COVID-19 SME Support: Business Brightspot Listing

COVID-19 SME Support: Business Brightspot Listing

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In this edition of the Business Brighspot blog, we’re covering two traditional South African SMEs who have taken a knock during lock down but have managed to keep their doors open.

Imelda Kekana, The Muff’n Lady

About your business

We are an artisan bakery offering nutritious and scrumptious goodies. We use good quality natural and indigenous ingredients sustainably grown by local farmers, as part of our strategy to combat/reduce lifestyle diseases whilst at the same time creating awareness to the forgotten sound food intelligence that our ancestors thrived on. For premium quality and freshness, our products are only available per order.

How has your business changed during COVID-19?

Sales dropped drastically.

Contact details:

Imelda Kekana

Yaniv Belinky, Tapitalia

About your business

We import Italian bathroom fittings including taps, sanitary-ware, vanities, accessories, baths and showers.

How has your business changed during COVID-19?

We were closed for the first 5 weeks of lockdown and unable to generate sales and business has been slow since we have opened.

Contact details:

Yaniv Belinky

Want to list your business? Submit your story here

The Business Brightspot blog is part of our Open for Business campaign. This is an initiative to give South African SMEs the tools and information they need to re-open their businesses during COVID-19.

For on the campaign, read this blog post.

5 Digital Marketing Strategy Tips: COVID-19 SME Support

5 Digital Marketing Strategy Tips: COVID-19 SME Support

Reading Time: 4 minutes

The COVID-19 pandemic is changing your customer’s behaviour.

Studies show more people are shopping online than before the pandemic.

And statistics reveal climbing internet traffic since the start of the COVID-19 lockdown in March.

But does this all what does this all mean for your SME?

If you’re doing business during COVID-19, you need a digital presence.

Now, this was true even before the pandemic.

But right now social distancing and changing lockdown levels keep us physically separated. You need to be able to reach your customers online at any time.

Let’s find out exactly how you can do that.

5 Tips for setting up your SME’s digital marketing strategy

Many business owners who added their SMEs to our Open for Business listing told us they had started operating online over the past few months.

But it can be overwhelming if you’re not sure how to get started.

In this post, Lulalend’s digital marketing experts share their tips to help you get your business in front of your customers online.

1. Develop your brand message

Before you go online, you need to define what makes your business stand out.  If you have not done this  already, then it should be the first step in building out your digital marketing strategy.

Michael Rampjapedi, digital marketing manager at Lulalend, said a competitor analysis could help create your brand’s unique messaging.

“Identify potential competitors and differentiate yourself. Based on your product, understand how you’re providing value and how you’re different.”

In this article for Hubspot, Kathryn Wheeler writes about the role of a memorable brand identity that becomes the face of your business and builds credibility and trust.

Keep two questions in mind when you’re developing your messaging, suggest Wheeler:

  • What makes your business unique in your industry?
  • What can you offer your customers that others can’t?

“And don’t forget that you already know your product and customers probably better than anyone.  Start there and build out”, says Stacey Vermaaak, growth marketing consultant at Lulalend.

2. Don’t copy your competitors

Now, while it’s a good idea to understand what your competitors are offering, you should avoid copying other companies, said Rampjapedi.

“You don’t know the internal metrics your competitors are using. They might be appearing first in Google search ads, but they might be losing money. Their bidding strategy might be different.”

Your competitors may have a bigger advertising budget and different goals, said Rampjapedi.

“Their mission might be to dominate market share in search. As a new business who wants a profit, you can’t be that aggressive if you are not profitable on that sale or on lifetime value.”

Adopt a similar approach to content creation.

While a tool like Buzzsumo can show you the most popular content for each topic, you should remember that those sites might be established, so have an existing audience and strong credibility.

Instead, pay close attention to your own results.

Monitor your web traffic using Google Analytics and study engagement on social media.

Most platforms, like Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn, offer built-in analytics. Using this data you can discover the content that’s connecting with your audience.

3. Get professional help

Managing your online presence can be daunting.

  • Which platforms should you choose?
  • How much money should you invest?

Here’s where a little bit of professional help can make all the difference.

Vermaak, suggested hiring an expert or agency to set up your business’s Google Adwords and Facebook Ads account, even if you plan to run these yourself.

“An upfront investment in professional help can save you a lot of money in the short and long term.”

“Be upfront and explain that this is your plan. This allows you to get your Adwords account structure and all of your tracking set up correctly. The agency or provider will also educate you during calls and meetings so that when you do take over you waste less time and money.”

“This advice will leapfrog your knowledge and help you hone in on the information and campaigns that are important to your business” advised Vermaak.

