What should you do to ensure that your business survives and thrives in the current difficult economic environment? Head of Sanlam Business Market Jannie Rossouw answers.
Recently I asked the 15 finalists and winners of the 2016 Entrepreneur of the Year Competition, sponsored by Sanlam and Business Partners (see www.eoy.co.za ), to tell me what they do to ensure that their businesses survive and thrive in the current difficult economic environment.
Their responses were varied, underlying the fact that no single “recipe” works for all businesses. Each business owner needs to carve out and implement the element mix which is optimal for his/her business. This article will focus on the elements which were generic across the feedback received.
- Let the trend be your friend
Continuous and meticulous research is required to understand
• how client needs in your target market change over time;
The interpreted findings can be used to update your product/service and value proposition.
- Focus on marketing
It is prudent to keep marketing expense the same, or even to increase it, in challenging economic times. To decrease marketing expense is the conventional wisdom applied by most businesses that are looking at ways to decrease their expenditure.
If you can continue at the same rate, then your business will stand out from the crowd, as your competitors will not be able to buy the same exposure with a smaller marketing budget. It is, however, important to review and choose the most optimal marketing mix for your business. Use every opportunity to market and promote the trademark of your business, products and services.
- Income and cost considerations
Income can be increased if you diversify
• Client exposure – not to be dependent on a couple of large clients
Cost may be curtailed by"
• Optimising operations
Service delivery is not a hygiene factor in business. Meticulous efforts to continuously improve it, can serve as a business differentiator. Here are a couple of considerations:
Reward client loyalty
People need to see proof that they are valued and respected.
Here are a few considerations:
• There is always room for personal growth – really vest a learning organisation
• Much can be done to enable the success of your business, even in tough economic times.
Zig Ziglar (American author and motivational speaker) once stated: “If people like you they will listen to you, but if they trust you they`ll do business with you.” This might be a prudent building block for business success in South Africa.
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