Picture: KETUT SUBIYANTO
Picture: KETUT SUBIYANTO

The Covid-19 pandemic is an opportunity for SA businesses to digitise and play in a global space. One locally founded business that has taken the leap in terms of operating abroad is InfoSlips, a decade-old business that has reinvented documents and turned them into useful and easy-to-understand interactive experiences.

Speaking from Florida, US, CEO and co-founder of InfoSlips Alan Burger recently joined business growth expert Pavlo Phitidis to discuss digital readiness and how to prepare a business for the challenges and opportunities of the new world in the first episode of the Business Day SME Matters in partnership with PayFast digitised conversation.

Watch the full discussion below:

Burger said InfoSlips was refused funding from multiple sources forcing it to narrow its focus, which has ultimately stood the business in good stead. Its first clients in SA were existing relationships and established as partnerships, as the company proved the financial advantages of its product offering.

Signing up its first client in the US was slightly more complicated given that the business couldn’t rely on an established business network.

InfoSlips uses resellers to sell its products. This model relies on the business removing all the barriers for the reseller including ensuring the pricing is correct, that the right business proposition is in place, and that the appropriate marketing material is available. Nobody buys technology, they buy solutions, said Burger, adding that InfoSlips has regular communication with its resellers to get feedback.

“Digitising a business is about automating or mechanising certain elements of your business to ensure greater efficiencies. Even if your product can’t be digitised, certain business processes can certainly be digitised,” said Phitidis.

Discussing the advantages and disadvantages of off-the-shelf vs bespoke software solutions, Burger said that unless a business is developing something unique there is no reason to develop bespoke software, which often ends up being more complicated.

Burger and Phitidis’s advice to businesses is to not try to be all things to all people. Instead, understand what problem you are trying to solve and who your market is. Once you understand who your market is you will know how and where to target them in terms of marketing efforts. The narrower your market niche the better. Get feedback on what’s working and what’s not working and be prepared to refine your product or service accordingly.

Burger said his biggest learning in building InfoSlips and growing it into the US market has been to be as niche-focused as possible. “We started with a generic platform and then built industry specific platforms. With hindsight, we should have done this sooner. We should also have gone international sooner. As a SA company you have to have faith that if you are competitive in SA you can probably take your business international.” 

Click here to register for the next digital conversation taking place on August 27 on “how to succeed in a crowded e-commerce space”.

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