Reap the rewards when client expectations are exceeded

Image_Business_Success_Relies on moeCome to think of it, it all seems simple enough – clients will consider our product or service if we help them solve a problem or address a need they have.

But is this all there is to attracting clients to our business? The qualified answer is “no”.

Potential clients have unspoken expectations from a prospective business.

These include, but are not limited to the following:

  • If we are requested to quote for business, we actually need to pitch up at the agreed upon time to do the quote. This might be said tongue in cheek, but there is a tendency among businesses to not be diligent in this respect.
  • Communication should be open – especially when things are not going according to plan.
  • Use plain and simple language to ensure that clients understand contractual terms and considerations.
  • Clients expect honesty – if we cannot do the job, be up front about it and rather walk away from a deal than tarnish our reputation.
  • Clients mostly expect good value for their money and not necessarily the cheapest price.
  • Refrain from loading prices merely because a client might be living in or coming from an upmarket neighbourhood.
  • People want a good quality product and excellent service.
  • Product and service providers need to hit deadlines or negotiate postponements when needed.
  • Respect the property of a client if work is done on site – if something is broken, even by accident, clients will take us to task.
  • After sales service is of the utmost importance – we need to implement our product or service to meet and exceed client expectations.

Here are some of the benefits we will reap if we meet and exceed client expectations:

  • Positive word of mouth – prospective clients will start to contact us
  • We will receive positive affirmations that can be used in our public relations endeavours, on our website and in brochures. Always remember to request clients to consent to the use of their testimonials.
  • It is easier to upsell or resell products and services to a satisfied client.
  • Clients might use us in their personal capacity and a positive experience in this context may spill over into their businesses, or to an employer needing a similar product or service.

Business is simple, but not easy. If we can get the basics right it will go a long way in enabling our success.

To support business owners with the important task of business planning, Sanlam gives you free access to the book Your Annual Business Game Plan for Success, which provides an easy and straightforward framework needed to draft a well-crafted game plan that will create the positive change and growth necessary for business success.

Go to www.sanlamgameplan.co.za to download your free copy.

Article written by Jannie Rossouw, Head: Sanlam Business Market

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What to do in tough economic times

business-man-reading-newspaperRecently 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.

  1. Let the trend be your friend
    Continuous and meticulous research is required to understand

    • how client needs in your target market change over time;
    • which technological advances will impact your business;
    • what your competition is doing.

    The interpreted findings can be used to update your product/service and value proposition.

  2. 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.
  3. Income and cost considerations
    Income can be increased if you diversify

    • Client exposure – not to be dependent on a couple of large clients
    • Market access – is it possible to move the boundaries of your geographical footprint regionally in SA or to vest an African, or even international, market expansion?
    • Distribution – have you already considered e-commerce or an online distribution capability for your business?

    Cost may be curtailed by

    • Optimising operations
    • Negotiating “deeper” discounts from suppliers – remember, they also need good paying clients
    • Considering a 4 day work week – thereby not laying staff off
    • Sharing premises/sub-letting
  4. Differentiate on service delivery
    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
    • Run “specials” – not to engage in a price war with your competitors, but to keep your business top of mind for your target market
    • Comply with all legislation (e.g. Health and Safety Act, BEE) to make it easy and rewarding for clients to do business with you
    • Invest in “deep” client relationships; move beyond a transactional association
  5. Treat employees as real assets of your business
    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
    • Pay them fairly – an example was cited where overtime was converted into paid leave
    • Recognise and reward them – profit sharing or even a paid holiday
    • Value their opinions – let your staff participate in decision-making
    • Support them on a personal level – an example is to help them materialise their dreams and aspirations and to provide mentorship support
    • Use flexi-time to enable work-life-balance
    • Provide them with a dignified office space and social facilities (e.g. cooked meals)

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.

To support business owners with the important task of business planning, Sanlam gives you free access to the book Your Annual Business Game Plan for Success, which provides an easy and straightforward framework needed to draft a well-crafted game plan that will create the positive change and growth necessary for business success.

Go to www.sanlamgameplan.co.za to download your free copy.

 

Article written by Jannie Rossouw, Head: Sanlam Business Market

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Gee voordat jy verwag om te ontvang

In besigheid is die algemene siening dat daar nie iets soos ʼn “gratis middagete” is nie. Dit impliseer dat, indien ʼn verbruiker binne jou teikenmark iets gratis van ʼn besigheid ontvang, daar altyd ʼn verwagte teenprestasie is.

