A Story of Resilience

A Story of Resilience

Some of the greatest business legends have shared their stories of resilience, about never giving up and about how winning is just getting up one more time than you were knocked down.

Beautiful, thought-provoking quotes that can be much harder to live through and by.

Sheila’s story below reminds us of the grit and determination that is required to get up again and again. We felt privileged when she shared it with us, and we hope you do too.

 

The Business

Wolf Printing offers a whole host of products and services for the corporate sector as well as the man in the street. No order is too small or too big for Wolf Printing to handle.

Their aim is to offer each customer individual attention and build a strong and lasting relationship with them.

Their range of products for the corporate sector is huge as we are resellers for large companies.

Wolf Printing’s range of personalised items is also quite large, and many of the new items will be featured on their website very soon.

If you are looking for anything in particular, they encourage customers to send them an email with their requirements.

 

Sheila’s story

“I have been in sales all my life and 8 years ago I decided to start my own business – corporate and personalised gifts and clothing. I have never been in this trade before and decided to give it a try. It has been an uphill battle as I did not have much capital – only enough to buy the basic machines. I am 62 and my partner is 57 and Sheila learned all her designing on google as we did not have funds to go for courses. 3 years ago our vehicle was stolen, which left us in a terrible situation as we could not get to suppliers or customers.

Related: Women in business part 2: Real women, real challenges, real engagement

Sheila got a small pension payout and we eventually bought a 2nd hand vehicle. Then last year we were held up in our home by 6 armed men and they stole our computers, cell phones, camera, and other items. As we were not insured, this set us back again. And as you know, this year the dreaded COVID-19 struck and we are now 3 months behind on rent with a landlord threatening eviction at the end of lockdown.

These last 5 years have been an absolute nightmare, but this is all we have, so will fight to the bitter end.”

Although faced with many difficulties along the way, Cheryl and Sheila continue to strive for success in their business every day.

Related: Women Powering SA: Ann Clark, Options in Training

 

“Timing, perseverance, and ten years of trying will eventually make you look like an overnight success.” – Biz Stone, co-founder of Twitter.

 

Download the Wolf Printing catalogue here.

Contact Sheila at info@wolfprinting.co.za

 

Business Details:

Wolf Printing

Windham Ave, Hillary, Durban, 4024

Phone: 031 – 463 3801

Cell: 071 006 3100

www.wolfprinting.co.za

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Women Powering SA: Ann Clarke, options in training

Women Powering SA: Ann Clarke, options in training

Ann Clarke

MD of options in training

The Business

options in training offers training that covers everything from an introduction to computing in business to intermediate and specialised Microsoft office courses, often tailored to meet an exact business or personal requirement.

They make keeping up-to-date and improving your skills fun by ensuring that it’s relaxed, interactive, and supportive in small, facilitator-led, computer, and business skills classes.

They have been around for over 30 years, have full MICT SETA accreditation with courses mapped to unit standards, are part of the Microsoft channel, and a testing center, but have never lost that personal touch or the flexibility to schedule courses where and when it suits you. They thrive on the challenge of developing new courses, to your needs.

Over and above Microsoft training they also offer:

Project Management, Visio, CorelDRAW, Publisher, and Internet courses.

Business Skills Training: developing your communication and people skills – whether you are looking at interaction with colleagues, bosses, employees, or clients.

They believe that when writing, presenting, training, leading, supervising, or talking, a depth of knowledge and understanding of both yourself and best practices predicts success.

Ann’s story

It was in the ’80s when Ann created a solid business plan that secured the finance she needed to start options in training. She credits this and the youthful positivity which gave her the confidence in getting started. At the time she entered the professional services industry, it already welcomed female entrepreneurs.

“A couple of lessons I’ve learned, which have so often stood me in good stead, are that saving in the good times eases the stultifying financial stress of the not-so-good, and cherish your reputation, it keeps you in business. But you wouldn’t have a business without a dedicated team who care as much as you do, look after them, “ says Ann.

“Today, our computer and business skills training has moved from our beautiful thatched premises to the small screen of our computers, in our home offices.”

“To my surprise, this hasn’t diminished our trademark personalised attention and has opened new opportunities for distance training. So hold on to perseverance and belief – they are your path to continued success.”

Get in touch with them to enrich yourself or your team’s skills and take your business to the next level.

Contact Ann at ann@optionsit.co.za

Does Alternative Lending Make Sense as a Cashflow Management Tool for Your Business?

Does Alternative Lending Make Sense as a Cashflow Management Tool for Your Business?

