“How to advertise your business during the first few months after starting?” is a question that many new business owners and entrepreneurs are seeking an answer for.
Of course they ask the question with good reason. In fact, without advertising your business, your prospective customers won’t know anything about your business. And, no business can start or grow without customers.
It’s usually a messy process, starting your own business…
Almost everyone that wants start a business needs money. Also, most of us don’t have enough money to cover all the costs of a business start-up. Therefore, the obvious answer is to borrow money from a bank or other funding agencies. But will you qualify for a business loan? And even more, what should you do to qualify?
How to qualify for a business loan
The thing is with a business loan (and any other loan for that matter) is that the loaners want their money back after a certain time. They will borrow money to lenders that they think are capable to pay it back. As a result, the lender must provide reasonable proof that the business will be viable and that he/she has enough collateral to cover the loan amount. The lenders also want to see that you are able to run a business and that you are passionate about your business idea.
It will be of great help if you can prepare for your business loan application.
Five steps to help you qualify for a small-business loan
Funding agencies in South Africa play an important role by helping to make previously disadvantaged South Africans business owners.
Indeed, South Africa is a country where the official unemployment rate was around 30% in the second quarter of 2019 (Trading Economies). Even more, Business Tech recently reported that the unemployment rate for young South Africans with a matric was 55% in first quarter of 2019 – rising to 58.4% for those with less than a matric.
The solution for these people is to start their own businesses. And, if they can get funded by the government, even better!
So, for those who qualify – here are some of the most important (government) funding agencies in South Africa:
A SWOT analysis is seemingly done during most corporate strategic planning sessions. To that end it’s not done without good reason. Indeed, using SWOT is simple, powerful and proven to be effective.
What is a SWOT analysis?
A SWOT analysis is a technique specifically designed to help with the identification of suitable business strategies for an organization to follow. It is a structured approach to evaluating the strategic position of an organization. Hence it is done by identifying its strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats.
Most of us won’t recognize an innovative person in a group of people. Indeed, maybe you’ve worked for years alongside an innovative colleague without noticing him. Even more, you’re so used to his behavior and mannerisms that you have tagged him as “odd”, but manageable.
For that reason you have all along squandered an opportunity to lift your company out of mediocrity into competitiveness… Consequently, it’s very regressive indeed. But let’s have a look at innovative persons, how to recognize them, how to utilize them and how to keep them.
However, first we need to understand what innovation is…
Back in the old days, almost every business of note had an office with a receptionist. Nowadays, almost every business has a website with a homepage. A website homepage serves the same function as a traditional receptionist at the office of a physical business.
Indeed, the duties of a receptionist are, according to Wikipedia, answering visitors’ inquiries about a company and its products or services, directing visitors to their destinations, sorting and handing out mail, answering incoming calls on multi-line telephones. Also, importantly, is a receptionist often the first business contact a person will meet at any organization.
So, most first (and lasting) impressions about a business are made at its reception desk. It may well be that a good receptionist adds value to the company’s brand. Or that a bad experience at reception may hurt it…
All right, back to the 21st century: How good a receptionist is your website homepage?
Online business models have evolved and have grown with advances in digital technology. Indeed, the digital platform is giving everyone with internet access the opportunity to earn extra money or even to become very rich.
Let’s have a look at some of the established online business models to see how they fare in you quest to becoming a millionaire…
At this time, entrepreneurs and business owners down here in South Africa are doing business during bad times. Indeed, very bad times. South Africa boasts now an official unemployment rate of 29%, the highest since 2008 (FIN24). Replacing the stats with souls, the number of people desperately looking for jobs in South Africa is almost seven million. Apart from losing business because people can’t afford shopping anymore, SMEs may be burdened with higher levels of bad debt.
Doing business during these times usually (and unfortunately) results in many businesses retrenching their workers. Therefore, workers here in South Africa typically react violently and destructively to any austerity measures that are implemented. As a result, mass industrial actions, mainly organized by the government aligned labor unions, cause havoc for both businesses and the community. In fact, unions are under pressure to deliver for members in a brutal employment market, says Ciaran Ryan of Money Web.
So, the jobless people, not having money, still needs food, clothes and shelter – just to live. For that reason, many more rely on social grants. Sadly, some of them will resort to crime – mainly just to survive…
Doing business in South Africa now is doing business during bad times. However, businesses also have a right to survive!
The humble hashtag (#something?) on the net is to us what a fresh breeze is for a dog seeking love. Just as he is poking his wet nose in the wind seeking, we’re adding #tags before words – searching for information and order in the net. Hopefully, the dog has found the information he needed to (gracefully) complete his mission… But let me rather stick with us.
Everything nowadays is getting disrupted of affected by the digital revolution. Indeed, even the interactive and popular web 2.0 has probably reached its full potential. Web 3.0, the semantic web, is quickly gaining traction in the virtual world. Techopedia defines the semantic web as a mesh of data that are associated in such a way that they can easily be processed by machines instead of human operators. Indeed, since the first hashtag (#) was conceived back in 2007 by Chris Messina, a Twitter user, we started to use the semantic web (web 3.0) seriously. So, why do we like using a hashtag? Because it’s simple and effective!
The original aim of Chris Messina was to introduce hashtags to help users efficiently retrieve information on Twitter 1. As a result, hash-tagging is a simple and convenient way for users to classify and categorize their own tweets. Indeed, such a hashtag within a tweet can simply be specified by adding a hash – ‘#’ – followed by the tag itself 2 .
Nevertheless, it is important for business owners to take hashtags and their effects seriously. Because hashtags represent a big opportunity for brands to inform content creation strategies, attract new followers, and be a part of relevant conversations, says Brent Csutoras in INC. That’s not all – a previous study has indicated that 75% of social media users use hashtags.
Let’s have a look how the humble hashtag can be used.
Are you adopting service marketing strategies? If not, now is the time…
Consumer markets are more turbulent and unpredictable than a couple decades ago. Indeed, as Matthew Meacham and others reflected recently: “Twenty years ago, competition in the consumer products industry looked like professional tennis. You faced opponents with business models that were similar to yours. You had been playing against them for years. It was tough but predictable and manageable”.
But now, it’s different. After all, it seems that everything is disrupted. Advances in digital technology has changed the playing field and rules in consumer markets. As a result, most products can easily be copied and sold anytime and everywhere at ridiculous low prices. How on earth can SMEs differentiate themselves with same-old products and copycat competitors? The answer is right in front of their eyes – their customers.
The customers in the market have remained mainly the same. In spite of having more choices and access to multiple channels, they still have the same needs and wants. SMEs need to convince their customers that they are the best firm to do business with. So, if SMEs want to steady their ships to calmer waters, they need to pay much more attention to serving their customers better.
Indeed, they can be on course to achieve a sustainable competitive advantage.
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