As dit die konvensionele wysheid is, is die vraag hoe ʼn besigheid waarde kan gee sonder dat die “hopelik” toekomstige kliënt dit as ʼn “omkoop”- aksie om iets aan hom/haar te verkoop, ervaar?

Hieronder volg ʼn paar voorbeelde van waardetoevoeging wat, indien dit nie met ʼn verkopeoproep opgevolg word nie, ʼn positiewe siening van jou besigheid by die verbruiker kan laat.

  • Illustreer jou kundigheid oor ʼn spesifieke oplossing deur aan te toon dat jy die teikenkliënt se behoefte/uitdaging verstaan. Skryf bondige artikels, en/of neem aan radio-/TV-onderhoude deel waar jy as deskundige objektiewe advies oor die probleemstelling en die geskikte oplossing kan gee. Joernaliste en ander media-eienaars is deurlopend op soek na onderwerpe waarmee mense worstel, asook kundiges wat tot die onderwerpe kan spreek. Dink aan “groen” oplossings, die strewe om gesonder leefstyle te volg, gewigsverlies, om geld te spaar in uitdagende ekonomiese omstandighede, om ʼn eie besigheid te begin, om as ouer met tienerkinders te oorleef as voorbeelde.
  • Kliënte verstaan telkemale nie hulle werklike behoefte na behore nie en dan koop hulle dienste en produkte wat oënskynlik ʼn oplossing vir hulle behoefte/uitdaging sal bied. In plaas daarvan om net ʼn kwotasie op diensversoeke te lewer, waarom nie ʼn stap verder gaan om vas te stel wat die mees optimale oplossing sal wees om die kliënt se behoefte aan te spreek nie. Dit mag somtyds beteken dat jou besigheid nie die aangewese oplossing kan bied nie – doen dan ʼn verwysing.
  • Gee gratis monsters van jou produk aan voornemende kliënte. Hulle kan die produk gebruik en self die resultate ervaar, i.p.v. net op jou verkoopsinsette en bestaande kliënte se getuigskrifte te vertrou.
  • Raak betrokke by sake wat vir jou teikenmark belangrik is. Jou betrokkenheid moet egter opreg wees, anders behoort jy dit glad nie te oorweeg nie.
  • In baie gevalle het mense vrae en wil hulle graag net met ʼn kundige persoon klankbord. Ek dink aan die adviestoonbank by ʼn kwekery waar mense telefonies of in persoon kontak kan maak indien hulle advies oor watter chemiese middel hulle benodig om ʼn siek plant of struik te behandel, of watter struike in koelte floreer, benodig. Alle besighede is nie noodwendig vir dié soort oplossing geskik nie, maar dit bly ʼn oorweging. Dit is nog ʼn manier om jou kundigheid ten toon te stel.

Indien jy dit regkry om hierdie waardetoevoeging te vestig, kan dit die volgende voordele vir jou besigheid inhou:

  • Jou kundigheid boesem respek in by jou teikenmark. Dit skep vervolgens vertroue by jou teikenmark dat jy die regte persoon is om hulle behoefte/uitdagings op te los.
  • Jou geloofwaardigheid neem toe – mense glo jou advies en leiding.
  • Jy word deel van jou teikenmark se “oplossing” – hulle sien jou as ʼn “vennoot” in hulle lewe.
  • Dit skep ʼn perspektief van toeganklikheid by jou teikenmark.
  • Reg toegepas, skep dit ʼn positiewe verwysingsraamwerk (‘positive word of mouth’) vir jou besigheid.

Na alle waarskynlikheid was Winston Churchill reg toe hy op ʼn keer die volgende woorde gespreek het: “We make a living by what we get; we make a life by what we give.”

Kies ʼn manier om jou unieke kundigheid GRATIS met jou teikenmark te deel – na alle waarskynlikheid sal jou besigheid die vrugte hiervan in verhoogde verkope pluk.

Om besigheidseienaars in die belangrike taak van besigheidsbeplanning te ondersteun, gee Sanlam jou gratis toegang tot die boek, Your Annual Business Game Plan for Success, wat ʼn maklike en eenvoudige raamwerk bied vir die opstel van ʼn goed-gestruktureerde wedstrydplan, om die positiewe verandering en groei wat vir besigheidsukses nodig is, te skep.

Gaan na www.sanlamgameplan.co.za om jou gratis kopie af te laai.

 

Artikel geskryf deur Jannie Rossouw, Hoof: Sanlam Besigheidsmark

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Ten Common Mistakes Entrepreneurs Make

These days business owners have many challenges to overcome to build a great successful business. Here are a number of mistakes often made that could lead to unnecessary additional obstacles that should rather be avoided.

