Work cleverer, not harder
My teachers taught me to always concentrate on two aspects in small business management: how to sell more (or to increase the turnover) and how to save costs.
Today I would like to give small business entrepreneurs a few tips on how to work cleverer (not harder) to let their enterprises grow.
* Learn to delegate
A friend in the Free State taught me that no businessman will become wealthy if he does everything in the business himself. As organisations grow, the duties of management also become more complex. The owner-manager will have to realise that he will not be able to do everything himself anymore and that he must definitely learn to delegate less important work to subordinates.
Delegating is the key to effectiveness and must be applied to the benefit of all. The owner will have to learn how to delegate so that he can focus on the entity’s bigger and more complex issues.
* Make your clients your “sales agents”
Client references are one of the best and most effective ways to gain access to new clients and therefore sources of income. Many business entities have used a “refer-a-friend-campaign” where a client gets discount or specific benefits for every friend referred. If the current clients are satisfied and passionate about your products and/or services, they will recommend your enterprise with the greatest of pleasure.
* Develop new products
Innovative enterprises understand that they must continuously develop new products and services to be able to grow.
The leadership of all successful enterprises understands the strategic necessity of new products and therefore even small entities do research and development.
We live in times where change is the order of the day – ditto clients’ needs. The successful enterprise will take note of these needs.
* Penetrate new markets
The American government has been pleading for a long time that the country’s small entities should increase their market share in world markets, and they set a target that this sector must double its exports in 2014.
It would seem that one of their biggest challenges is communication with the import countries.
South Africa is in a unique position in Africa and cannot allow that America get the edge on the country regarding knowledge of Africa’s selling culture, marketing and client needs.
* Automatise economically
If too much of an entrepreneur’s time is spent on tasks that can be automatised, it is perhaps worth the effort to find out if there is not one or other technological solution.
Technology can help to improve effectiveness and even to expand activities. However, in order to use technology maximally, there must be a balance between the technological needs and the application thereof. In other words, do not invest in technology if the investment is not going to ensure a good return.
* Prof Tommy du Plessis is the director of the Potchefstroom Business School (PBS) of the North-West University into which the Advice Bureau for Small Business Enterprises (ABSB) is incorporated.