Tag: business

By Megs Hollis for BizCommunity

Are you looking for creative ways to market your small business? Here are 12 fun, creative and (most importantly) free ideas that you can implement in your business today:

1. Google My Business

Your Google My Business listing is the absolute first thing that people see when they are looking for directions to your business, looking for your phone number, or your trading hours. Plus, it helps support your SEO efforts. Not only do you want to ensure that your profile is fully up to date, with great photos and positive reviews, but did you actually know that you can create offers through Google my business?

2. Instagram reels and stories

Instagram Reels are continuing to get brands organic reach. It doesn’t matter what your following is, but almost always, you will see that your real views are higher than the number of followers that you have, which is unheard of on other social media platforms bar TikTok. The main factors affecting your Reels’ success apart from the content itself are the audio you use, and the cover image.
Reels have just been rolled out to Facebook too.

3. Instagram guides

Looking for a way to repurpose content that you have already created and posted on Instagram? Look no further than Instagram Guides. This is a perfect format for curating your bestsellers, or even communicating a menu or pricelist.

4. Facebook and video animations

Video has long been a preferred format by the Facebook algorithm. Programs such as Canva allow you to animate short format slides and make something that would have just been a static post or a carousel into an MP4 with the touch of a button.

5. Email marketing

Email marketing is next on the list. Email marketing is an absolutely brilliant platform for ROI and is perfect for small business owners, particularly for driving website traffic. Just make sure to use UTM tracking links with all outgoing sends so you can see what is working and what isn’t!

6. LinkedIn carousels

You can mimic carousels on LinkedIn with their upload PDF functionality. Remember to use at least three (unbranded) hashtags on your LinkedIn post, as this will also aid your organic reach.

7. LinkedIn Newsletter functionality

Have you heard of LinkedIn’s all new Newsletter functionality? This allows both brands and pages to notify people of when you post an article, via their app and also by email notification! Be sure to jump on this new functionality before your competitors do.

8. “Open to” services on LinkedIn

On a more personal note, if you are a service-based business, you can now enable the “open to” and Provide Service on LinkedIn. It seems LinkedIn is keen to jump on the gig economy, following the insane success of websites likes Fiverr during the pandemic.

9. WhatsApp for Business

WhatsApp for Business is available for free for iOS and Android users, and it really allows you to up level your game on WhatsApp. The tool has nine additional pieces of functionality over and above regular WhatsApp has, including a business profile, catalogue and some advanced messaging settings to get back to more customers, faster.
Use your WhatsApp status to broadcast promotional messages as well. When customers swipe up it initiates a direct chat with your business.

10. YouTube subscribe link and YouTube Shorts

Add the below code snippet to the end of your channel URL, and visitors will actually see the pop-up box asking if they want to subscribe.
Code snippet: ?sub_confirmation=1
Example: https://www.youtube.com/c/MegsHollis?sub_confirmation=1

The other one to look at is YouTube Shorts. Just post your vertical video that is shorter than 60 seconds – without any copyrighted audio – and the hashtag #Shorts and voila: you are officially live on Shorts.

11. Email signature

Undoubtedly one of the most under-utilised platforms is your email signature. How many times do you send emails in a day, and how many people receive them? It’s a great way of driving website traffic, and really gets people who you’re chatting to anyway better acquainted with your business.

12. Mini social media and website audit

Why not conduct a mini social media audit? Refresh your profile picture, update your cover pages and implement Linktree or LinkinBio on your Instagram to ensure y ou can more effectively drive traffic. They both act as mini switch boards, and have basic analytics to help to see who went where.Look at your website with a critical eye and see what you can possibly update with your consumer hat on. Key things to watch out for are site speed, whether the site is optimised for mobile, and how many clicks it would take someone to check out if your site is e-commerce enabled.

The disruption caused by the Covid-19 pandemic has raised many questions and resulted in countless articles about business relevance, resilience, purpose and longevity. Uncertainty is the only certainty, and what might have been a realistic ten-year plan two years ago, may well seem ridiculous today.

Yet, businesses concerned with their long-term survival still need to navigate the uncertainty and plan for the future. Terms like “agility” and “adaptability” have become favourites to bandy about but long-term business success requires far more than an acknowledgement of the need to be flexible.

Industry leaders who prioritise the question of business longevity as a strategic prerogative shared some of their insights.

Relevance is always a priority

Even a business that’s been around for half a century can’t ever afford to rest on its laurels. Teljoy, today the country’s foremost rent to own provider, made a name for itself in the 1970s when they offered South Africans the opportunity to rent a television to partake in the excitement of TV finally coming to our shores.

