SMEs play a significant role in the South African economy. According to an International Finance Corporation report, it is estimated that SMEs employ 50-60% of the workforce and contribute 34% of the GDP. By supporting these businesses, we can encourage aspiring entrepreneurs to invest in their business ideas and we can continue to build our economy. But how can we be champions for small businesses?
1. Share the love
If you visit a local small business that gives you outstanding service share it with your circle of influence. This can be either by word of mouth or through social media platforms.
2. Write a review
Did you have a fantastic experience at your local stationery shop or florist? Write a review. Reviews help businesses to rank higher in Google searches and encourages the small business owner to carry on if they had some doubts about what they were doing.
3. Tell the local media
Is your favourite small business giving back to the community in a meaningful way? Let your local radio station or newspaper know. Journalists are always on the lookout for positive news stories.
A few ways to champion and be a champion small businesses
These are a few ways you can champion small businesses in your area. But what if you are a small business owner, how can you be a champion in your area?
1. Be consistent
If you say something in your business but behave in the completely opposite manner you will quickly lose the trust and support of your employees and customers. It is important that at every touchpoint of your business you share a consistent message.
2. Be authentic
Everyone likes to hear how you achieved success in your business. Use your smartphone to create content that tells the story of your business and builds your brand’s persona.
3. Be charitable
As you have built your business over time, there must have been many people who helped with advice and there were lessons you learned along the way. Carry on the legacy of helping others by mentoring small business owners who are just starting. By building others up, we create an environment of positivity and growth.
4. Be contactable
You don’t have to be contactable 24/7 unless that is part of the offering you have. But during office hours ensure you answer your phone or get back to the customer who called. If they connected with you over a public holiday or weekend, ensure you get back to them on the first work day after the holiday. How you keep in contact with your customer reflects on how you like to do business.
By building these four aspects into your business, you will grow from strength to strength and contribute positively to a thriving local economy.
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