in Welgelegen, 20 minutes from the from the Cape Town CBD. Run by Martin Havinga, himself a keen modeller, ProtoLink-3D offers a service that includes Prototyping and Model building.

 ProtoLink-3D’s slogan - If you can imagine it, we can make it a reality! – shows what is possible.

Read through their Products Page to see how when moving into a new house Martin was able to make Wedges that were missing from the washing line, instead of having to buy a new washing line.

The Web Site has been created using WordPress as the Content Management Software (CMS). WordPress is a very powerful and versatile CMS that allows you to create and edit multimedia blog posts as well as Web Site Pages.

A very important feature of this Web Site and all Web Sites produced by Solutions Web, is that it will scale and open on smaller screens such as Smart Phones and Tablets, saving the owner the cost of having to create a separate Mobi site.

The Theme used is based on HTML5, which is slowly becoming the new Web Standard and was created using Twitter’s Bootstrap Framework.

The Web Site includes a slide show on the front page showcasing the products made through 3D printing. The site also contains a legal statement that was drawn up by an attorney specialising in Internet related law. This is important, as South Africa has to compete in the International arena as well as locally and both consumer and business need to be protected.

Also included on the Contacts page is an e-Mail form. This helps you to quickly send your enquiry to ProtoLink-3D and save you the bother of opening up your email and cutting and pasting.

 Take a look at the site and discover what 3D printing can do for you.

Internet Presence

Having a Presence on the Internet, is not expensive, and is the one arena where Small Business can compete head on with Big Business.

But what is Internet Presence? Simply put, it is where a Business can be found online; this could be a Web Site, a Blog, a Facebook Page or any possible  other possible Social Media platform, Business Card Web Site or Directory, whether paid for or free.

To this you can also add, any eMail sent as well as any post or comment posted online. We have all become very social online and it follows that we do the same for out businesses.




The Internet

South Africans now have easy access to the Internet. In most libraries throughout the the country will provide free internet to their members. And if a visit to the library is not possible, there is always the local Internet Cafe.

If I was writing this article a few years ago, I would be encouraging you to join the Library and take advantage of their free service. Today the situation is changing, whilst the library is always a good source of information, and free use of the Internet is not to be sneezed at, we have another inexpensive way to access the Internet.

The cost of Smart Phones has come down and the screens have got bigger. It is possible to get connection using 3G almost everywhere and connect to WiFi at Shopping Malls and Cafes where provided.

What does this mean for Small Business? With more people able to access the Internet, more often – the Internet is the ideal platform to market and connect to their target market.

Next: Internet Presence

South African Micro and Small Business.

Paper Clip

It is often the small things that are the most important


The term Small Business is a very broad term. It is most often used incorrectly to refer to one man operations and informal trading. Most of these should rather be referred to as Micro Businesses.

A Micro Business can be a Sole Proprietor or a Closed Corporation or even a Company that has a turnover of less than R1 million.

(Approximately R83,000.00 per month – not to be sneezed at!)

See SARS Tax Guide for Micro Business 2011/2012

In 2009, SARS set the upper limit turnover limit for a Small Business or Small Business Corporation (SBC) at R14 Million


South African Micro and Small Business and the Economy

Look around you, Micro Business is everywhere. Do not make the mistake of assuming that a Business can only exist in a formal structure. The Hawker at the traffic lights selling various odds and ends can also be classed as a Micro Businessman. If he is smart and markets himself correctly, he can earn a good living from it.

South Africa’s economy is a mix of both  First and Third Worlds. We have a large informal economy that deals only in cash and is not likely to pay tax nor have a bank account. These informal business men and women will spend their cash to buy goods and services from other informal traders, but will also buy from formal businesses. Their money is always in circulation and stimulates both the formal and informal economy.

South Africa spent a long time in the wilderness shunned by the rest of the world, which had the effect of not being able to conduct business on a global scale. Business tended to follow the examples set in Europe, Great Britain and the USA. Today, we have access to new markets such as other African countries and China and these are starting to influence the way we do business. Whilst, China cannot termed as Third World, they are busy flooding our markets with cheap trade goods that are being sold both formally and informally.

South Africa’s Formal Economy consists of both Small, Medium and Big Business. Medium and Big Business, had to start somewhere. Most would have started as Small Business. A supermarket would have started as a general store that expanded over time. I remember when one of the most popular restaurant chains started off first with one restaurant in Newlands in 1967. Today the Spur Steak Ranch Restaurant Group has expanded all around South Africa and even has outlets in various parts of the world.

The most important aspect when it comes to both Micro and Small Business, is job creation. When someone starts a business, he is creating a job for himself. If the business is successful, he will need help and thus create a job for someone else. Soon he may need to employ more people.  In this manner jobs are created and and the economy grows.

Government cannot create jobs except for itself. Non governmental jobs are created by you and I, the man in the street. But Government can encourage job creating to tax breaks and assistance through agencies such as The Small Enterprise Agency (SEDA).

What may start out as a Micro Business can grow into a much bigger business over time. The jobs they create along the way will stimulate the economy and create more jobs.  This is not rocket science – it makes sense to support Small Business – remeber one the jobs created, might be yours.

Quo Vadis 2014

It is now February 2014, one month into 2014 and another ten to go. If you are busy at work and generating income – congratulations. However, if you are not, why?