Running a small business is hard, especially now during lock down. One of the biggest challenges that faces small and medium-sized businesses is cash flow how does one keep the lights on when cash flow is tight? For business owners, managing business operations is hard enough, but throw in managing the finances and it can sometimes feel impossible.

In this post we will introduce how an alternative credit lending facility can help SMEs take advantage of growth opportunities, to not only keep their business operating but also generate a positive ROI in the long term.

Cash flow management 

How does one manage business cash flow effectively?

More Sales? – the easiest and best would be to increase sales while managing costs – if only it was that easy! With the constant drive to increase sales while juggling cost inputs (all with different timelines) one really needs to know how to juggle one’s cash reserves

Credit Facility? – having access to a credit facility, be it a bank overdraft or an alternative lender credit facility, can be a lifesaver,

Bank overdraft vs a Credit Facility

What’s the difference between a traditional Bank Overdraft Facility and an alternative lender Credit Facility?

When does alternative funding make sense?

Credit lending facilities can serve a specific purpose and may not work well for every business. How do you know if this is a good choice for you?

You need a quick turnaround

  • Some deals appear and you need to act quickly. This does not allow for the long lead times of traditional lenders. You can access capital from Lulalend within 24 hours. 

You are not being approved by a bank 

  • Traditional lenders have traditional credit models, which do not suit all businesses. Lenders like Lulalend can assess a business’s ability to repay a loan in minutes using their machine learning algorithms and alternative sources of scoring data. 

The costs are not clear

  • When assessing a business opportunity, you need to have a clear idea of what the costs are to ensure you are making money. Loan initiation fees, early settlement penalties and ongoing account costs are often “hidden” costs that can make traditional lending not as cost-effective as they appear. 
  • Lulalend’s fees are completely transparent – there are no initiation fees, no early settlement penalties and no account fees – you only pay when you access your facility

Margins can support the costs (Positive ROI)

  • When making any business decision that requires using a credit facility, you should check that your income and margins can support the cost of that funding. Here are a few simple examples: 

The advantage of using a lender like Lulalend, is that you can calculate your investment costs with 100% certainty before you commit to a deal so you can ensure your ROI is positive. In addition, as soon as your deal is done, you can park the Lulalend facility – at no cost! – until the next deal presents itself. 

 

Apply in minutes online and get business funding in your account in 24 hours.

 

Increasing Your Business’s Resilience to Come Back Stronger

Increasing Your Business’s Resilience to Come Back Stronger

In the face of COVID-19 most businesses have already been taking some steps, out of pure necessity, to increase their resilience.

However, as we settle into the uncertainty and prolonged semi-locked down period, we thought we would highlight the areas most experts agree should be prioritised to increase business resilience.

In this instance we define resilience as the ability to come out of a crisis faster and stronger than competitors in your industry.

In terms of survival over the lock down period many businesses have already made use of Cost cutting, and while most owners are good negotiators, we tend to get lax in times of plenty. We must use the memory of COVID-19 to keep us on our toes in terms of how we spend our budgets, how often we choose to negotiate and how extravagant we are in times of plenty. In addition, as seen in this McKinsey study of 2000 businesses, in times of crises an early and strong focus on cost cutting can better position your business for an earlier and stronger recovery. It is worth noting that in this instance the best form of cost cutting is increased efficiency through greater digitisation.

In addition to this, business insurance, as we have all seen, is worth the investment. So too is staying on top of things like UIF and encouraging your employees to invest in income protection. It is far too easy to underestimate how often these big crises occur, but once a decade is a good benchmark (last decade there were two – 2002, and 2008).

This leads to the next level of resilience – building up savings or having access to funds that can see you through any prolonged period of reduced income. On a personal level we are told to build first 3 and then 6 months worth of savings as an income buffer – and it shouldn’t be any different for your business.

While you are building this buffer up, and indeed after, it is worth having additional funding options in place. Fast access to funding allows you to fill any gaps, or more importantly to take advantage of opportunities to grow your business and recover faster ( Lulalend’s instant access credit facility is designed to help support your business through good times and bad. It has no fixed fees so it costs you nothing to have it in place “just in case”).

Throughout the current crisis we’ve all felt there was a lot of noise, but few quality sources of information. Did you manage to discover the right source of business information. If not, it is worth making sure that you have a good, reliable source of information so that you don’t waste time trying to find the answers you need. This allows you to take action faster and keep your focus where it is most needed.

One area that can help with this is finding a good mentor or building a strong network. Simply looking for businesses in your industry either locally or internationally and sending out a request to ask for some guidance can be the beginning of increased support and insights.

