Tag Archives: SME

Five types of marketing to invest in for your small business

As a small business owner, you know how important it is to market your business. You need to engage potential clients and retain your current ones. But it can be difficult to know exactly what type of marketing you should use to do so, especially if you are new to the world of business ownership.

If you have applied for business finance in South Africa you will need to start creating a marketing strategy from the get go. Not sure where to start? Below are the five types of marketing to invest in for your small business.

Google AdWords

Google Adwords is one of the smartest ways to use your marketing moolah. While you should try to improve your organic reach results using SEO (search engine optimisation) tactics, AdWords can certainly give you a leg up on the competition, especially when it comes to digital marketing.

Google searches are one of the top ways in which customers find your business online. Which means that spending money on an AdWords campaign is extremely effective. Be warned that AdWords is not an “autopilot” way of advertising, you will need to monitor your campaigns and make changes when necessary. While it might be costly, it is a marketing strategy that will pay off in the end.

Facebook advertising

Did you know that almost two million small businesses pay to advertise on Facebook? It is one of the most inexpensive and effective ways to reach an audience that is interested in what you have to offer. And, almost everyone uses social media these days, so your customers are guaranteed to see your adverts.

Facebook ads excel at advanced targeting, which means that you can set up the demographics of who you want to see the ads, such as certain age groups, geographic locations, online behaviours and much more. For a small business that has just taken out business financing in South Africa, the affordability of Facebook advertising makes sense. All you need is a solid headline, some good descriptive wording, an inviting image and the right link.

Printed business cards

Many entrepreneurs feel that, because the world has become so focused on digital technology, printed marketing is no longer relevant. However, this could not be further from the truth. Business cards are affordable to print and you can create a truly unique design for yours using free software or by asking a professional designer.

Not only can you give clients and customers your business card, but you can also give them to potential business partners at networking events. You will need to ensure that your card design is relevant to your company and that your details are clear and easy to see. Be creative and think out of the box, for example, if you are a small artisanal doughnut store then design round business cards that look like the doughnuts you have on offer.

Email marketing

Email marketing is still one of the most effective ways to market to clients. And, if you are using business financing in South Africa, it is an option that will suit any budget. Email marketing is relatively simple to use and there are several software options on the market.

It is effective for small businesses especially because you will be able to reach an audience who is already interested in your products or services, those who subscribed to your emails in the first place. You will need to ensure that you send these emails at the right time of day so as not to annoy people and only send to those who have opted-in to the subscription.

Google My Business

For small businesses hoping to make a mark, Google My Business is one of the best types of marketing to invest in. It is completely free and is easy to use. All you need to do is provide your up-to-date contact details and allow the system to combine all of your information such as your Google+ profile, Google Maps profile, your Google reviews and more.

Ranking your Google My Business listing is one of the most important things you can do for your business, as this will allow it to show up in Google search results when someone searches for the product or service you offer. For example, if someone searches for “pet stores Cape Town”, they will see Google My Business listings before organic search results. Having your business in these first listings is imperative to boosting any small business.

Think smart for your business

Marketing strategies are highly important for any small business, especially if you will be using your business finance in South Africa for part of your marketing budget. With the innovations of technology, there are easy and affordable marketing methods you can use for your small business, such as Google My Business, Facebook advertising and Google AdWords.

You can also go the more traditional route and print out business cards to hand out to clients and at networking events. Be sure that whatever type of marketing you use, it is relevant to your business, easy-to-use and will not break the bank.

How to own a shop

So you want to own a shop? That’s not an uncommon dream for many entrepreneurs. Nowadays the more popular option is to open an ecommerce store as this is online and easily managed remotely. However, having a brick and mortar store for your clients to visit is often a great idea and works very well in conjunction with your online presence.

 

What’s more, some entrepreneurs want to have a shop as opposed to simply having an online presence. In fact, they prefer the idea of having a space to display their goods and interact with their customers face to face. Using their ecommerce store as a secondary means to service clients outside of their area of trade. Also, if you are interested in offering niche products or running a boutique type of shop then having a brick and mortar store is better.

 

So, if owning a shop sounds like the type of entrepreneurial venture you’d want to set up then you must consider what you’ll need to run a successful store.

