How to increase your business resilience

How to increase your business resilience

Reading Time: 2 minutes

There’s a very good chance that you’ve been talking about resilience in and around your business and there is a good reason why. In a 2016 survey, Control Risks explained business resilience as “an organization being able to identify, analyze, and implement planning to be better able to recover or ‘bounce back’ from disruptive events”.

Many business and managerial practices have proven that a focus on resilience is increasingly important to ‘bounce back from disruptive events’, such as a global pandemic. In this article we share insight on the following:

  • What is resilience?
  • How do you manage and measure it?
  • How do you build a more resilient business?

 

Related: Increasing Your Business’s Resilience to Come Back Stronger

 

What is resilience?

Business resilience can be defined as an organization’s ability to predict, plan, react, and adjust to changes and disruptions in the business environment. If a company can effectively develop its resilience, it can eventually secure its ability to accomplish its goals and objectives, regardless of the unpredictable events and changes taking place.

 

How do you manage and measure resilience?

Traditional management methods have some significant drawbacks that make it difficult to assess and achieve resilience:

  • Many conventional companies have been designed to increase shareholder value from dividends and share value. Very few organizations really aim to calculate resilience beyond particular material threats.
  • Companies and shareholders also concentrate on optimizing their short-term returns. However, resilience requires a multi-time perspective: to forgo a certain amount of productivity or success now for the sake of more sustained performance in the future.
  • Businesses have focused primarily on designing and implementing stable strategies that perform well when the causal relationship is simple, predictable, and unchanging. Resilience deals with what is uncertain, changeable, unpredictable – which although can have serious implications.

Managing resilience requires more than just coming up with new ideas or resources to apply to today’s approaches. It needs a different business model – one that embraces complexity, uncertainty, interdependence, systems thinking, and a multi-time scale perspective.

 

Related: How to write the perfect business plan

 

How do you build a more resilient business?

There are 3 major areas through which resilience can be enhanced:

Leadership and strategy – Building a resilience vision starts with the identification and awareness of vulnerabilities and an overview of the possible effects of these vulnerabilities on the business.

Operations – Operational resilience can be improved by recognizing possible crises that might affect the business and rating these threats against the effect they will have and then implementing a risk reduction and management plan.

People – Employees and their expertise are essential to the organization’s resilience. Investing in the workforce is the only path forward. Ability levels, turnover of workers, work satisfaction, training, and learning opportunities should be closely controlled. Ensuring that people are involved in the change program, and keeping them motivated, will yield rewards for every business.

 

Let’s not forget, many businesses already take on some form of risk management but mostly to understand the effects of specific, known risks. Your business’s resilience should also be to deal with unknown risks, be able to adapt and change any external stress, and possibly turn it into an opportunity to succeed.

5 Growth areas for your business in 2021

5 Growth areas for your business in 2021

Reading Time: 2 minutes

We all understand that growth is essential for any business. With that said, we also know that growth isn’t easy and many organizations struggle to find growth areas that work for them.

If you’re currently struggling to grow your business or are looking for new strategies, we want to inspire you. Here are our top 5 growth areas for you to incorporate into your 2021 business plan:

  1. Sales & Marketing Alignment
  2. Customer Experience
  3. Digital Transformation
  4. Data-driven Transformation
  5. Training

 

1. Sales & Marketing Alignment

If you want to see effective results, your sales and marketing teams should not be working in silos. When you align these two areas, you enable our business to increase conversion rates, generate higher revenue, and retain more customers through streamlined sales and marketing funnel.

A collaborative sales and marketing team will not only convert more leads but also generate higher quality leads too. When a strong sales team informs the marketing team on what a ‘good quality lead’ looks like, they’re far more likely to find them.

 

2. Customer Experience

You may think you understand your customers but you still have to constantly ask yourself, “How well do I really know my customer?” because, as we know, people are ever-changing.

In order to retain your customers, you have to constantly put them first. You can do this by understanding what it is they enjoy about your brand, and what they don’t. Focusing on creating a memorable and positive customer experience goes beyond just making the sale. Having a follow-up journey and personalized added extras will show your customers that you value their business and will go the extra mile to keep them coming back.

 

Related: A quick guide to Bridging Finance

 

3. Digital Transformation

2020 showed us that we live in a time of a full-scale digital revolution. If it’s not online, is it really there?