What is clear from the McKinsey study is that the most resilient businesses act faster to recover faster, especially as opportunities begin to present themselves as the markets change, and as competitors begin to offload assets. Furthermore the gains they make during this time stand them in good stead for years to come.

 

Small Business Marketing Strategies: Google vs Facebook

Small Business Marketing Strategies: Google vs Facebook

Finding the best small business marketing strategies isn’t easy.

But what if you don’t have a massive budget?

Or, maybe you’re a small business owner who doesn’t have in-house marketing expertise.

The good news is you can get started small.

And a key step in that journey is learning more about the biggest digital marketing channels: Search and Social.

In this post, Lulalend’s digital marketing experts, Stacey Vermaak, and Michael Rampjapedi, discuss how to use these platforms to grow your business online.

Small business marketing strategies: search and social

Search and social are the cornerstones of most small business marketing strategies.

No matter what industry you’re in, chances are your customers are online.

It’s estimated South Africans spend more than 9 hours a day online, according to this report.

Vermaak explained the main differences between social media and search:

“The fundamental difference between the two is the basis of their targeting: how you tell each platform who you want to speak to.

“For search, this is based on keywords that tell Google what search terms you want your business to show up for; you are targeting people who are already looking for what you do or sell. For social media, you tell Facebook, or even LinkedIn, which types of people you want to show your ads to based on who your customer is and what their interests are.”

Search is an “always-on” types of media, explained Vermaak. This means your marketing is always visible to people searching for your business 24/7. This is because your audience is self-renewing; as new people start looking for your business or it’s products you want to be visible as long as you are profitable when including your ad spend.

In addition, both platforms allow you to narrow or expand your targeting based on age, gender, location, and device.

You can even include how your audience has interacted with your business before. And this targeting will help you to get better performance from your campaigns.

“For both, you need to install conversion tracking or use UTM tagging to understand if your campaigns are making you money. However, understanding the primary targeting for each allows you to understand the fundamentally different ways the two work.”

Setting up your small business in search

Getting started with building your presence in search begins with finding the right keywords, said Vermaak.

Rampjapedi added that you could use a free tool like Google’s keyword planner to find the right keywords.

Once your campaigns are live, it is very important to compare your keywords with your Google Adwords’ search query reports. These reports are available in your account and detail what searches are triggering your keywords, allowing you to expand or refine your targeting.

“These things will help you be visible for the most relevant searches that make your business money. Using your search query reports to refine what searches you are visible for becomes even more important to avoid wasted money and to help you achieve Return on Ad Spend (ROAS),” said Vermaak.

Once you start developing ads, you should make sure they’re relevant to your customer’s needs.

“Your search term should match what you are selling, which should match your advert (or organic result or business listing) and this should match the page you send a user to. When optimising your advert you are working to tell a searcher why your product is right for them.

“You want to give them as much information as possible so that they are hopefully clicking through to find the product or service they need,” said Vermaak.

Rampjapedi said it was worth hiring a professional to set up your website to make sure your technical SEO was correct.

This included, making sure:

  • Google could index your website pages
  • Your site is mobile-friendly

Missing this step could hurt your rankings. “When SEO is setup correctly this allows you to use Google Adwords DSA campaigns”, said Vermaak.

Using Facebook to find new customers for your small business

Most businesses are on Facebook. And it makes sense why.

By 2023, it’s expected 19.8 million South Africans will use Facebook, according to Statistia.

Vermaak said approaching FB was different:

“For Facebook, you are looking for the right audience targeting that finds the people who are looking for, and engage with, your product. Facebook has a lot of targeting options from interests to demographics that you can use to define and test users.”

Consider using customer information in other ways to reach new customers.

“You should at least test remarketing to offline customer lists, site users, site converters, page and advert engagers, and test acquiring new customers using similar audiences based on each of these.

“What this means is your primary targeting is a group of people who generally remain fairly consistent. The goal is to find the audiences that work for your business.

Because the audience remains fairly consistent, you should be creative with your content.

“You need to be constantly changing up and testing your messaging, with images, videos, and carousel ads. Consider combining ads featuring different campaigns, products and messaging. Invest in boosted posts to keep the audience engaged. “

“This is very different from paid search which is generally a self-renewing list as new people come into the market for your product or service.”

Looking for more on small business marketing? Read 5 digital marketing strategy tips here.

This article is part of our Open for Business campaign, a drive to set South African SMEs up for success when they re-open during the lock down.

If you are trading in these uncertain times and need funding to really get your business going, Apply Now for instant access to funds from a credit facility that increases as your business recovers.