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Insights for Entrepreneurs

Category: Customer Relations

When Customers Call Your Baby Ugly: Handling Negative Online Reviews

You worked hard to build a company you are proud of. You take care of customers and clients with efficiency and attention to their needs. Yet, when you check your online reviews, your customers complain about unmet expectations, disappointing service or lackluster customer care. Those negative comments on online review sites feel like a gut kick — as if your customers have just called your baby ugly. Continue reading »

Payday lender Wonga South Africa hires new CEO

Web-based payday loan provider Wonga South Africa base has hired former Lewis Group credit risk director, Brett van Aswegen as their new company CEO. The decision to hire a new CEO came in the wake of Kevin Hurwitz’s resignation following the quieter departures of Errol Damelin and Jonty Hurwitz. Aswegen steps into the fold at a crucial period for the business, after it came under fire from regulators in South Africa, Britain and other counties. As Wonga had to write off a lot of their customer’s debts, changes in management are to be expected and Brett will certainly be hoping he can make a real difference.

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6 Tips for Building a Community When You Work from Home

Do you ever have those days when you work from your couch in sweatpants and don’t speak to a single soul? You send emails while blasting music and eating popcorn, just because you can.

Working from home has obvious perks: no dress code, no commute and a flexible schedule. But for a lot of entrepreneurs and small business owners, independence comes at the cost of isolation.

It’s not as easy as water cooler talk with co-workers or company wide outings, but with a bit of creativity, you can develop a community while you build your business at home.

Here are six tips to help you to feel more connected:

1. Join Professional Organizations

Joining professional organizations and trade associations allows you to tap into networks as big as Fortune 500 companies. With a web of peers that big supporting you, what can’t you do?

Here are a few to get you started:

Attend organizational conferences and check out the local chapters of these groups. Utilizing powerful networks is a great way to start developing peer and mentor relationships. If you prefer a more casual approach, start by searching Meetup for a group of like-minded professionals in your area — you can connect with people over a drink after work.

Keep in mind that a feeling of belonging is essential to communities. As you seek out organizations to join, make an effort to focus on groups that mirror your values and goals.

Emerging economies in the Middle East: investing in the future of the region

Many people still think of the Middle East in terms of oil, but the fact is that the region as a whole is home to 210 million consumers, with some high-growth economies backed by a stable socio-political ecosphere and favourable government policies. The Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries include Bahrain, Kuwait, UAE, Oman, Qatar and Saudi Arabia. Together they form a region of both high growth and a stable socio-political environment.

Surprisingly, the leading growth drivers for these economies are non-oil activities. Prime among these are construction and retail trade. The GCC region is home to over 45 million consumers, with a large percentage of foreign expats lending the region a cosmopolitan flavour. An average per capita of over $60,000 coupled with little to no taxation makes the region a consumption hotspot. The region is a significant market for British goods and services.


Governments of the region are increasingly showing a commitment to a commercial “mind-set” in encouraging foreign investments. From providing easy access to credit to updating laws and regulations to make them transparent and simple, the push toward ensuring ease of doing business is palpable. The region is home to a large, well-educated and growing workforce. The ecosphere provides a stable ground for British investments in manufacturing, marketing and delivering products and services.

The region is a $10 billion export market for British companies and is growing at a compounded rate of 10%. Saudi Arabia has the largest population and remains a market waiting to be tapped. Kuwait is another upcoming hotspot. The governments of the region are focused on investing the oil resources into making the region an industrial and commercial stronghold to ensure sustainability past the hydrocarbon reserves.

To this end, the region has committed to invest over $2 trillion over the next decade in construction and infrastructure to support this development. The key to doing business in the region is to choose your local partner carefully. The partner should add value to the business in terms of knowledge of local markets, and its regulations provide access to decision-making government authorities and offer domain experience in infrastructure and real estate.


Fahad Al Rajaan Ahli United Bank director has been a long-serving former chairman at the leading construction and infrastructure companies in Kuwait. He has been instrumental in developing both commercial and residential real estate projects in the region. His long-standing reputation both with local and foreign investors and his networking with local authorities make him one of the 500 most influential Arabs in the world and an invaluable partner for any company looking to invest in Kuwait.

UAE is another investment hotspot in the region. Over half of Britain’s exports of $10 billion to the region are to the seven Emirate nations. The region is home to a large British expat population. UAE attracted the highest FDI in 2014 at $10.5 billion; collectively, the region received over $43 billion in foreign investments over the year. This is the right time for British companies to leverage the growth in this emerging region.