“We’ve been around for a long time and the business has inevitably evolved over the years. It’s thanks to this evolution that we remain not just alive today, but more relevant than ever,” says Jonathan Hurvitz, Teljoy CEO.

Central to Teljoy’s strategic thinking is the understanding that the brand is in the business of offering consumers access to items they need. “It’s not about the fridge or the microwave or the laptop per se, but rather about a business model that solves a particular customer need in a way that aligns to what the contemporary consumer needs, wants and expects from a brand,” Hurvitz explains.

The product or service offering can easily be changed or adapted, or even discarded, but as a business it’s key to focus on the value proposition first and foremost, as the product or service is merely a fulfillment of the value proposition.

Engage evolving consumer needs

Reagen Kok, CEO of digital transformation agency Hoorah Digital, agrees that longevity and relevance is always a strategic business concern. “Particularly in the creative industries where it is easy to fall victim to the ‘flavour of the month’ trap – you’re only as good as your last campaign, after all.”

He explains that, instead, Hoorah’s approach is to ensure they’re always engaging with the evolving needs, desires and preferences of the consumer. “A keen awareness (and anticipation!) of social and cultural trends and nuances are a key part of playing the long game. Our relevance is reflected in our ability to appropriately respond to the prevailing zeitgeist, while ensuring our approach is supported by efficient business structures.”

Data plays a key role too, and increasingly so for businesses across industries. “The right data can be invaluable in informing business decisions, processes and forward planning to see you win in the long run,” Kok says.

Foster a culture of learning

According to McKinsey, up to 375 million workers will need to change occupations by 2030. McKinsey also predicts that in about 60% of occupations, at least one-third of the constituent activities could be automated, implying substantial workplace transformations and changes for all workers.

In uncertain times, it’s important to surround yourself with a skilled workforce that can adapt to change. Fostering a culture of learning will help you prepare for unforeseen challenges.

“It’s important to recognise the importance of the workforce generational shift, “says Edmund Dueck, VP of Sales EMEA at Liferay. “Engaging millennials, reskilling the workforce, and investing in corporate learning are all new and significant considerations that will continue to be relevant.

“Upskilling and reskilling are vital for a highly competitive and evolving business environment, making them both critical elements of a powerful business strategy that is future-proof,” he says.

The whole is the sum of the parts

A successful business is the culmination of a balanced focus on both the big-picture goal for the organisation and a commitment to ensuring that the day-to-day activities of the business run smoothly, efficiently, profitably and ultimately serve the larger objectives.

“It’s easy to become consumed by the minutiae of running a business, where the focus is simply getting the most pressing work done,” says Hayley van der Woude, Managing Director at public relations and integrated marketing agency Irvine Partners. “Striking the right balance between sweating the day-to-day details while keeping an eye on the long-term vision is key, and has been an important part of our own success over the past 11 years. We’ve found that it helps when strategic big-picture thinking is an active part of the KPIs of certain team members. In addition, balance and workflow are important so team members are empowered to step back from their daily grind and think critically and creatively,” she says.

Considering that only some 33% of new businesses make it past the ten-year mark it is crucial to engage the question of longevity, relevance and resilience, particularly at a time when it has been proved that the only constant is change.

Understanding the new customer

Over the last two years, there have been numerous developments. The human race has survived a pandemic that spread fear and uncertainty throughout the world. And our way of life has been severely impacted. Businesses have embraced work-from-home and hybrid work models, prioritised employee well-being, and recognised that putting the customer at the centre of all decisions is the key to success.

Businesses must recognise that today’s customer is considerably different from the pre-pandemic customer. While restrictions may be easing and we all cautiously re-enter the world, the interactions that customers have with brands today is one that is changing – and will continue to do so.

This means that the brands that grasp the genuine concept of customer-centricity will be successful. Being customer-centric should no longer be a buzzword; it should be understood and implemented with empathy.

What does the new customer look like, and how can organisations adapt their business strategies to accommodate them?

Digital transformation to customer experience transformation

Today’s customers are more savvy and knowledgeable than ever before. “The client of 2022 expects seamless experiences from all brands, and it is now the customer who dictates how brands should engage with them, not the other way around. Regardless of the business in which you operate, your primary focus should be on customer experience transformation,” says Greg Gatherer, Account Manager at Liferay Africa.

Today’s consumers demand engaging, connected, and actionable digital experiences. “Good” experiences will not suffice. ” With this in mind, businesses will need to identify technology that enables them to meet these objectives and transform their operations,” explains Gatherer.

“For instance, a digital experience platform (DXP) is intended to serve as an integration centre, bringing together disparate applications and systems to enable the creation, delivery, and management of digital experiences across the customer journey.”

Customers will no longer be required to switch between several apps to complete activities. “Rather than that, consumers may rely on the customer portal to be the go-to tool for whatever they require. This streamlines their whole experience, which improves client retention,” says Gatherer.

From browsing pamphlets to exploring virtual reality

Tourism is another area where technology has brought about seminal changes, profoundly affecting the way travel clients search, shop and pay. According to Tshepo Matlou, Head of Marketing and Communications at Jurni, the most obvious change is the growth of online booking. “In the past, people dreaming of a holiday had to rely on travel agents or the pamphlets at tourist boards to find accommodation – a concept that seems ludicrous today,” says Matlou.

Being able to pick and choose the characteristics you want while browsing through high-quality photos of potential accommodation on online booking sites is just the most obvious route now.

The rapid rise in online bookings and purchases has resulted in travel clients that expect tourism operators, big and small, to have kept up with modern advances, such as letting them explore accommodation in virtual reality (VR) before they make a booking.

“Modern travellers are also increasingly more socially aware and conscious, looking for more authentic experiences that connect them to the areas they visit,” says Matlou. These often can be found at small guest houses and business owners outside of the big cities in areas that are incredibly rich in cultural value and have much to offer visitors who are willing to explore them.” Because of this, localised booking sites will become more prevalent in the coming years.”

Customer privacy is key

The previous two years have seen dramatic changes in nearly every facet of our life.

“Our behaviour as consumers is no different. We have altered not only where and how we shop, but also what we purchase. Regardless of age or demographic, online buying is significantly more accessible than it was previously,” says Dori-Jo Bonner, Strategist at Striata Africa.

While the modern shopper’s expectations of businesses have shifted, a major worry for the consumer is a company’s ability to demonstrate that they value their privacy and are responsible with their data.

“Worryingly, a poll done before the implementation of POPIA discovered that just 22% of South African businesses are aware of the privacy laws governing their marketing efforts. Given the massive amounts of consumer data businesses have accumulated through loyalty and direct marketing programs, they will need to exercise extra caution in terms of compliance,” says Bonner.

Understanding the new customer requires empathy

The contemporary customer’s needs, desires and preferences are constantly evolving and to remain relevant no brand can afford to ignore those nuances believes Reagen Kok, CEO at Hoorah Digital.
“ Particularly in the creative industry, our relevance is reflected in our ability to appropriately respond to the prevailing zeitgeist in terms of those needs and nuances. Empathy has an important role to play in this as the ‘new customer’ needs to be approached with empathy,” says Kok.

Empathy is showing customers that brands “get them” in a way that the others don’t. Brands that understand the value of empathy engage their customers in a more thoughtful way, ensuring it feels like an authentic response to their needs. “Empathy says, ‘We get what you want and need – here’s how we can help you solve it’, as opposed to a ‘look at what we do – we think you need this’ approach to marketing,” explains Kok

Tailoring offers to meet exact needs

Post-pandemic customers are tech savvy and expect far more from brands in terms of tailoring their offering to meet their exact needs at the exact point that they need them to be met.

“For a business this means forgetting the ‘build and they will come’ mentality, and working instead to ensure that they, firstly, understand the needs, frustrations and aspirations of their customers and, secondly, ensure their strategic and operational capacity is such that they can respond to these needs timeously,” says Jonathan Hurvitz, Teljoy CEO.

Hurvitz explains that for retailers, in particular, this means redefining what customer loyalty is in 2022 and responding accordingly.

“It’s seeking to understand not just the evolution of retail but the evolution of the customer, and using that as the foundation from which to over-deliver on customer expectations. This means having the operational capability to effect change rapidly, to adapt quickly, to reinvent constantly and to react to market trends swiftly”

Optimum nutrition has now taken centre stage

It can certainly be said that the pandemic changed the way that consumers think about their overall health – now more than ever paying more attention to what they consume and the overall nutritional value of these foods. This is particularly true for those who cannot necessarily afford to incorporate a vast variety of foods into their daily diets. However, while the changing consumer behaviour towards a more ‘conscious’ intake is a positive response to the pandemic, it comes at a time where the deterioration of soil quality is occurring at a more rapid pace.

“The nutrients in healthy soil are directly linked to the quality of produce from farmers. This in turn, down the line negatively impacts human nutrition and health through adverse effects on the quality of food production. A reduction in crop yields because of the erosion of soil quality can further lead to low concentration of proteins and crucial micronutrients in produce – aggravating malnutrition,” says Andre Redinger, Founder of Millhouse International.

As consumers continue to pay more attention to what they consume, adding foods that are fortified with the missing vitamin and micronutrients owing to soil deterioration and other factors to their daily diets is the number one strategy that they can adopt to ensure they are getting optimum nutritional intake to combat the effects of food that is not optimally nutritious.

Flexible strategies

To succeed, businesses must be willing to adapt to the ever-changing consumer, and strategies must be able to adjust to changing situations. One thing we’ve learned from the pandemic is that the only constant we can rely on is change.

Source: News24

In a changing world disrupted by Covid-19, small to medium enterprises (SMEs) in South Africa have the opportunity to embrace many solutions presented by digital technology, or risk missing out on the future of business.

Contactless pay points, access to data and other accessible tech innovations have made business easier to manage for many during pandemic-era trading. Small to medium enterprises specifically stand to gain from the advancements made by easier cashless payment methods at the point of sale.

The way in which consumers are interacting with money has changed since the onset of the pandemic. According to a Visa South Africa survey earlier this year, 48% of consumers indicated that they did not want to shop at a store that has payment methods that require contact, while 59% of people prefer to engage in contactless money transactions in general.

The COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated the need for small businesses to get onboard the digital train to stay relevant in a changing marketplace. But the options to do so are also becoming easier and more accessible for all types of SMEs. We explore some of those here.

Going online and cashless systems

When it comes to going digital, not all SMEs are the same or will have the same needs. Many still require on-site service, while others can go completely remote. For the most part, all SMEs within the category have to consider their digital presence, with two main things to consider.

“The first is putting your business online. That is an absolute must in today’s world,” says Karin Mathebula, Head of Product, Sales and Service Enablement at Relationship Banking at Absa.

“Even if you are still operating from your shop, to be online means that you reach a much bigger audience. The second is the utilisation of non-cash-based payments. As soon as you put your business online, there is the opportunity to enable customers to shop online. Even in your physical store context, it’s really important to offer your customers the cheapest, safest way to pay for the goods or service that they are procuring, and certainly digital payments are the way to go.”

Contactless payments

An SME that has not considered cashless payment options, will miss out on an opportunity. Allowing customers to shop and pay online has proved to be a preference for many consumers during lockdown.

“Going digital means that people can buy your product and pay for it online or use cashless options such as tapping a bank card, or Apple Pay on their phone on site. But more importantly, everybody can see your business and it expands your customer base,” says Mathebula.

Accepting non-cash-based payments also means that you don’t have the cost and risk of handling large amounts of cash on your premises.

Data

Digitisation is ultimately about businesses using digital tools to analyse, learn and predict how things will be done in the future. It is a means of gaining as much information about your customer as possible and converting that into useable data.

For example, online shopping enables online payments – that information is turned into data that helps us to track the payment and the goods from that moment. Another example is paying with a card or a phone at a pay point. While the goods are physically exchanged, the payment linked to the goods becomes data immediately. Large corporations such as Amazon or Spotify have become experts in connecting buyers or listeners with sellers or producers.

“What’s important for SMEs, is to see the opportunity of being part of this big world of data – data about customer activity and the payments that they make, generate the ability to learn what else a customer likes or is interested in, how they pay for things, and offers the opportunity for other businesses to connect into each other’s value chains.”

Overcoming hurdles – costs and digital literacy

There are naturally some hurdles to overcome in transitioning to digital, but solutions are becoming more widespread. For many small businesses, these hurdles include the cost of data, being able to maintain cashflow properly, as well as finding alternative distribution channels.

“Both of these have an impact on the ability to raise finance, which is the most commonly identified barrier to growth and success by SMEs. Fortunately, we are able to support SMEs with tools to improve their ability to easily manage cashflow and collect payments. These in turn enable us to proactively offer cashflow support,” says Mathebula.

Banks such as Absa provide credit or cashflow financing. SMEs can use the data from their own bank account to create a cashflow statement using tools linked to their account, such as Absa’s Cashflow Manager. This helps to generate the sort of financial data on the basis of which credit decisions are made. It provides basic accounting information, can generate quotes and issue receipts.

SmartPay is a point-of-sale application that allows digital onboarding so that the customer does not have to physically go anywhere. A small business can have digital solutions, such as Absa’s Mobile Pay, this software turns your mobile phone into a Point of Sale (POS) device which allows merchants the ability to accept contactless payments on their smartphone.

These tools are ultimately a smarter way of doing business, which lowers costs and enables small businesses to produce more and focus on sales. This will help SMEs grow their share of the pie rather than just increase the number of slices.

 

Emerging successfully from an economic downturn and global pandemic is no easy feat, especially if you are an SME business without large cash reserves to see you through. How do entrepreneurs combat these difficult times and come out the other side relatively unscathed?

Warren Bonheim, MD of Zinia, a leading ICT and telecoms provider, shares his strategies for success that have seen Zinia thrive through tough times.

Embrace customer reviews

Word of mouth has to a certain extent been digitised with many customers often deciding who to contact off of google and social media reviews. This strategy embraces transparency by asking customers to go public with their experience across digital platforms.

Bonheim says feedback directly from the mouths of the customer has a unique way of driving a culture of continuous improvement and dedication to customer excellence.

By focusing on customer experience as a priority in your business, you can determine if you are delivering on your service promise or not. Simply asking what your customers are saying about your business also allows you to benchmark your service and find a starting point to improve. However, exposing your business by actively seeking out customer reviews is not without risk.

“Opening your business up to customer feedback is daunting because there is absolutely no control over what people will say,” says Bonheim. “In addition, it is human nature to criticize and not take the time to give positive feedback.”

Whilst this approach may open a business up to negative reviews, these reviews allow business decision-makers to create targeted intervention programmes to improve their services that are far more resource-efficient in the long run.

Invest in people and service

During tough times leaders may seek to cut costs through their wage bill. However, making a strategic decision to not carry out retrenchments may be better as it allows you to protect the livelihood of employees who make a high level of customer service possible.

This also proves that you are loyal to your employees, preserving employee satisfaction and motivation which leads to a productive and positive company culture.

Zinia made the decision to stand by their employees and demonstrate their commitment to personalized service by limiting retrenchment during the Lockdown. They also improved the customer experience by incorporating easy to understand tools, sales documents, processes, checks, SLAs, and customer satisfaction surveys to make dealing with the company effortless. In the same way, links to provide customer feedback are readily available at a variety of touchpoints, making it easy for customers to share their thoughts.

Give recognition

Getting buy-in from executive-level members is also imperative to implementing these strategies. Reviews both positive and negative should be monitored regularly by executive level company members. This allows positive reviews and the employees responsible for them to be given validation and recognition. Negative reviews can be investigated and the challenge properly identified – be it in processes, people, or systems – to inform future strategies on how to improve the business.

Bonheim says, “When we get a positive review everyone at Zinia celebrates, and when we get a negative one, we see it as an opportunity to learn. It is difficult not to take a negative review personally at Zinia because every staff member is so passionate about customer service. However, we know we are doing something right when 97% of our customers rate us a 4 out of 5 and above for service excellence.”

Creating a positive service culture internally through internal communication initiatives and leading by example is essential. After all, if your company members don’t believe in what you are doing you will struggle to implement any strategy within the company.

Digitise appropriately

Another strategic decision that paid off for Zinia was investing in a digitization strategy in 2018 that carefully considered which key business processes could be automated to support, manage, and sustain the businesses growth.

Automation has an incredible capacity to drive efficiencies and ensure that customer service is not compromised by lightening some of the manual administrative load. Investments in IT systems, customer engagement and ticketing, productivity monitoring and more, allowed Zinia to remain strong during 2020 when other businesses struggled.

The leader’s investment in an IT managed services platform known as ZMS allowed them to virtually manage their customer’s IT and network environments; improve efficiency and productivity of their own internal resources; proactively service their customers and minimise their downtime.

Effective digitisation has the benefit of allowing a company to be flexible and pivot according to challenges, big or small, that they may face. During a crisis situation like the pandemic, a solid digital infrastructure allows for remote working when needed, providing everything that the employee needs – internet, access to business systems, telephony and so on – so they can work productively.

Any good business strategy should focus on implementing the systems and controls necessary for the company to scale and provide the flexibility to react quickly. In Zinia’s case, their combination of systems and entrepreneurial flair allowed their team to quickly investigate the implications and opportunities within the crises when international rumours of a lockdown first began.

This resulted in the company being ready for lockdown with remote working solutions that included hosted VoIP (Voice over IP) PBX and custom productivity tools that could be delivered virtually. These solutions answered a very real business need in the market: How to manage employee’s remote activities and identify operational inefficiencies, productivity trends and prevent any IT security risks of remote working.

Embracing a digital way of interacting includes benefits such as increased sales activity and output of work, reduced travelling costs, reduced time spent travelling, reduced printing costs and so on.

Using these business strategies above can combat downturns in the economy, provide consistent feedback on business health and help clients trust organisations that deliver value in today’s world. Creativity and innovation are key to running any business, but especially in rapidly changing climates, they can make or break your success.

Businesses with strong growth strategies, forward-thinking decision-makers and positive workplace culture are emerging from the pandemic stronger than ever. Whilst many will agree that a fully work from home approach is not sustainable, with the correct strategy and investment in infrastructure we can effectively marry in office and work from home scenarios and create more resilient companies, with leaner operating models and more positive culture that recognise and support the human element of successful businesses.

Source: Supermarket & Retailer

The opposition Democratic Alliance has tabled its Ease of Doing Business Bill which is aimed at cutting and reducing red tape associated with doing business in South Africa.