The power of technology has allowed any type of business to seamlessly fit into our lives. Going digital has also made it easier for businesses to simplify and streamline their internal processes for a more efficient way of working. For example, using online tools to store your data like accounting or human resource documents can free up your time and physical space to do more.

 

4. Data-driven Transformation

The great thing about the digital age is that most of the data you need is readily available at your fingertips. However, the biggest factor that should inform any decisions you make within your business should be based on customer feedback.

Using data from sources such as your cancellation feedback, customer reviews, and even your customers’ behavioral patterns on your website to inform what changes you need to make to your products and services, will add greater value to the growth of your business than a decision made by one person.

 

Related: Gear up your business for growth

 

5. Training

Ongoing training is essential to the growth of any business and should always be a focus area year after year. Whether it’s technical training for machinery, customer service, or sales training, any form of educational improvement will spark new life into the quality of work your team pushes out. And it will show in your profits too.

By investing in your people, you’re directly investing in your business as well.

As we go into the new year, it’s important to stay one step ahead of the game and plan for success as far as possible. Use our 5 growth areas to kickstart your 2021 business projects with a bang.

Tips to boost your eCommerce sales on Cyber Monday

Tips to boost your eCommerce sales on Cyber Monday

Reading Time: 2 minutes

If your business is gearing up for Cyber Monday then you already know that your deals should be too good to resist. Whether you have a physical store or sell your products exclusively online, setting up for a Cyber Monday special is a crucial part of driving sales during the festive season. 

If you don’t have an online store yet, fear not. It’s not too late. Here’s a guide on how you can set one up.

 

While eCommerce giants like Takealot, Superbalist, Zando, and others might get the most media publicity around Cyber Monday and Black Friday, it does not mean they are the only players in the game. With a little planning, smaller retailers can implement strategies to have profitable sales on Cyber Monday. 

 

Here’s our list of 5 tips to help boost your Cyber Monday sales: 

  • Start with an epic Cyber Monday offer
  • Don’t forget to advertise
  • Create a worthwhile experience for your customers
  • Make sure you close the sale
  • Secure a lifelong customer

 

 

  1. Start with an epic Cyber Monday offer

According to Deloitte’s 2018 Holiday Report, 95% of shoppers say that price discounts are the most appealing promotional offer, followed by free shipping and gifts. A great strategy here is offering a further discount on Black Friday offers or new discounts on specific items. These should be items or services that are already popular so you can almost guarantee a couple of sales. 

 

 

  1. Don’t forget to advertise

Whether you’re using pamphlets, social media, or even word-of-mouth, you have to advertise your offers so people know about it. With it being CYBER Monday, you’ll want to put more focus on your digital marketing efforts. This is the one place gift-givers and avid shoppers look for inspiration.

 

 

  1. Create a worthwhile experience for your customers

Now that you’ve got customers on your site (or in your store), you have to make sure they have a pleasant shopping experience. Optimizing your website for mobile is key to attract customers who are able to shop anywhere and anytime, or might not have access to a desktop. Remember to be on standby to manage the spike in traffic to your site. The last thing you want is to lose a sale because your site crashed. 

 

 

  1. Make sure you close the sale

Getting customers to ‘Add to cart’ is only half the job. Getting customers to check out is what seals the deal. Make sure your promotional prices are clear for each item or service. If there are extra charges such as taxes and delivery fees that come up at check out, customers may abandon their carts.  It should also be clear to shoppers where they need to enter any promotional codes. If you can, add a cart total somewhere on your pages, that runs as the shoppers add to their cart so they know how much they will pay. 

 

 

  1. Secure a lifelong customer

While some Cyber Monday customers may be new to your site, this is a great opportunity to make sure they come back. If they have a seamless shopping experience, followed by great (but not suffocating) customer service along with it, they’re most likely to return. You should also plan to follow up with your new customers shortly after their first purchase to ask them about their experience and strengthen that relationship.

 

Cyber Monday is a great way to boost your online sales in time for the holidays. If you are able to plan ahead and work your strategies well, you’re sure to see success.

Get ahead of your Black Friday Marketing

Get ahead of your Black Friday Marketing

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Anyone who is in the retail business or has previously owned a retail store of any kind will tell you that Black Friday – and the festive season as a whole – is the best time to grow your sales. 