Equal Partnerships
Creating an equal partnership seems fair in theory and typically works well for a while. However, sooner or later disagreements arise and the company is then in limbo because no partner has the final say. Eventually this will erode the company’s growth.  It is wiser to give a managing partner ultimate control and a majority ownership stake – even if it’s only 51%.  Alternatively, grant a small percentage to a third party advisor who will serve as the tie-breaker for the partners.

Elusive Product Perfection
Perfection is unattainable, but that doesn’t stop many entrepreneurs from spending a lot of money trying to achieve it.  Even if the company did finally make the perfect product, the market will change and eventually make the product obsolete.

Relying On One Big Customer
If you depend upon a single customer for more than 50 percent of your company’s revenues, your company may be headed for a meltdown. It may be easier to manage  one or two big customers, but if you lose a major customer, you run the high risk of business failure.

Creating Products in a Marketing Vacuum
Some companies put all their efforts into an idea, then develop a product or service – only to find there are no buyers for it. It is crucial to perform market research in advance to determine whether anyone will buy.

Low Price Strategy
Companies should charge the highest prices its markets will allow.  Too many entrepreneurs attempt to make up for low margins with high volume.

Insufficient Capitalisation
Being unrealistically optimistic can inflate sales projections, shorten product development timelines and minimize expected costs.  It is important to check and re-check the financial business assumptions underlying the proposed venture and only proceed when capitalisation can support the worst-case scenario.

Losing Focus
Small business owners often lose focus on the company’s core areas – product or service, markets and distribution channel.  Concentrating efforts in a limited area almost always produces better results than diversifying.

Inflating Expenditures
In a quest to live the high life, entrepreneurs sometimes let expenditure inflate more than revenue.  Spend the money necessary to achieve the company’s objectives, but nothing else until profits justify the expense.

Huge Return on Investment (ROI)
If the company cannot articulate the ROI that clients will earn from its products or services, how can it expect customers to understand its value proposition?  Do the analysis.  If the company can demonstrate a great ROI, sales will be inevitable.

Refusal to Admit a Mistake
The biggest mistake an entrepreneur can make is to ignore failure.  If success has not come to the venture, wipe the slate clean and reassess the investment.  Assume the original investment has been lost and decide from that perspective whether you can justify further investment.  If not, walk away.


PIeter du PlessisPieter du Plessis is a Franchisee of the global business coaching company – ActionCOACH.  He is a Chartered Accountant and an accredited Business Coach assisting business owners to significantly grow their profits and develop their entrepreneurial skills. To find out more about Business Coaching or to receive a complimentary coaching session,call 012-0040379, email PieterduPlessis@ActionCOACH.com or visitwww.pieterduplessis.co.za

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Copyright © 2016 ActionCoach, All rights reserved.
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Business Success Relies On More Than Financial Statements

Image_Business_Success_Relies on moeFinancial statements are often used to judge whether a business is performing well or not, however these numbers alone seldom tell the whole story. Entrepreneurs might be knowledgeable in their chosen field, but may lack the technical skills to fully analyse financial statements. It is therefor crucial to investigate other methods available for analysis of their business. Let’s discuss the importance of using the right formulae to keep your business on track.

Seeing The Big Picture
While financial statements are a good picture of past performance, they are not entirely suitable for predicting where the company might be in the future. Because they use historical data, they cannot accurately  reflect sudden market changes or illustrate where a company is going. It’s therefore essential to use other measurement tools alongside financial statements to determine which processes are in need of improvement.

Break-even Analysis
Fistly, a business owner must ascertain the point at which a business is neither making a profit nor a loss. This is the break-even point. The formula is as follows: Profit = (Selling Price x Number of Units Sold) — [Total Fixed Costs per annum + (Variable Costs per unit x Number of Units Sold)]

Simply put, this formula is designed   to  provide   an  understanding of how many sales are required to cover all associated costs. Anything above this level, or break-even point, is profit.

Budgeting and the setting of realistic business targets are two of the planning processes made easier by this analysis. Equipped with this understanding, as well as targets and ideal profit margins, business leaders can make strategic decisions in order to drive sales.

Measuring success
In order for businesses to increase their sales, they first have to understand them. All business is effectively driven by five key areas: lead generation, conversion rate, average sale, average number of transactions,  and profit margins.

Lead generation refers to the total number of potential buyers that have been in contact with the business. Conversion rates are defined as the number of these inquiries that become sales. Combining these two gives the business’s number of customers.

