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11/13/2013 - 11:07
nico prinsloo » MyCityInfo.co.zaTHE JOURNEY TO MYCITYINFO
(first published on our Google+ Page)
When we started in May 2008 we had a view of what we wanted to do: we wanted to create a business directory and social platform for our city (which is a city, not because of it's … Read moreTHE JOURNEY TO MYCITYINFO
(first published on our Google+ Page)
When we started in May 2008 we had a view of what we wanted to do: we wanted to create a business directory and social platform for our city (which is a city, not because of it's size, but because it is the capital city of Limpopo). So we created MyPolokwane.com.
Unfortunately, as the lives of entrepreneurs tend to be, we had constraints. But, we had the advantage of any family business - we had passion. And we had a vision.
The passion that resides in a family business is unequalled. It allows for advantages that any other business lacks or find very difficult to muster, especially in South Africa. There were no office hours, little pay, no personal demands and no responsibilities towards third parties.
Our constraints were that we had only one software engineer or programmer, one marketing manager/sales person/content manager, and three content providers - the whole family.
Having only one software engineer meant that we had to put together a very basic business directory just to have something to start with. What could have taken a full team of programmers a week to put together, took us the best part of a year.
Getting 2500 businesses on our website (our tipping point) took us 6 months (it might have taken a team of 10 people just a week to do the same).
But, we had another secret weapon: our community network.
If any start-up have access to a good network, it ensures that it will survive longer than most others. Our community ensured that we could survive where it would have been impossible were they not there.
We had advertisers who took up advertising without knowing whether it would have any benefit. We had people asking for affordable websites, which we quickly created templates for. We did a website in 1 day for R500!
All these things kept us going long enough to reach tipping point where advertisers started reporting increased traffic to their websites. Then, one day at an event, we were introduced to the meeting when a woman exclaimed: "I don't use the telephone directory, I just use MyPolokwane!" and a murmur of agreement went up. It was then that we knew our brain child had been accepted.
The process had been going on ever since, and now we believe we have something that can add value to the lives of all the people of South Africa.
Every time we thought we were ready to launch MyCityInfo, something had changed - technology that changed, a new social media platform that changed the rules of the game, a change of habits in the use of technology.
What could have taken a team of software engineers 6 months or less to develop, took us 5 years.
We are still a family business. But now we will have to accept that we are moving closer to the day when we will have to employ someone outside the family circle. It should take a while - we have a big family!
Please join us on our journey. We don't know whether we will be successful. We don't know whether we will be out-gunned by a big gorilla with more financial muscle. And the one thing we cannot know: whether our contribution will be accepted by the South African community in the same way it was accepted originally in our local community.
I am Nico Prinsloo and I will mostly do the posting about our journey. With me on this mad road, is my wife of 35 years, Marthina, and the engine room of our endeavour, software engineer and son, Michael.
MyPolokwane has grown into MyCityInfo, and you can see what we do at MyCityInfo.co.za .
Please contribute your insights, experiences and views. We can only benefit from that.
nico prinsloo » Mall of the North PolokwaneAt the recent Kimberly Clark Golden Service Awards 2013, which recognises excellence in the contract cleaning industry, Mall of the North in Polokwane was awarded top honours in the medium retail category for the cleanest shopping centre in South Afr… Read moreAt the recent Kimberly Clark Golden Service Awards 2013, which recognises excellence in the contract cleaning industry, Mall of the North in Polokwane was awarded top honours in the medium retail category for the cleanest shopping centre in South Africa.
Picture: Mall of the North management and cleaning team