If there is one challenge almost every small business owner grapples with; it has to be marketing. Whether its trying to correctly define your value proposition, identify the target market or find cost effective ways of reaching prospective customers, there is always some ambiguity and frustration when marketing is involved.
Last week we reached out to Marketing and PR expert @Ronke Lawal and she shared some valuable tips on why small businesses must make marketing and PR a priority and how to go about it in a manner that is cost effective.
The beginning of the year is always a time of dreaming, planning and strategizing. It offers the opportunity to start again and do it better than you have always done before. Achievements and or disappointments from the previous year can cause you to set lofty goals and rather unrealistic goals.
2015 has come and gone and if I might say, the year has been nothing short of eventful. From the impact of the elections on contract award and contract approvals, to the drop in oil prices and the soaring exchange rate (as I write this, the dollar is exchanging for about N260 from under N200 at the beginning of the year)…businesses have certainly had better days.
“There is only one boss: the customer. And he can fire everybody in the company from the chairman on down, simply by spending his money somewhere else.”
Sam Walton, Founder Wal-Mart
Last week I experienced two contrasting examples of customer service. One was very poor, and the other excellent. I accompanied a friend to the mall to pick up some items and make some repairs. On approaching the first store, we looked out for the sales staff to nudge them in our direction but no one saw us. After a few minutes of scanning around, we spotted a staff that was restocking the shelves. We walked over to her and asked if she could provide the service we wanted. Without looking at us she mumbled yes. We felt funny but still hoped she will leave what she was doing and give us some attention. When she did not budge, we asked her who in particular would assist us; to which she rudely retorted, “anybody can do it.” At this point, we were no longer interested and decided to try somewhere else.
Every business, whether big or small, has one ultimate goal in mind- to grow bigger and be more profitable. However, achieving this in a manner that is sustainable is a struggle for most business owners. After the initial high, things just gradually slow down and it seems your business has become stagnant. Well the good news is that it doesn’t have to be. Here are some tips to keep you going forward:
Entrepreneurs and business owners often shy away from contracts and agreements especially when doing business with friends or acquaintances. While it is not a guarantee for service delivery, it helps to clarify terms and provides a common understanding for both parties collaborating.
A good contract:
HR is one area that small businesses often take for granted. They simply reduce it to hiring new people and signing paychecks. In reality, HR is much more than those functions. It a value adding component of an organization that can bring about the success or failure of a company. If you were to ask CEOs’ of successful organizations what the secret to their success was, majority would say: their people. This should be the standard for all companies regardless of size.
In this article, I have highlighted some basic principles to help you organize your HR function.
Like in every relationship, communication is a vital part of business without which there would be confusion, ambiguity and discord. As a business owner ensuring that everyone in the organization is on the same page regarding key components such as business strategy, customer service, product and services etc. is crucial for survival. So whether you have a team of 2 or 20 people, it is important to set clear guidelines for communication.
What comes to your mind when you see the big swoosh that looks like a pass mark? I bet you think of Nike. Or when you see the slightly bitten apple: Apple computers right. You can easily recognize them because you identify with the brand.
The word on everyone’s lips these days is change. Departing from the norm in hope for something new and better. Which leads me to ask: Is your business also yearning for change? Are you tired of doing the same things over and over with little results to show? Or are you just plain tired of the status quo?
As a business owner, you are in the best position to bring about a difference. Embracing the notion of change will require you to self examine and see if there are things you can do better. Consider the following: