Dynamics of a family business

Not many of us can imagine working with our family and then going home with them as well. The dynamics of a family business isn’t for all but it can also be special and successful if done right. Family businesses are great examples of the passing of knowledge down through generations and are generally unique in their business offerings and have an authenticity that corporate businesses and franchises simply can’t replicate.

Multi-generational

With the technology and health advancements of today, family businesses aren’t being passed on as much as they are being expanded. Family businesses, these days, are multi-generational and it’s both a great and challenging thing.

Having the older generation still working and being an active part of the family business is a symbol of consistent business values and a following of an original and life-time client base having every reason to stay invested and supportive of this business. It proves a problem, however, when younger generations come in and expect to be handed the keys and take over with new business advancement ideas that Grandpa Joe doesn’t like or understand.

But, having the “original” owners (or those closest to the original start-up business) makes it easy to stay true to the history of the business and see that the original visions and principles are carried through. After all, the history is part of what makes family businesses different.

Outside insight

A good investment for family businesses is to bring in outside insight to objectively monitor and be honestly critical about the operations of the business. It’s already extremely difficult to not have bias against your own business but even more so as a family business owner. Even though nothing should be taken personally (it’s just business, after all), you don’t want to be the creator of tension in the workplace that will just be transferred to your personal and home life.

The dynamics of a family business is to “keep it in the family” but don’t be blind to failures and find someone who can provide constructive criticism and bring the business back to reality when family politics go a little too far.

Boundaries

There must be a fine line between bringing home with you to work and taking work back home with you at the end of the day in a family business. From the word go, boundaries need to be set on what is acceptable in the workplace and what is inappropriate “work talk” for home.

In the family business, it’s necessary to understand your role and to treat your employment as you would in any other business. Finding a balance is difficult but not impossible.  

Experience required

Just like the success of any business relies on the ability of their workforce, so too does a family-run business. Hiring on experience, qualification and capability won’t compromise the business structure or success. If family members joining the business all need to complete a performance managing skills course from Kwelanga Training – then everyone must complete it. No exceptions.

When you start compromising for your family employees just because of bloodline and feelings of family obligation, you can expect business to start suffering. Let the younger generation go out and find work experience outside of the family business. This will ready them for the position that awaits them or will help them figure out if getting into the family business is something they actually want to do or not. Forcing family into the business does not set up a generation of successors or success.

Family fun

Families mean love and support and bringing those concepts into the family business allows for new memories and fun times together. The business itself may not be unique to the market but the family dynamic, which is unique to each family, is something special. Stay authentic in who you are as a family and translate that into your work life. This doesn’t mean shouting across the room as you would across the house, but keeping it comfortable and playful like it would be at home.

Customers are looking for a distinctive consumer experience and walking into a family owned and run store, where generations of traditions are alive, makes them feel at home and part of the family. How’s that for a distinctive experience?

Importance of security when selling high-value items

importance-of-security-when-selling-high-value-items

Have you ever opened up your company in the morning only to find shattered glass and a broken down door? This is proceeded by finding that most of your inventory has been stolen. If not, there’s a chance it will still happen to you. Crime is a very real factor for everyone living in South Africa, and when it comes to your company, you need to make sure everything is safe and secure.

Having your inventory stolen doesn’t just mean you need to deal with the police force and insurance companies. In extreme cases, the loss may be too much for you business to bear and could lead to it closing down. It doesn’t matter where your business is located – from a high-rise office complex to a shopping mall – any place can be broken into and robbed. If you haven’t thought about security for your company, now is the time.

Here are a few reasons why security is important and how you can protect your business.

Camera surveillance

One of the best ways to make sure your company is safe is by installing cameras all over the office or store. While some places use dummy cameras – those that don’t work and are empty shells – this isn’t recommended at all. A working camera system allows you to record everything that is happening. And if your place of business is broken into, you’ll have video footage of the perpetrators, what they stole, and how they got in.

