How many new business ideas come to naught because people have an unrealistic belief that an idea in and of itself will bring rewards? Self-appointed small business experts push the line that you just need a business idea and some hard income will magically appear. But the claims misleading if not downright irresponsible. Continue reading “Starting something of your own is hard work but it can be exciting and rewarding”
I was with an entrepreneur recently discussing ways in which he could improve his business in 2015. One of the ideas that I had suggested for 2014 had worked well for him. It involved a method to help reduce his inexperienced staff from making errors. This one idea alone has helped save him time, money and frustration.
But you don’t need to have goals only for the whole year. You can also have goals for the month ahead in which you try to increase performance, better manage your finances and attract new customers. Continue reading “What else can you do in your start-up or small business this month to improve performance and profitability”
You know what it’s like when you get a new smart phone. Once you’ve got the phone connected to the cellular network and tried to figure things out without the manual, you start looking for the smart phone apps. You might download a few of the apps and even buy one or two that you think will be useful or provide entertainment.
Flip forward a few months and you have not used many of those apps and wish the ones that you had bought you could claim a refund for. Some smart phones do provide an app refund but you have to request within 15 minutes of paying for it. Others offer refunds but it’s a hassle to go through the rigmarole to claim back your money. Continue reading “Are you experimenting enough?”
A new takeaway restaurant has opened in the same premises where two similar restaurants failed. The product, which is essentially fast-food fish, chicken and Shawarmas, looks like it is good quality but the prices are at a premium. In fact, when I recently went to this fast-food restaurant to sample the food the prices were so high that I walked out of the store and went somewhere else where I could get better value for money. Continue reading “Do you know the size and potential of the market for your small business offering?”
Have you ever listen to these adverts from small businesses on your local community radio station and wondered whether you should give it a try?
The other day I heard an advertisement on a local radio station for a transcription and typing service – can you believe it? This tiny outfit is using the local radio station to reach an audience much larger than they would get on the Internet. Why do I say this? It’s because if you’ve ever run a website, you’ll soon find out that attracting customers involves a marketing effort that requires huge amounts of planning, energy and advertising.
A large business can hire 10 people to do their marketing, spend millions and still have very little to show for it in increased revenues. No one really knows outside of the company how much is spent on marketing because it is hidden in the profit and loss statement under “operating expenses”. If a prominent shareholder were to ask how much is spent on marketing, they’d be pointed to the general sales and administration expense.
By not running a business themselves, marketing people do not know the impact of their activities on the company’s sales. In some severe cases, marketing skills are so low that the company may just as well fill wheelbarrows with millions of bank notes, wheel them up to a cliff and tip them over. Continue reading “Can you name one area in your business that is just a waste of money?”
Millions are made selling products and services via email. Are you using email to sell? And if you aren’t, should you give it a try?
Email has been tainted by companies that spam (sending the same message indiscriminately to large numbers of recipients on the Internet) prospects, alienating them. But by persuading prospects to opt in to your mailing list and sending them useful valuable information, you can build a relationship with them which can lead to opportunities for selling. Continue reading “Use email to sell your products or services”
When you have developed and tested your new product or service, you will need to choose what sales channels to use to maximise your sales.
These days in competitive and uncertain markets both business-to-business and consumer businesses need to select sales channels carefully because of the increased costs of distribution and face-to-face selling.
Start-ups and small businesses are increasingly using a mix of different sales channels. These may include a retail store, a direct sales person who calls on larger companies, agents to serve the business outside its home market and an online store. Continue reading “What sales channels will you choose to sell your new product or service?”
The Great Gatsby, or Jay Gatsby, the lead character in F Scott-Fitzgerald‘s novel, was a bootlegger. The new movie shows the millionaire protagonist living a lavish lifestyle but behind-the-scenes he made his wealth from selling illegal liquor during the Prohibition period.
Jay Gatsby would have made even more money in our present inflationary times. But commentators who have examined his criminal past say that bootlegging was a fairly low-margin business. The reason: he had to pay for bribes, lawyers and mob protection. It is also doubtful that he would have raised prices above all his many competitors.
Warnings of high inflation are coming from economists, business owners and consumer unions as the Rand got beaten to smithereens by the US dollar. It’s difficult always to make predictions about how fast inflation will grow but it’s best to take precautionary measures now than wait until your small business gets a kick in the stomach from inflation. Continue reading “5 ways your small business needs to tackle inflation – unless you’re the Great Gatsby”
I was sitting outside with the proprietor of an Italian restaurant in an up-market suburb in Johannesburg. We were talking about the specials on the menu. These included rabbit and goats. Her son was telling us how he sources the goat meat from the Northern Cape and the rabbit meat from a special supplier in Botswana. I’m not quite sure why the proprietor mentioned it but in her thick Italian accent she said people ask her to start the same restaurant in Cape Town but she doesn’t want to go there and lose R1 million.
Would you invest R1 million opening a business in Cape Town? Continue reading “Why would you want to lose R1 million in Cape Town?”