The private member’s bill specifically aims to deal Regulatory Impact Assessments (RIA) and the impact and cost that new regulations will have on the economy.

“Following a study into the lack of understanding of the full cost imposed by regulatory measures and the impact thereof on the economy, the South African cabinet in 2007 decided that a need exists for the consistent assessment of the socio-economic impact of regulatory measures.

“The presidency consequently issued guidelines on the conducting of Regulatory Impact Assessments in 2012, which guidelines provided for a Central Regulatory Impact Assessment Unit to be housed in cabinet under the deputy president in order to coordinate the development of Regulatory Impact Assessments.

“However, no clear compulsory measures were provided,” the DA said.

Why these measures are needed

Assessing the impact of regulatory measures, from policy through to delegated legislation, before a final decision is made to implement that regulation will improve the effectiveness, efficiency and impact of government interventions, the DA said.

It said that conducting an evaluation of regulatory measures allows:

  • The integration of multiple policy objectives and ensuring linkages of policies such as industry, competition, trade, SMME and B-BBEE, thus promoting early coordination of policies;
  • The enhancement of competitiveness by reducing regulatory burdens;
  • The increase of transparency and consultation when developing regulatory measures;
  • The increased involvement and accountability of decision-makers at the highest political levels when developing regulatory measures; and
  • A tool for policy monitoring and an evaluation benchmark for monitoring and evaluation processes although it is not synonymous with programme/project monitoring and evaluation.

“Specifically for developing countries red tape impact assessments have the potential to contribute to poverty alleviation by reducing business entry costs and creating a regulatory environment that is friendly to small businesses, thus driving economic growth,” it said.

It added that a number of countries including the United States, the Czech Republic, Republic of Korea and Mexico have similar rules in place.

“It is necessary for South Africa to entrench this duty in legislation as it allows for certainty, uniformity and the establishment of a central RIA unit.

“Legislation also allows for the involvement of parliamentary oversight over this important function.”

The DA said that the draft Bill provides for:

  • The establishment of a central administrative unit to manage the RIA process. It also provides for the fiduciary duties, functions, powers and reporting duties of the RIA unit. One of the functions of this unit will be to provide for assistance to businesses in overcoming red tape;
  • The evaluation of new regulatory measures. In this regard, the draft Bill places responsibilities on ministers, members of Parliament, parliamentary committees and self-regulatory bodies when developing regulatory measures. It also provides for the mapping of such regulatory measures to determine whether a RIA is required and if so, the process to be followed. The draft bill will also provide for instances that are exempted from these processes;
  • The evaluation of existing regulatory measures by Ministers and self-regulatory bodies. It further requires the development of a plan to reduce red tape and the costs thereof in existing regulatory measure.

By Mike Anderson, founder and CEO of NSBC

As a business owner you’ve probably been asked to give a discount. How did that make you feel? Your response to that request is critical to the sustainability of your business – as well as to your confidence.

Because after all, you’re either worth the price you’re asking or you’re not. No discussion. This may sound harsh, but if you don’t believe you are worth it why do you expect your clients to believe it?

Reasons to stop discounting your pricing:

  • It’s no fun
  • It requires a time and energy you can use elsewhere
  • It creates a standard for other clients
  • You’re not getting paid what you’re worth
  • It can lower confidence in your business

Once you’ve made the decision not to discount your prices, it will be much easier for you to simply say this in a friendly and relaxed way if you’re asked. Your mind is already made up, so the answer flows naturally.

If a prospective client is not able, or willing, to pay your prices then they probably aren’t a good fit for your business. Moving on from people who are not a match allows you to create space for clients who are willing and able to purchase from your business.

There will always be someone offering something similar to your offerings for the absolute lowest price. I hope you don’t aim to be that business.

The key is to focus on the value your services and products deliver, not what they cost. People who truly understand the benefits they will receive when they buy from your business will accept the prices you have set because they understand the value they are going to get.

If negotiating is the norm in your business, there is still a way to be true to the value your business delivers without discounting. First, get clear about the total value of the offering. Then if you choose to, you can reduce the amount you deliver, along with the price, which means you are not discounting.

Another way to avoid discounting when negotiating is to stick to your original price and add a one-time, additional bonus for new clients.

While you’re thinking about eliminating discounting, please consider increasing your prices. Seriously, when is the last time you raised your prices? And when you did, what was the percentage of the increase? If it’s been awhile since you raised your prices, it’s probably time.

It’s natural that your expertise expands and deepens over time so why shouldn’t your pricing reflect that. Whether or not you decide to increase your pricing, at least be willing to stand firm on your current pricing and don’t discount.

Think about it: you’ll save time and energy if you stick to your pricing; you will feel confident about the value you deliver to your clients; and be more profitable.

So make the decision today that discounting your prices is not part of your business philosophy. Focus on the value your business creates for your clients and watch your business grow.

 

Disruption is an inescapable and growing threat across industries in South Africa. Accenture’s (NYSE: ACN) 2020 Innovation Maturity Index shows that the majority of South African companies are vulnerable. That’s because they are playing it safe. It’s risky. The winners are innovating!

As the success of digital giants like Netflix, Google and Amazon illustrate, innovation is the source of the disruption. It is also the antidote to being disrupted. Accenture’s research bears this out. The companies that are beating disruption, just 7 percent of South African companies compared to 14 percent of companies globally, are innovating, using digital technologies to grow and reshape their core businesses into new businesses.

As part of its Innovation Maturity Index study, Accenture conducted interviews with 100 South African C-suite executives from 14 industries to understand how their businesses are preparing for, and are positioned to deal with disruption. Their responses are cause for concern:

  • 75% expect their industry to be disrupted by new innovations in the next three years, especially from new competitors and technologies.
  • 50% say they are not prepared for disruption.
  • The research indicates that all industries are facing disruption, but 85% (versus 70% of companies globally) of South African companies are highly susceptible to future disruption.

Why is innovation so important in South Africa right now?

“South Africa is facing enormous challenges, including high unemployment, low skills levels and declining productivity and competitiveness. To stimulate economic growth, it needs to address fundamentals like improving infrastructure, healthcare, education, and broadband reach and costs. Rapid advances in digital technologies offer both business and government a way to rapidly address key issues, introducing efficiencies and new business models, and opening up immense opportunities for value creation,” says Vukani Mngxati, CEO of Accenture in Africa. “But unleashing that value requires a strong innovation capability.”

“In South Africa, and globally, the gap between companies on the winning side of innovation and those being disrupted by it is growing,” says Rory Moore, Innovation Lead for Accenture in South Africa.

“When companies are in the middle of disruption, they typically make cautious moves, focussing their energies and resources on the core business that generates most income and profits. Unfortunately, as disruption escalates and business growth begins to moderate, companies that have not kept pace with change – by, for example, adopting new technologies to increase efficiencies and business agility, innovate and enter new markets – find themselves ill-equipped to compete. For them, the economic opportunity is often visible but unreachable; it cannot be attained with their existing business models or capabilities.

“Companies that aim to drive growth and thrive in the digital era have much to learn from the disruptors – the high-growth companies that are on the winning side of disruptors.

What do Innovation Champions do differently?

“Companies that thrive in the age of disruption actively innovate. They have, and are investing in innovation aggressively. And they take a focussed and decisive approach to innovation: it is change-oriented, outcome led and disruption-minded,” explains Yusof Seedat, Accenture Head: Global Geographies Research, Growth and Strategy.

These companies build deliberate innovation structures and they embed innovation in their everyday business by adopting seven innovation practices – they are hyper relevant, network-powered, technology-propelled, asset-smart, inclusive, talent rich and data-driven.

“Of these practices, becoming data driven is the alpha trend among Innovation Champions,” notes Seedat. “It powers a ‘wise pivot’, enabling these companies nurture and grow their core while also growing and scaling new business.”

“Playing it safe could cost companies in South Africa everything,” says Mngxati. “Companies must innovate, adopting new technologies and approaches to strengthen their core and pivot to the new if they hope to hold their position in a disrupted market. Taking the first steps now can help them build a foundation that will enable them to grow, compete and thrive in a digital era.”

By Phillip Inman for The Guardian

The coronavirus could cost the global economy more than $1tn in lost output if it turns into a pandemic, according to a leading economic forecaster.

Oxford Economics warned that the spread of the virus to regions outside Asia would knock 1.3% off global growth this year, the equivalent of $1.1tn in lost income.

The consultancy said its model of the global economy showed the virus was already having a “chilling effect” as factory closures in China spilled over to neighbouring countries and major companies struggled to source components and finished goods from the far east.

Apple told investors earlier this week that it would fail to meet its quarterly revenue target because of the “temporarily constrained” supply of iPhones and a dramatic drop in Chinese spending during the virus crisis.

Carmaker Jaguar Land Rover, adding its voice to a chorus of companies complaining about supply problems, said it could run out of car parts at its British factories by the end of next week if the coronavirus continued to prevent parts arriving from China.

Oxford Economics said it expected China’s GDP growth to fall from 6% last year to 5.4% in 2020 following the spread of the virus so far. But if it spreads more widely in Asia, world GDP would fall by $400bn in 2020, or 0.5%.