Setting up a camera surveillance system requires a few different pieces. You’ll need the cameras, a DVR system to record and store all of the footage, and a screen to display all of the footage. If you’re always recording, you won’t need to hire a security guard, but they are recommended for stores with high foot traffic. Be sure to also invest in decent cameras that can give you crisp, clear images. For the best results, speak to a security firm, who will be able to advise you on hardware and where cameras should be placed for optimum levels of surveillance.

Implement a turnstile or man trap

These devices aren’t just for stadiums, train stations, or to annoy customers in shopping centres. They serve a very real purpose: to control the amount of traffic in and out of a location. Certain models will only allow people with access cards into a building. Turnstiles and mantraps are a great way to automate how people enter and exit your place of business.

When selling high-value items, such as jewellery, the need to control access to your store becomes a necessity. One way to ensure this is to implement a man-trap. They are devices that have access control doors and allow you to ‘trap’ someone inside that may look to rob your store. These individuals will then be caught and need to wait for the police to arrive. Man traps and turnstiles can be bought from a variety of security companies, such as turnstar.co.za.

Metal detectors

Most retail stores and businesses will find this unnecessary, but those with high-value items should think about implementing metal detectors. These devices are able to detect metal objects that a visitor is trying to smuggle into the business, such as a firearm. If something is detected, the device will sound an alarm that will alert you and your security.

Security personnel

While security guards may not seem as fancy or high-tech as a man trap or metal detectors, they do serve a valuable purpose. Security guards are not only available immediately if there is a crisis, but are also deterrents for those wanting to rob your business.

You don’t have to employ and train security guards yourself. Instead, look at hiring a security company, which handles all of the personnel selection, training, and routine implementation themselves. The guards will also be able to handle and facilitate all of your other security measures, which means you can concentrate on running your company without any hassles.

Why marketing is important in business

question-mark-2492009_1920What is it that makes marketing such an important asset in business ventures? Why should companies focus on growing their marketing department? Product, price, place, and promotion are the four Ps of marketing. Anyone who has completed marketing courses will know this. These four Ps are why you need marketing strategies in your business today.

Sets sales

Product specifications are being marketed to a selected target audience through chosen promotional channels. This is bound to set your sales numbers on a steadily increasing route. This is the department that makes known who you are as a business, what you offer and how you can meet their needs as a potential consumer.

One mistake most companies make in the time of a recession is to cut marketing funds and efforts. Instead of cutting it off completely, rather downscale and be smarter with regards to your marketing efforts and platforms. Consumers may be spending less money during this time but they are still spending money nonetheless. Use that motivation to keep pushing your value product offers and focus more on your already-loyal consumers. You will be one of the few companies with your name still being spoken about.

Marketing makes your business known and without it, your client base would only consist of family, friends, and passers-by.

Builds brand identity and business reputation

Marketing is a platform to build your brand identity, your name is out there and people know what you’re selling, but now it’s time to get to know who you are as a business. It’s important to understand that you are people selling to people. Regardless of how huge your corporate company is, consumers are reassured by the fact that there is a human being on the other side of the line. Social media marketing and profiles is a great way for clients to get an idea of what goes on behind the scenes and can put faces to the names that sign off on their email conversations.

Marketing makes it possible for you to let clients know what your values are as a company and lets you show them how you live them out through your business and offerings. In this way, it helps build your business reputation and helps customers feel comfortable in what they are supporting by choosing to do business with you. It also gives potential customers the insight they need to make the brand switch or give your business a try.

Clever competition

In a world of competitive markets, even the marketing efforts of competitor companies can help you. Marketing is important to stay updated with where the marketplace values lie and, in turn, you can adjust and redirect your marketing strategy accordingly.

When advertising against competitors, keep it fun (not detrimental to the brand of another company) and keep it smart. Make use of the advertising slots in their Facebook and Youtube video campaigns and use their social media profiles to create a target audience segment based on their followers. All’s fair in open advertisement placement.

