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What not to do in a small business

What not to do in a small business

We are now nearing our quiet time in St Francis Bay. And ad it gets quieter more and more people stop spending money.

I would hesitate to say that there is doom and gloom with our countries politics and financial situation. This does not bode well for us.

Do not cut advertising

I was chatting to a friend of mine who runs a restaurant and has had a very few quiet days, as has everyone else. She said that she will have to cut her advertising budget completely. She has nothing left to cut down on. She has cut back on staff, she cannot cancel internet connectivity or telephone as she needs these to operate with. She cannot cut down on product or else she has nothing to sell. Rent won’t go down, only up. “So what is next,” she said. All I have left is advertising.

Now this is the last thing that you want to cut, especially in quiet times. I, myself have been in the same position quite a few times in my career.

What is the answer? Find just one advertising medium that will work for you and stick with that. You can get away with as little as R350 per month. My preference is social media. Align yourself with someone that is much bigger than you that can help get your message out to a much greater audience. You can easily find R350 somewhere.

Shop around

Don’t stick with your same suppliers because that is what you know. Shop around and get the best possible price. Another friend of mine told me that they got a consultant to help them with their food business. The amount of money that they managed to save by shopping around was enormous. This also helps in keeping your prices competitive.

Don’t get discouraged

Running a company isn’t a goal — it’s a long, winding road. Enjoy the process! You will have ups, and you will have downs — possibly in the same week or even day. You will gain amazing clients and lose others for reasons fair and unfair. That’s all part of having a business. It used to really upset me when I lost a client but now I have gotten used to the idea and know that as I lose one I will gain another or even two.

I’ve yet to encounter a single business owner who’s reached some grand, stable plateau beyond failure, disappointment and doubt. We all experience it. Instead of discouragement, focus on becoming more resilient, on learning how to handle stress productively.

Don’t try and do everything yourself

There is no need to employ extra staff to help. Use your existing staff, delegate and teach. You have the time in quiet months. Encourage them to come up with new ideas. Getting them involved will give them a sense of belonging and worthiness which will increase their productivity. It’s a win win situation.

Don’t stop evolving.

Your strategy, your marketing plan, your target market – nothing is set in stone. The world is changing more and more rapidly each day. Your industry will likely experience a shift, whether slight or monumental, at some point. As a small business, you are at a disadvantage, because your resources are a lot more limited. But you have a priceless advantage in ability to change course and adapt far quicker than a larger organization. I have had to change my tac many a times due to competition, relocating and so forth.

The best way to remain relevant is keeping your eyes open for changing tides, your mind open to new ideas and staying flexible.

And, of course, don’t be too afraid of making your own mistakes! See mistakes as successes. Your entire thinking and attitude will influence your business and its outcome.

Wishing you all the best for the Winter season.
Mickey Freund

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