If the virus spreads beyond Asia and becomes a global pandemic, world GDP would drop $1.1tn, or 1.3% compared to the current projection. A $1.1tn decline would be the same as losing the entire annual output of Indonesia, the world’s 16th largest economy.

“Our scenarios see world GDP hit as a result of declines in discretionary consumption and travel and tourism, with some knock-on financial market effects and weaker investment,” it said.

Rival consultancy Capital Economics said the situation in China was still developing and it remained unclear how long before the quarantine rules across much of China’s central belt would lead to mass job layoffs and wage cuts becoming more widespread.

It said 85% of larger stock market-listed firms had enough funds to meet their liabilities and wage bills formore than six months without any further revenue.

But thousands of small and medium-sized businesses, which are responsible for half of urban jobs, “may not heed government orders not to shed jobs”.

A survey of 1,000 SMEs conducted by two Chinese universities found that unless conditions improved, one-third of the firms would run out of cash within a month, the consultancy said.

Another survey of 700 companies found that 40% of private firms would run out of cash within three months.

The firm’s Asia analyst, Julian Evans Pritchard, said: “Our best guess is that there is still a window of another week or so during which, if economic activity rebounds, the bulk of employees including at vulnerable SMEs would probably keep their jobs.

“And with large-scale layoffs avoided, consumer spending would bounce back quickly due to pent-up demand, which in turn would help the self-employed and family-run businesses to recoup much of their recent loss of income.

“But with each day that the disruption drags on, the risk of a protracted slump in output rises. If activity is not clearly rebounding by the end of next week, we will revisit our annual growth forecasts.

Oxford Economics said it still expected the impact of the virus to be limited to China and have a significant, but short-term impact, bringing world GDP growth just 0.2% lower than January at 2.3%.

But a pandemic would cause a deeper and more profound shock over the next six months, possibly equal to a $1.1tn loss, followed by a recovery that would make up some of the ground lost earlier in the year.

Is this the end of SAA?

By Jeanine Walker for SA Promo Magazine

“The end of the line is coming soon,” economist Mike Schussler told the Sunday Times over the weekend.

“We are in a deep crisis, we cannot save every state owned entity (SOE) and I think at this point in time Eskom is much more important than SAA”

His comments come at a time when SAA requested another R4 billion from the government in an attempt to keep the struggling airline afloat. BusinessTech reports the airline continues to operate at a loss and has a R3.5-billion short-term loan, which will be depleted at the end of this month (June 2019), along with a long-term R9.2-billion loan.

SAA board member Martin Kingston is quoted as saying that the board was worried about the state of the economy and how it may impact the government’s decision to bail out the airline.

Schussler says the airline is “indebted to the nth degree”, and that it probably wouldn’t survive.

Meanwhile labour union Solidarity says SAA needs urgent, radical intervention from outside. Responding to the resignation of SAA CEO, Vuyani Jarana, last week, Connie Mulder, head of Solidarity’s Research Institute says since President Cyril Ramaphosa’s election a spirit of excitement prevailed about a new beginning. “However, it now seems as if the faces on the pictures may have changed but the facts on the ground have not. Mr Jarana’s resignation leaves Solidarity with no choice but to update its court papers for business rescue, making a final end to the cadre merry-go-round at the SAA.”

SAA ‘is unsalvageable’

He says he finds its extremely disconcerting that in his letter of resignation Mr Jarana cites all the challenges Solidarity had highlighted in 2018 as the reasons for the airline’s failure. “This is proof that while the airline is state-owned it is unsalvageable, regardless of who is at its helm. In 2018 Solidarity reached an agreement with Mr Jarana in terms of which he would give us regular feedback on progress being made with the turnaround strategy. It is now clear to us that this strategy is not going to be implemented for as long as the SAA is owned by the state,” Mulder added.

The SAA’s status as a going concern is still in jeopardy, and it would appear as if little progress has been made as far the implementation of the turnaround strategy is concerned.

“To give a new CEO another chance, yet again, will be irresponsible given the history of the SAA,” Mulder added.

Solidarity considers the SAA business rescue application to be a precedent-creating case of vital importance, not only for the SAA, but also for taking back other, bigger state-owned enterprises from the hands of the state.

“To sit back now and let the SAA continue with another bailout and a new face will be akin to treating a patient who needs heart bypass surgery with a Panado. The SAA and other state-owned enterprises need radical, external intervention, and Solidarity will provide it,” Mulder concluded.

When Jarana resigned he said he would vacate the post on 31 August. However, the Sunday Times reported that he would now vacate his position immediately and would be succeeded by Zukisa “Zuks” Ramasia as acting CEO of SAA.

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My Office News Ⓒ 2017 - Designed by A Collective


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