Channels communication

When it comes to advertising and mass media marketing, there isn’t a lot of room for two-way communication. You are directing data at your target consumer and they just have to take it in. With the rise of social media platforms, there is now the opportunity for consumers to talk back.

Making marketing inclusive means you can better understand what it is people want, need and demand. In turn, you can use this to make sure you are the company they turn to. Tell a story and start a conversation with social media marketing. Encourage comments and sharing and you will have consumers valuing your interaction and you will be gaining ideas for future campaigns and product upgrades.

Inspires innovation

Lastly, marketing is important in business because it inspires innovative thinking. Marketing is an ever-adapting department that needs to be able to manipulate all types of updatable medias and harness the power of whatever is #trending on a weekly or even daily basis. New ideas are constantly sought after to make your business stand out above the rest and bring the edge that consumers are looking for.

Marketing makes the consumers eye-line stop on your product sitting on the shelf instead of browsing over it to land on the more recognisable brands. Marketing is undeniably important in business and you don’t want to find out what your business would be like without it.

10 Ways to save your sinking business

Businesses go through many phases over their lifespan. During certain seasons the sales can go through the roof and during other periods, the sales may dip. But what happens if your business is experiencing slow sales for a long period? When the customers aren’t flocking to your business in large numbers like they used to? Your business might be sinking rapidly and you need to find ways to save it.

Find out where the problem lies

Is it poor management? Failure to implement marketing strategies? Lack of experience? Or maybe you won’t take risks? When you find out the why your business is failing you’ll be able to find solutions to help revive it back to life. You can’t implement strategies effectively if you only cure the symptoms and not the real problem.

Figure ways you can save your company:

Rebrand

In order to save your business, you may need to rebrand your company. Rebranding is great when you want to grow your business and reach a new market. The market you may want to target could be based in a specific demographic, you could want to reach more woman or a younger audience. Rebranding involves more than just changing your company slogan and logo. It also involves changing the vision and mission of the company but when you do this you need to keep your target market in mind. Will your new brand appeal to them? Will the risk pay off? Make sure your brand distinguishes you and is in line with what your company stands for.

But before you rebrand your business, make sure you first find the root cause of the problem. There’s no point spending money changing your company’s branding strategies only to find that the reason your company is performing poorly is that you offer poor service. Make sure you find the real cause of the problem first.

When should you rebrand?

If the name of the company no longer serves its purpose then it may be time to change it to something else. Or maybe the name doesn’t fit with the market you are wanting to acquire.

If your brand doesn’t stand out

The marketplace is competitive and for a business to be sustainable, it needs to be the fittest in order to survive. And a key way to help it succeed is to set it apart from the competition. Consumers need to be able to differentiate your business from the rest of the businesses in the marketplace. You can take a gamble and rebrand your company. The more you stand out, the more you’ll be memorable to your target audience.

Ask customers

Your customers are the ones taking money from their pockets in order to make use of your service or buy your product, so it would make sense to ask them for feedback. Ask them to rate your service. The feedback could help you solve problems. Do your customers feel well connected to you? Does the advertising you use to appeal to them?

Offer what your customers need

Does the product solve the customer’s problems?  You may be providing a service which customers don’t want. If the product doesn’t appeal to your clients, go back to the drawing board and find something which will cater to their needs. Because if your customers aren’t satisfied, your business won’t survive. Align your marketing strategies and product model to suit the needs of your customers.

Outdated technology and skills

We live in a world of ever evolving technology and it may be your business is using outdated software or skills. When you’re falling behind in technology, you won’t be able to keep up with the competition. If your customers are using certain social media platforms to access the competition and you don’t use those platforms, you’re in trouble and you may lose out on a huge market. Make sure you keep up to date with the latest technology so you can keep up with your customers.

Check your finances

If money is the main reason your business isn’t doing well, you may want to look at your spending habits. You may need to cut down on unnecessary spending which could be costing your company each month. You may need to bring in outside help in order to help you figure how to solve your financial problems.