Do not use the excuse that January is a quiet month for sales, January is the perfect month for sales. The tax year ends on February 28 and many companies use this as the end of their tax year, which means that if there is any money left over in the budget, it needs to get spent.

Finding new business, is only impossible if you do not try. You need to network both online and offline. Remember business is simply providing a solution to a problem that exists. Find out what the problem is and see what solution you can provide.

Buy know the answers to the questions, you are ready to meet your potential sustomes.

In my next article, I will look at how you can use the Internet to promote your off line business.



There are no jobs available – make your own

I wish that i could say that I had just sucked the heading out my thumb. It would mean that South Africa was a better place. But, alas that statement is very true.

How do you create work for yourself? Start by asking questions;

What can you do?

Remember there is a lot you can do, that you may consider menial. But, sweeping the streets, for example will bring in an income, whilst you look for something better.

Who do you know that could help you?

Your friends and family may know someone who is looking for staff.

Visit the local mall, some times there are jobs posted in the windows.

Always keep an open mind, and always look for opportunities – they are out there.


A Joke (and a lesson) about starting a Business Empire

An unemployed man goes to apply for a job with Microsoft as a janitor. The manager there arranges for him to take an aptitude test (Section: Floors, sweeping and cleaning).After the test, the manager says, “You will be employed at minimum wage, $5.15 an hour. Let me have your e-mail address, so that I can send you a form to complete and tell you where to report for work on your first day..Taken aback, the man protests that he has neither a computer nor an e-mail address. To this the MS manager replies, “Well, then, that means that you virtually don’t exist and can therefore hardly expect to be employed.Stunned, the man leaves. Not knowing where to turn and having only $10 in his wallet, he decides to buy a 25 lb flat of tomatoes at the supermarket. Within less than 2 hours, he sells all the tomatoes individually at 100% profit. Repeating the process several times more that day, he ends up with almost $100 before going to sleep that night.And thus it dawns on him that he could quite easily make a living selling tomatoes. Getting up early every day and going to bed late, he multiplies his profits quickly.After a short time he acquires a cart to transport several dozen boxes of tomatoes, only to have to trade it in again so that he can buy a pick-up truck to support his expanding business. By the end of the second year, he is the owner of a fleet of pick-up trucks and manages a staff of a hundred former unemployed people, all selling tomatoes.Planning for the future of his wife and children, he decides to buy some life insurance. Consulting with an insurance adviser, he picks an insurance plan to fit his new circumstances. At the end of the telephone conversation, the adviser asks him for his e-mail address in order to send the final documents electronically.

When the man replies that he has no e-mail, the adviser is stunned, “What, you don’t have e-mail? How on earth have you managed to amass such wealth without the Internet, e-mail and e-commerce?

Just imagine where you would be now, if you had been connected to the internet from the very start!”

After a moment of thought, the tomato millionaire replied, “Why, of course! I would be a floor cleaner at Microsoft!”

Lets look beyond the humour. The man took his last $10 and bought some tomatoes and resold them and repeated the process, and in so doing built an empire, building it a little at a time.

Today, South African is facing a crisis, there are more people looking for jobs, than there a jobs available. The alternatives are to become homeless, commit crime or go into business for yourself. But, in exactly te same that you competed for the few jobs that were available, you now have to compete against other companies to get business.

So back to our tomato merchant, let’s call him George. George did not have a lot of money to put into his business, he started in with $10.00 – think of it as R10.00. he worked hard, always putting money back into the business, to help it grow. He kept investing in his business and kept growing it and he became rich, and he created jobs. George was nobody special, he was happy to sweep floors to just get a job. He simply did not give up.
There are two main lessons here are;

You can start with little or no money, as long as you are willing to work.

Take the guy standing at the traffic lights with a sign asking for a handout, why should you support him he has given up and is wanting you to give him a handout. But, if was selling something you could use or needed, you would be happier to support him.

George did not take all the profits out of the business for himself.

He kept reinvesting in the business and so grew it into an empire and become rich.

There is another lesson, a little clinched, but still very true:- Hard work is its own reward.

Let us start with a cliché.

A new year, a new beginning. Except, we said that last year and the year before. An overworked cliché that should be laid to rest.

To succeed in business, you have to think beyond the beginning. You need to know what you intend to achieve, what are your goals? Your goals can change, but unless you get going, how will you know if your goals are not reachable and need changing.

However this year I did make a change, a very serious change, actually, two very serious changes. I stopped working at home and moved into a shared office. The benefits are obvious. I am no longer available for family to want me to do this or that for them. But it is no longer free, I have to pay to use the space and it costs to get to and from here.

The other change is I have cut all distractions. Facebook ca wait until I am on the bus going home. No more reading blogs or listening to podcasts, I have time available on the bus to do that.

So lets look beyond these changes, I am now working with other self employed freelancers and the opportunity to collaborate is there. The time I save not catching up on Facebook means I don’t have to work in the evenings or weekends.

Those are real benefits as opposed to clichés.

And I am back!

After a good break, I am ready to get going. This Blog acts as an Example of what I am able to offer my clients, so this year I will be moving le Blog to its own Domain and i will be doing a complete redesign using a different CMS. At the same time I will be posting articles to help guide you operating your brick and motor business online. Stay tuned, because together, we can!