Rampjapedi said some agencies offer free introductory consultations. Consider finding an agency that specialises in your niche, e.g., e-commerce or business to business.

4. Create quality content

There’s a lot of content out there.

According to Internet Live Stats, each day:

  • Bloggers write two million posts
  • People upload 35 million photos to Instagram
  • Twitter users send 322 million tweets

Fortunately, you’ll set yourself apart if you create quality content that responds to your target audience’s questions.

Rampjapedi encouraged SMEs to use Google’s free Keyword Planner to discover the kinds of questions people were asking in their online search. Next, create content that responds to those questions.

Other free tools you can use, include:

Finally, when putting together the content plan for your digital marketing strategy listen to your own customers. Which questions do they frequently ask you? What are people talking about in industry forums

5. Run small tests, keep track and get better.

And once you’re ready to launch your campaign, you should start small, said Vermaak.

“Have a test goal in mind – think about how much you are willing to pay for a lead/ sale based on conversion rates and costs. Then take a small budget, look at your targeting options, see how one campaign does vs. another platform or other targeting. When you start with a small budget, you also give yourself space to iron out the kinks. What happens when an online order comes through? Call those people and learn about their experience, make it better. Focus on the path to conversion. Can it be simpler, faster, clearer?  If it can you will save money on your acquisition costs.”

If you’re still looking for marketing help, check out these resources:

Business Funding: Is Equipment Finance Right for Your SME?

Business Funding: Is Equipment Finance Right for Your SME?

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Looking for equipment finance to grow your business?

Equipment finance is one of the most common types of business funding.

And if you’re in the market for this form of business funding, you have a few options available to you.

The best type of equipment finance for your business depends on your exact needs.

As part of our Open for Business campaign, we created this blog post to answer your questions about equipment finance and business funding.

In this article, we turn to Lulalend’s business funding specialists to learn more about:

  • How equipment finance works
  • What to consider when applying for equipment finance

What is equipment finance?

Equipment finance is also known as asset finance. It’s a type of business funding that lets you generate more income for your SME.

And it doesn’t matter which industry you’re in, you’d be able to think of a piece of equipment you could use to grow.

As a manufacturing SME, you could use new equipment for your production line. A mining business might benefit from opencast mining equipment. And SMEs providing professional services could purchase upgraded computer hardware.

So, it’s no surprise this FinFind SMME finance study found equipment was one of the key reasons South African businesses needed business funding.

When you take out equipment finance, you don’t place strain on your cashflow. The alternative is to spend years saving the capital you need to buy the equipment outright, although this approach could result in missed opportunities for your business.

But, how does equipment finance work, exactly?

How does equipment finance work?

There are a few general ways you can structure your equipment finance.

Each of these options presents different implications for your SME’s tax calculations and balance sheet. Explore each one carefully before making a decision.

Equipment rentals

In some cases, the funder will own the equipment, and you’ll rent it from them over a specific time period.

Now, maybe you only need a piece of heavy-duty machinery for one job. In that case, this short-term option makes sense for your SME.

Equipment rentals, however, aren’t the best choice for all businesses.

One disadvantage of equipment rental finance is that terminating your contract early can be expensive, according to this article in Funding Hub.

Heidi Alson, the business funding specialist at Lulalend, said getting finance to buy the asset might be a better fit for some SMEs.

“Instead of paying fees to rent equipment, apply with a lender like Lulalend and own the asset.”

And because alternative funders like Lulalend offer unrestricted finance, you have the freedom to choose how you spend the funds.

“Lulalend’s funding is for any business need, so you’ll be able to buy the equipment from your supplier, according to your terms. We know business owners know their businesses best,” said Alson.

Installment sale

Some funders will let you finance the purchase of the equipment.

You’ll repay the equipment finance over a set period of time in monthly installments. Depending on the structure of the business funding, you might need to put down a deposit.

For some equipment financing, you may need to give security. That means the lender might take the equipment as collateral. Or, you might need to attach a personal asset as security.

If you default on your loan, you are giving the lender permission to possess these assets. Review this carefully. On top of that risk, many small business owners often don’t have sufficient assets to put down as collateral.

Business funding for equipment finance

When will you get a return on the equipment you buy?

It depends, said Kaushik Fakir, Lulalend business funding specialist.

“Investing in equipment finance might only pay off months after taking out funding for some businesses. They’ll need to buy the equipment and then look to grow their business using the assets. For others, it’s immediate because they can expand their offering right away.:

For many business owners, fast business funding would be a better pick, added Fakir.

“With Lulalend, you get funding now and only start paying it back after a month.”

Looking for fast business funding?

