KZN Couple launch company during lockdown
With the economy going into a downward spiral globally it’s unusual and yet encouraging and heartening to hear about people who are turning the situation around to find a way through the darkness into the light and launching new businesses.
Ballito based couple, Paul and Sarah Swainson, have had their Uploaded4u project on the back burner for the last few months. They explained that they have been building something they believe can help SA businesses, specifically in the SME segment. A ‘one stop shop’ to help businesses go on the digital journey.” Sarah explained on a webinar that she attended recently as a panellist and which was hosted by Hirsch’s and Business Coach, Marlene Powell for entrepreneurs and SMME’s. “It is more than just taking a business “online”, it is about walking that journey with them. We pride ourselves in not speaking “geek”, we speak business”. Says Sarah.
“Taking your business online can be intimidating and confusing. Where do you start and who can you trust to give you the right advice? As a business owner you might be sitting there knowing that you need to go online now more than ever, but feeling totally overwhelmed. What will it cost? How long will it take? You might even be in denial and acting like an ostrich, sticking your head in the sand hoping that the world won’t have changed after COVID-19. Or are you determined to refocus and adapt?”
Sarah Swainson speaks from experience. When she started Sarah Elizabeth (www.sarahelizabeth.co.za), South Africa’s largest online lingerie retailer, she didn’t know anything about running an online business. She explains how she sat comparing quotes from developers and designers and not being able to decipher the online jargon or understand the complexities. “It was so confusing and overwhelming” she remembers. Ultimately, she learnt through much trial and many errors. Together with business partners, she later went onto launch Pawfect (www.pawfect.co.za), which started as a bit of fun but has grown into a dynamic retailer of all things for pets.
Husband, Paul Swainson, currently works in outsourcing but has spent over 20 years in different forms of retail, managing an estate of up to 700 stores and 5,000 people both in the UK and South Africa. “I’m very proud to have been on a journey with my wife in the online world over the last 5 years, where we’ve built successful online businesses and harnessed the power of an awesome team”, he explained. “We have also had the privilege of helping a number of businesses to take this step through sharing our experiences and lessons learnt. He reiterates that the team’s winning formula to help people is that they don’t speak ‘geek’, and they understand bottom lines and return on investment. Uploaded4u is their new venture to share some of their knowledge of the digital world.
“For many small business owners this is a very scary time and we are really keen to come alongside them and help South African businesses through this minefield of terminology, finding what’s needed, what’s not. Our message is clear, don’t wait for the perfect time, go online now. Regardless of whether you are a service or product-based business, having an online presence at this critical time is crucial. Now more than ever you need to be engaging and communicating with your existing customers and new customers to ultimately grow your business.” Concludes Paul.