And the numbers certainly don’t lie. A Geopoll survey showed that over the last three years, Black Friday shopper numbers have grown by an extensive 16 percentage points.

Despite South Africa’s slow economic growth over the years, consumers are still interested and willing to spend money – especially when there are major savings involved.

However, you can’t be too confident because your competitor knows this as well – and they will surely have a few tricks up their sleeves to cash in on the busy buying season. With this in mind, it’s always important to have a great marketing campaign that is unique to your brand in order to stand out from the crowd and bump up your sales.

 

Related: 5 Ways Your Small Business Can Prepare For Black Friday

 

Here are a few of our top tips for marketing your business for Black Friday.

1.Have your sale for longer

Extending your sale or savings period further than the Black Friday and Cyber Monday window will give you more opportunities for sales. Yes, we’ve seen this tactic many times before [How many businesses start promoting their Christmas promos in October?] This is the perfect time to get creative.
Using comedy, emotive language, and familiar faces or trends to lure customers will definitely re-engage the stragglers who might be holding off for a better deal.

 

2. Say yes to in-app offers

Mobile eCommerce is definitely where it’s at – whether it’s on a mobile site or an app. Most consumers are glued to their devices anyway, so offering a mobile-only saving is definitely a plus.
However, you have to be very clear in your messaging that deals on offer are specifically for mobile-only and will not be available in store. This provides your mobile-first audience with a sense of exclusivity, but it also allows you to easily track which – and how many – of your customers came to your site via push notification or email.

You can also use this time to remind your customers that shopping online saves them a lot of time and frustration during the #BlackFriday rush.

 

3. Make a gift guide

The festive season is a time for giving, and creating various gift guides for your customers using products they can buy from your business makes you stand out as a convenient store of choice.
This is also a great way to attract customers outside your normal target audience who are looking to purchase gifts for their friends and family.

A smart way to do this is to group your products first by your most overarching customer segments, then get more specific within each of these categories. For example, gifts for men, women, and children, and even colleagues.

 

4. Let your buyers shop ‘guilt-free’

While some shoppers are very clearly focused on the #BlackFriday specials for items they want for themselves, we should not forget that some people might also have the ghost of Christmas upon their shoulders to ‘do the right thing.’
So why not offer the best of both? Creating a donation option at payment is a great way to do this. This way, both your customers and a charity of your choice gets a little something – and you clean up. It’s a win-win-win situation.

 

5. Everyone loves a giveaway

Since it’s the season of giving, a little thank you to the customers that shop at your store will go a long way. The chance to win a great collection of goods from your store just for shopping during your #BlackFriday or #CyberMonday specials will keep the customers coming back.

 

Related: 5 Ways to support local businesses this Heritage Month

Even though you should leverage Black Friday and the festive season as an opportunity to increase sales and make your business some extra cash, you should not forget the complete customer journey. Sometimes, the most wholesome and effective approach is to stick to what your customers love while adding an extra saving on the goods they love.

If you’re in need of funds to make the most of your #BlackFriday sale this year, we’ve got you covered. We’re offering you a repayment holiday until January 2021 if you apply for funding before 30 November.

Check out more on this exclusive Lulalend offer here.

How to write the perfect business plan

How to write the perfect business plan

Reading Time: 5 minutes

Guest blog by Govchain

Simply put, a business plan is a document that explains what your business is all about. It sets out what the business is planning to do, how it’s going to do it, and over what sort of timeline it’s planning to do it over. A good business plan helps give the business direction and serves as a reference guide to make sure you have a laser focus on the most important goals of the company. So, what makes a good business plan? 

The more detailed you make your business plan, the more encompassing of your mission it will be, making it clear how the business will be run. But, pro tip: don’t get distracted by unnecessary details, a good business plan focuses on the core of business – how it’s going to generate money. Stick to the point and plan everything around that.

Longer and more formal business plans start with an Executive Summary. This is a brief summary of the entire business plan – the trick here is to make it as comprehensive, yet concise, as possible. For a busy investor your Executive Summary might be the deciding factor in whether they go on to read your full business plan or not, so make it count.

Next is an Introduction to your company. This is exactly what it sounds like – an introduction to who you are, your history, how you came up with the idea for the business, what work you’ve done so far, your location, and your management.

