Starting a business, or maintaining the success of one’s business, in South Africa requires not only hard work and discipline, but viable strategies too. While there are numerous ones to analyse, this article focuses on five growth strategy guidelines. These represent simple yet important keys which aid in fostering sustainable growth and long term success.
1. Be fully persuaded
One of the key forces in optimising the growth of your business is building something you believe in. Produce work or products you strongly vouch for, which will have your personal stamp of approval on them. In the sentiments embodied by Steve Jobs, he aptly demonstrated the importance of being passionate about your product, subscribing to uncompromising excellence and exercising pride in one’s industry or craft. This unstinting belief in the business will sustain the entrepreneur in all seasons of business, especially amidst so-called difficult and wintery seasons.
2. Be distinctive as a brand
Your business, like anything in a competitive sphere, must stand out uniquely in the SA market. Never aim to simply fit into the ‘status quo’ of your existing industry, because your enterprise will be diluted among other service providers. This is totally counterproductive to letting your primary market know why they should come to you versus your industry competitors. Finally, your individuality, which is underpinned by your USPs, must be adequately conveyed in your brand communication so that your target audiences are well informed.
3. Be innovative in approach
An important strategy is to be observant and responsive when copycats emerge. This is a strong possibility given the size of the SA small business sector in particular. In order to retain your market share and facilitate sustainable growth, one has to be highly innovative and adaptable in a dynamic market. This includes making changes to develop or maintain one’s competitive advantage in the face of varying consumer and market trends. This may not only be internal, but may call for creative moves such as establishing synergetic partnerships that will help further the business.
4. Manage financial reserves
Finances will always be the one area that tests every business and entrepreneur. Many a business will rise or fall on the owner’s ability to manage money matters – with a view of maintaining a reserve. This speaks not only of cash flow per say, but of a contingency deposit being built that can be drawn on in times of desperate emergency (such as an unpredictable case of bad debt for instance).
5. Optimising spending
Look at every opportunity to save costs. Restrict the desire to purchase unnecessarily expensive furniture or fancy offices while there are so many essential priorities to attend to. Look at resourceful ways of getting what your company needs at a fraction of the cost. Evaluate on a weekly basis the expenditure of the company and constantly look at ways and means of streamlining such.
These are five business strategy guidelines that enterprises can adopt in order to succeed in the SA economy. Keep an eye out for more great articles and small business insight in this series.
Proudly brought to you by the National Small Business Chamber (NSBC).