 

Signage and marketing

 

Without signage no-one will venture into your store. Nothing says poor quality like a bare shopfront. In fact, you could go so far as to say that your customers won’t trust you. You need to invest in an outdoor sign at the very least. Something that has your name and logo is perfect and if possible include more signage inside the store too, indicating categories. What’s more, you need to market the presence of your shop. If you are based inside a mall then see if you can place signs showing customers where to find you or have a sign board set up. You can even employ promoters to hand out flyers. And, of course, flood your social media platforms with information on how customers can find you.

 

Point-of-sale system

 

This is a must-have before you open your doors. You need to be able to process payments as working on a cash system will not only see you losing out on customers who expect to pay with their bank cards but it will also make you vulnerable to robberies. There are a variety of different point-of-sale solutions available which have been created for different type of businesses and different sized businesses. You could consider the likes of Snapscan as a payment solution too. And, you must have a cash register on site that is secure as you need to be able to store the cash you do receive and have cash available to pay for deliveries and the like.

 

Security

 

Unfortunately, you cannot be too careful. No matter what you are selling in your shop you need to make sure you are secure and safe at all times. Having visual security systems in place is ideal. If you are a part of a mall you might find they insist on you displaying a sign indicating their security is in place. The mall security will have a sophisticated security system in place. You should make sure you have open lines of communication with them and have access to the security measures. If possible you should install CCTV cameras and have a video wall controller in a private back room, where you can view exactly what the cameras are seeing. Petty theft is rife within shops and having visible cameras will deter criminals. If you happen to experience an incident then you will be able to spot the criminal by having a look at the footage. No matter your shop size you can find a CCTV solution to suit you and have a video wall controller made to fit your space.

 

Customers needs

 

You need to consider what your customers will want when they visit your shop. This means you need to pay attention to your decor, you need to have your items correctly displayed in cases or on mannequins. If you are selling clothing or fashion accessories then you need to kit out your store with mirrors and changing rooms. They will also need bags in which to pack and carry their purchases. You must make sure you have everything your customers might want to make their shopping experience easy and convenient. Have gift wrapping services available and make sure you have baskets or trolleys if your items are big. And of course, keep your shop clean.

 

There are a variety of things you need before you can open your doors for customers to visit your shop. You need to make lists and budget for everything you can think of. It’s a process of elimination and always a good idea to prepare properly.

 

What is asset finance and how can it help your SME

The first concern of any business is balancing costs and expenses alongside retention and profit – in actual fact, mere survival. Obviously, the aim is to have more of the latter and less of the former: at the very least, you want them to even out in a way that allows you at least some profit. There are many ways to help achieve this, but one important way is to consider asset finance, due to every business needing assets in the first place to at all survive.

Asset finance

In order for you to even function, a business requires assets. Assets are usually considered to be those things like equipment, cars, etc., that allow you to do the business at all. However, when starting a business, obtaining the best assets – which allows you to do the best business – can be difficult, if not impossible. After all, you’ve put a lot of money down already into the business; now you need even more to merely make it function.

Asset finance is an umbrella term about financial solutions to obtain assets without incurring too much of a penalty, if done and chosen correctly. One financial assistance site notes:

“Many businesses don’t have enough available cash to consider an outright purchase, making asset finance a necessity. Even if you can afford it, you want to put your money to good use and investing cash in assets leaves you with less working capital to finance operations or explore new growth opportunities. The flexibility of asset finance allows you to align repayments to suit your cash flow and you may be able to claim tax deductions.”

Thus, there is a way to work on obtaining the desired assets while also keeping your costs lower.

Options

But, as we noted, asset finance is an umbrella term.

For example, you get the option of leasing the asset. This is, as the name suggests, paying to use the item. At no point, of course, do you own it. There is usually no deposit, but that depends; further you are tied to a certain amount of time, since this means the lender obtains a profit from their leasing service.

The obvious advantage is that you can acquire new items that help your services quickly. You can even sometimes have the option to own the product, if you have enough money – though that’s not the point of leasing itself.

There is also “hire purchase”, which means:

“Giving you a fixed or variable rate, with this option you generally pay the VAT and an initial deposit at the start – followed by a simple, structured repayment profile designed to facilitate cash flow.”

Thus, at the end you own the asset entirely, but manage your payment in a way that makes the least impact on your cashflow.

Impact on business

As a growing business, you need to be doing all you can to keep costs low. And asset finance, and its different options and perspectives, as well as the option to acquire said assets, makes for an important consideration. Of course, if you had the money in the first place, it would be best to purchase – but that can be an option for later, when your business has grown and the assets are in place to secure a financially viable future.