Merger

You can merge with another company. When you merge with another company you can lower costs through economies of scale and also have access to their customers. A merger will require financing and you can acquire funding through corporate finance.  

When your business is experiencing failure you need to go back to the drawing board for a fresh approach. Find the reason why your business by collecting data, asking customers and looking at your expenditure. Once you’ve found the root cause you’ll be able to find the best solution to help your business.

How to start a taxi business

It is safe to say that a job is quite the rare commodity these days. Interviews are in abundance, but appointments are few and far between.

Whether you’re just entering the job market fresh from school, or circling back from a previous employment, you need a reliable and steady income to sustain yourself. But if jobs are scarce and bills are stacking, what are you supposed to do? Here’s an idea – start your own taxi service. Who knows, your fleet might be the next piece of iconography synonymous with your area.

Starting any business can pose a few challenges, but the internet is your friend. You can learn almost anything with a quick visit to your favourite search engine. In the meantime, here are a few tips to start your own taxi business and avoid some of the most complained about pitfalls.

Who will be driving?

You need to decide whether you will be driving, or whether you’ll assign someone as a driver (either a business partner or employee). If you are the one responsible for driving, you have to make sure that you have a valid driving license and a ton of free time on your hands. The more you are available to transport people, the more income you’ll generate. If you choose to assign someone else to drive, you need to check their driving license. Make sure that it hasn’t expired and look for any conditional modifiers indicated (such as vehicle class, manual or automatic drive and the necessity of glasses). Whoever you choose needs to be clued up about their surroundings, or at least in possession of a GPS. Also consult the internet about third-party insurance, especially if you are providing the vehicle they will be driving. While you’re at it, read into the process of getting your business registered and licensed.

Choose your vehicle wisely

The vehicle is the most important element of your business, as it is the direct source of your income. The vehicle you choose need not be the latest and greatest in automotive design, but it does need to be presentable and in working condition. So, your uncle’s old pickup truck just short of being written-off probably isn’t your best option. Keep in mind that your passengers need to sit comfortably and try to make provision for multiple passengers per trip. In other words, the vehicle needs to have a back seat and doors for passengers to access it. An added bonus would be to find a vehicle with moderate to low fuel consumption. You wouldn’t want all of your revenue going towards that thirsty tank. Your vehicle will be an invaluable asset, so it’s important to do your research and make the best possible decision. Consult the internet to find opportunities for machinery asset finance and weigh up all your options.

How to be a good driver

Now that your business is registered, your driver has been chosen and your vehicle has been financed, it’s time to take people places. Here are a few tips on not sucking as a chauffeur.

Speeding

Try your utmost best to stick to the speed limit. The benefits of this are twofold – firstly, you will avoid unnecessary expenses in the form of fines and secondly, your passengers will sleep soundly knowing they didn’t narrowly evade the clutches of death. Even though your passengers might not always be the most patient, it is a fair assumption that they’d rather arrive late than not arrive at all.

Conversation

Although your job will mostly consist of customer service and human interaction, your job description is not ‘therapist’. Keep the conversation light and minimal. The only thing worse than a creepy silent driver is a blabbering one. You’ll be able to gauge the level of  conversation required from the passengers as they enter your vehicle. Be friendly and professional but whatever you do, don’t rant about your ex.

Music

We all know how awkward it is when you want to have a conversation with a friend or loved one but you feel like a stranger is listening to every word. Well, this is your life now – you’re the stranger. So to avoid those cringe-worthy moments, switch on the radio and ask your passengers if there’s a specific channel they would prefer. This will instantly make them feel more comfortable (especially if their favorite song comes on). However, take note of the fine line between background music and noise pollution.

Ambience

Last but not least, put some thought into the general feel inside your vehicle. Make sure to keep it clean (yes, bin the takeout boxes) and keep the unseemly smells at bay with an air freshener. Impression management is important for a new business and nothing ruins a first impression quite like a trashed car that smells like a dumpsite.