 

Related: A quick guide to Bridging Finance

 

After that comes the Company Summary. This is structured in four parts:

Vision: This describes the change that the company is looking to make and how that will impact the community it serves and the world. It’s usually a high-level aspirational statement.

Mission: This explains why the company exists and what its central goals are – spreading its products and/or services. You can include who the major customers will be, but keep it short and sweet.

Objectives: These are measurable outcomes that your company wants to achieve through the business. Include estimated growth figures like how much do you plan on growing every year, how many sales a month do you plan on making etc.

Values: These are your ethics, your core beliefs about how the company is run, and how you want to operate in the world. Examples are integrity, consistency, and spreading positive change. Vision and Values tend to stay the same over the life of a company, but Objectives can change as the business grows over time, which may influence your Mission. 

 

After Company Summary comes the Production/Service Overview. Here you describe in detail how the company makes its products or how the service will be carried out, being very clear with what goes into the processes. Following this is another section on Products and Services where you list all the various things your business might produce, including waste products and/or added services.

To show how you fit into the relevant market, include an Industry Overview. In this section, you describe what other role-players in the industry are doing, what the total market size is, and, if applicable, how much of that total you are planning to take over. If your business covers more than one industry, be sure to show this.

A section on Research and Development is a good place to show how you are planning to improve your products and/or services, and how you plan to offer a better experience for your customers than that of your competitors. Here you can also talk about things you would like to look into in the future as your business grows.

 

Related: Business Funding: An overview of how SMEs can access funding in SA

 

Now for the big one – your Financial Plan. This, after the Executive Summary, is the second thing a busy investor will look at, so make sure you do it properly. A full Financial Plan typically includes:

  • Assumptions made about the business and markets,
  • Options for financing the business, e.g. loans, direct investment or grants,
  • If applicable, a Facility Cost where you lay out all expenses needed to build or fit out the premises. A general rule of thumb is that building ends up costing double what you expect, so budget for this,
  • A Unit Cost Analysis – working out each and every cost that goes into making the product or service that you will be selling to figure out how much you will be charging. This is calculated by adding fixed cost ‘overheads’ (like rent for premises, salaries of employees, water and electricity, etc) to the variable cost of inputs needed to produce each unit, and then dividing it by the total number of units you will be able to produce given those costs. Be thorough here and think about all the costs, everything from insurance to staples,
  • A detailed 3-Year Cash Flow Plan, showing that you will always have cash available, even if you are operating at a loss at the beginning, and
  • A 5-Year Profit/Loss Plan, showing how you will grow and start building capital. Be sure to include the breakeven point. This is the important day where all costs of setting up the business will be repaid and from where you will start making a continuous profit. 

 

Pro Tip: Balance being optimistic, realistic, and prudent when doing your costing – rather ask for a bit more investment and make sure that the business always has cash instead of having to ask for more later.

A final section to include is one detailing your Risk Management. All companies and businesses face risks, and it’s important to consider how you will stay safe. This includes things like insurance, staffing plans, legal matters, and other strategies to make sure things run smoothly.

 

It’s important to be honest and realistic in this document. Exaggerating or underplaying certain things will come out eventually, which will lead to some uncomfortable meetings and explanations. That being said, also think about who you are going to give the document to, and consider what they want to see. You can cater the business plan to a specific investor so long as your document is still accurate and truthful. Depending on what you want to achieve, perhaps let an accountant or someone with experience in the business have a look through the plan and financials before giving it to investors.

Remember that most investors look at the bottom line; they want to see that your business is, or is going to be, profitable. Include any Purchase Orders, Letters of Intent of other contracts as annexures to the business plan. Some investors might be looking to add different types of value to their investment portfolios, such as environmental responsibility and corporate social responsibility – if your business falls into one of those areas, be sure to point it out to them.

Even if you aren’t looking for investors, a good business plan helps bring structure to your company and the objectives within. It also helps to speak to people around you when writing your business plan, to test ideas against them. They may think about things in a way you hadn’t thought of before, which will help to further refine your ideas. Finally, remember to update the business plan as things move along so that it always remains the working manual your company can use to be successful at business!

 

Ready to take the first step in your entrepreneurial journey? Meet Govchain, your partner in company registration and small business compliance. Register your company quickly and easily online, no paperwork needed.