Average Number of Customers = Lead Generation x Conversion Rate
Once you have the number of customers, you can use it in a formula to determine revenues: This  can be done by multiplying it with the average Rand sale (or equivalent currency) and number of transactions.

Revenues = Number of Customers x Average Rand Sale x Average Number of Transactions

The final step of this process is to take the resulting revenue number and multiplying it by a company’s profit margin  percentage to calculate the bottom-line. If one of the numbers in this process is falling short — poor lead generation, low prices and so on — business owners can work with that specific variable to increase over- all profit.

Profit = Revenues x Profit Margins
With these formulae, business owners can enjoy a new perspective on what is happening with their cash flow. Testing and measuring the success of processes is vital to any business and doesn’t have to be as scary as it appears. These tips will have entrepreneurs on the road to profitability in no time.

PIeter du PlessisPieter du Plessis is a Franchisee of the global business coaching company – ActionCOACH.  He is a Chartered Accountant and an accredited Business Coach assisting business owners to significantly grow their profits and develop their entrepreneurial skills. To find out more about Business Coaching or to receive a complimentary coaching session, call 012-0040379, email PieterduPlessis@ActionCOACH.com or visit www.pieterduplessis.co.za

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Copyright © 2016 ActionCoach, All rights reserved.

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Tips for Finding Missing Pets

thumbnailUpload your missing pet’s information on the following websites:

www.petslostandfound.co.za
www.petfinders.co.a

and the following Facebook pages:

Tshwane SPCA
Wetnose Animal Rescue Centre
Wollies Animal Project
Animal Ambulance
Moot Lost and Found
Lost and Found Pretoria
Missing Pets SA
Barking Mad
Valley Farm Animal Hospital

Remember to include the following important details on all posts:
Date they went missing & area they went missing from
Type of animal (eg. Dog, Cat, Bird, etc)
Description of the animal, including:
Gender, coat type, tail type, colour, any special markings, whether they have collars or microchips
A clearly visible photo & CONTACT DETAILS

Other things to do:
Check all vets in the nearby area
Make missing posters and place in your neighbourhood, at local shops and vets
Don’t just call, come in to both the Waltloo and Centurion branches of the SPCA as soon as possible

Remember to keep collars on all your pets with your contact details on at all times, and get them microchipped if you can. The Tshwane SPCA does microchip animals at our Waltloo branch weekdays 09:00 – 13:00.

MOST IMPORTANTLY:  Remember to update all the places where you searched, and let them know once your pet has been found. It remains your responsibility to visit all kennels every 3-4 days to see if the animal has been brought in.

Korky Levenson
Fundraising & Public Relations
012 803 5219 (tel)  012 803 5775 (fax)  www.spcapta.org.za

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Good marketing leads to sales

Shopper_credit_cardIn order to properly address this subject, we first need to understand the difference between marketing and sales.

Marketing drives the demand for a product or service;  Sales fulfil the demand and create relationships with clients.

The recommended basic elements of every marketing mix are as follows:

  • A brochure (electronic and/or print)
  • Website (do search engine optimisation, apply Google Ads and doing search word campaigns)
  • Advertising (using the most suitable media options)
  • Public relations plan
  • Sponsorships that are suited to your target market

Here are a few alternative marketing elements to consider:

  • Vehicle advertisements
  • Marketing non-competitive products and services to your client base in collaboration with other businesses (while they do the same for you)
  • Thank clients for business (email, phone calls, discount on next transaction)
  • Do after-sales service assessments, at the same time asking for referrals
  • Give away samples to introduce clients to your product/service

Your marketing mix should deliver the following results:

  • Creating awareness of your product/service and business
  • Creating a 24/7 presence of your business
  • Educating your clients on your product/service
  • Creating credibility and giving clients peace of mind that your business will deliver on promises made
  • Showing that you understand the needs and requirements of your target market
  • Creating qualified referrals (in most cases this is a by-product, but you can launch campaigns primarily aimed at lead generation

The well-known American writer and speaker Zig  Ziglar once said: “Every sale has five basic obstacles: no need, no money, no hurry, no desire, no trust.” These obstacles can be removed only if the marketing and sales functions are working together.

To support business owners with the important task of business planning, Sanlam gives you free access to the book Your Annual Business Game Plan for Success, which provides an easy and straightforward framework needed to draft a well-crafted game plan that will create the positive change and growth necessary for business success. Go to www.sanlam.co.za/gameplan to download your free copy.

Article written by Jannie Rossouw, Head: Sanlam Business Market

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