If you are looking for equipment finance, here are some points to consider:

  • Watch out for early repayment penalties. Some funders will charge you for settling your equipment finance loan early
  • Study the business agreement for any hidden costs. Do you need to pay monthly account fees or credit insurance?

Finding the right equipment finance for your SME can set your business up for success.

Unsecured business funding from Lulalend might be the right match for your business if you need access to funding fast.

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

Open For Business Campaign – SMME Support

Open For Business Campaign – SMME Support

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A new countrywide SME support campaign will offer small businesses free marketing exposure, financial management tools, and support to digitally transform their business as they attempt to re-open following the COVID-19 pandemic lockdown.

As a growing number of small businesses begin to shift online to meet changing customer behaviour resulting from COVID-19, Lulalend, SA’s first online funder for SMEs, has launched its Open for Business campaign.

The campaign will provide:

  • Marketing support: including exposure across Lulalend’s high profile digital platforms
  • Digital capability assessment: free audit by Lulalend’s digital marketing experts
  • Access to cash flow forecasting tools: a snapshot of an SME’s short-term financial future
  • Mentorship: connect over lunch with an inspiring mentor from your industry

The free marketing support will promote SMEs on Lulalend’s blog to help increase their exposure and improve vital search engine rankings. Businesses will also be promoted across Lulalend’s social media platforms under the Open for Business banner.

The campaign comes as internet traffic has continued to rise by 15% since President Cyril Ramaphohsa announced the lockdown in March, according to Seacom, the network service provider. These increases have included hikes in video consumption and standard web browsing.

A study from Nielsen also showed 29% of people were shopping more online since the start of the outbreak.

Michael Rampjapedi, digital marketing manager at Lulalend, said SMEs featured on Lulalend’s blog will be able to grow traffic to their sites.

“The most important benefit is the visibility, especially for a new site. You’re getting free traffic to your site. And that’s immediate, cost-effective, exposure.”

Rampjapedi said there will also be long-term benefits for a business’ search engine ranking.

Linking to the Lulalend site improves a new site’s domain authority: a group of factors that influence a site’s ranking.

“The Lulalend blog’s domain authority is similar to that of the banks. So, having those kinds of associating links is beneficial for a new site’s authority,” said Michael Rampjapedi.

Meanwhile, Lulalend’s cash flow forecasting tool will allow an SME to view a monthly breakdown of it’s expected turnover and estimated expenses for the next six months.

The Open for Business campaign will also be regularly providing valuable content to help businesses operate effectively during the pandemic, such as this Back to Business guide.

The guide, which was produced in partnership with the National Small Business Chamber, covers topics including:

  • Marketing your SME during COVID-19
  • Increasing your cashflow
  • Communicating with your team

Within Lulalend’s SME community there have been many stories of entrepreneurs adapting their businesses overnight and finding new ways of doing things to cope with the impact of COVID-19. Lulalend is offering business owners the chance to meet and learn from these inspiring individuals.

SMEs can list their businesses here.

And can stay up to date on the campaign by subscribing to the Lulalend newsletter here.

COVID-19 SME Support: Business Brightspot Listing

COVID-19 SME Support: Business Brightspot Listing

Reading Time: 2 minutes

Small businesses owners are often wearing so many hats that they don’t have enough time to take on big, strategic thinking.  In the current climate we have seen some incredible transformations done either on-the-go or through a complete pivot.

In this edition of the Business Brighspot blog, we’re covering two South African SMEs that are all about ”the strategy’‘ to see how they have reacted to the changes.  They both offer strategic support to business leaders and have, like most businesses, had to pivot over the last few months.

Yolanda Sing, Chloe Consultant

About your business

Yolanda is a professional coach who inspires people to connect with the latent leadership qualities within themselves.  Her technique involves working with horses.  This approach acts as a catalyst that allows people to learn in the moment and at an emotional level.  The skills they learn through working with horses translate into exceptional results in both boardrooms and families alike.  See testimonials here.

How has your business changed during COVID-19?

CHLOE Consultant had to adapt and a Virtual Equine Program was developed.

Contact details:

Yolanda Sing

Graham McLeod, Inspired.org

About your business

We help organisations to; Achieve strategic business change, transform digitally
and derive more value from Information Technology investment

How has your business changed during COVID-19?

We have developed a Unique COVID readiness model to share.

We are operating remotely for both consulting and training. This has proven both very productive and cost effective. We can use geographically distributed assets to apply to client needs without travel delays, logistics issues and costs.

Contact details:

Graham McLeod

Want to list your business? Submit your story here

The Business Brightspot blog is part of our Open for Business campaign. This is an initiative to give South African SMEs the tools and information they need to re-open their businesses during COVID-19.

For on the campaign, read this blog post.