Business tips to help you succeed over the festive season

Business tips to help you succeed over the festive season

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Depending on the business you are in Christmas can be a quiet or chaotic time of the year. Sales either plummet or soar but each comes with its own challenges.

Retailers, for example, walk a tightrope with cash flow. Constantly trying to manage supply and demand so that you don’t run out of stock or lose money overcompensating on stock that expires or becomes dated. This can significantly wound your business before you’ve even started the new year.

It’s no different for the likes of construction, or any other very seasonal business. The slowing down over the festive season can leave businesses with too little working capital, but still with salaries and bonuses to pay.

No matter your business, these festive Christmas tips might help ease the struggles now and in the future.

 

1.Consider your budget throughout the year

Always keep in mind that this time of year presents certain challenges that aren’t the same as other months. Make room for this in your budget and calculate what you need to make December a more profitable time of year. Plan campaigns or specials – make sure you’ve put this money aside for them as well as for other costs and expenditures so that you don’t need to grasp at straws come December.

 

2. People get paid early and are managing cash flow too

Don’t be unaware that your customers are struggling with the same cash flow problems on a personal level. This means they are also looking for ways to make it through the month while still enjoying the holidays. How can you help them solve this problem?

 

3. Partner with another business

Using your network is always a powerful thing. Take advantage of partnerships where you can offer multiple products or services if customers take advantage at either business. The agreement between partners needs some consideration but there are many ways that you can mutually benefit from one another and support one another. For example, some stores give you extra items from partners to make the purchase more compelling. Or they give you a voucher for another business that you can get a discount on.  Some partners combine a joint campaign with media budgets to make sure they boost sales for both partners often at half the spend. The possibilities are endless and you need to identify what works for your business.

 

4. Pair charitable acts or donations with sales

Tis the season to be jolly, but it is also the season of giving. People are more inclined to do good and contribute to a worthy cause this time of the year. Something about Christmas seems to bring people together and open hearts a little wider. Your business can help underprivileged organizations and the more vulnerable, build brand awareness, and generate sales. For example, some people offer a buy xyz and we’ll donate one/donate a percentage of the purchase towards [insert charity of your choice]. Do good this season and help your customers do the same.

 

5. Remember it’s Christmas and the holidays

Don’t forget what this time of year represents by getting bogged down in the details. People are relaxing, most people are in good spirits, and they want to take a break from the responsibilities of the home/office. They dust the year off and get ready for a fresh start. Let your business acknowledge that – whether it’s through decorations and getting into the holiday spirit as a business or incorporating that into your offerings. Be part of the festive cheer, your customers and employees will appreciate it.

 

You should take time yourself to step back and review how your business has grown in the past year and to plan 2019.   But not before taking a well deserved moment to enjoy the festivities yourself. Sometimes taking a break is the exactly what leads to the break-through you need.

We know these are great tips, but the reality is often very different. Circumstances are different for each business too. So, for times like these, you still have Lulalend. We know the ‘nice to haves’ for your business aren’t always attainable. But we work with you to make them attainable one day.

That’s why we offer business funding to fill all the gaps or to take advantage of opportunities. We know seasonally you need finance for cash flow and working capital immediately – that’s why we help you get the funding in hours. We know you don’t have time for the reams of paperwork so we don’t require it, and we know running a business isn’t cheap – so we give you access to up to R1 Million for you to use as you need not as the type of funding dictates.

3 tips for growing your business from the guy who always gets it right

3 tips for growing your business from the guy who always gets it right

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Running and managing your own business can be one of the most rewarding but exhausting and challenging situations you will find yourself in. It involves making the tough decisions. It almost always involves failure before success is seen. It requires sacrifices that not everyone is willing to make, and often things like small business funding are difficult to get easy access to or come by at all.

Richard Branson said, “If you want to be in business 10 years down the line, you must have a deep understanding of your business, the market it operates in and a great team to support.”

If you don’t believe this, below is a long list of his successes and a few pointers on how to grow your business from the guy who is estimated to have a net worth of approximately £2.58 billion (US$4.2 billion), ranks 254 in the global list of billionaires and is the 5th richest person in the United Kingdom.

Richard Branson’s long list of successes:

 Source: Foundr

Plan for the long term

“Mapping the risks and opportunities for your business early on can make all the difference. Setting some milestones for you and your team to work towards will keep you motivated and driven. There will be obstacles to growth you cannot foresee but having a roadmap in place from the get-go will help build structure and focus to decision-making.”

Stick to your founding principles

“Investing in your people and delegating out responsibility is another key ingredient to building a successful business. I learnt this from a very young age. There is little point recruiting great people if you don’t then give them the autonomy to take their role and run with it. It also frees you up as the founder to focus less on the day-to-day activities and more on the over-arching objectives laid out in your ten year roadmap.”

 Get the right support

“From my experience the key to long-term growth is much more than just raising enough funds. You need support and mentoring from those who have been there and done it themselves, teaching you how best to use the funds and help you avoid any mistakes they may have made. I myself benefited hugely from the words of Sir Freddie Laker when starting Virgin Atlantic. He told me I could never compete with the big advertising budgets of the large airlines and would have to get out there and use myself to promote Virgin Atlantic.”

If you’re planning for the future and need the right support when it comes to small business financing Lulalend offers a quick, easy solution. We care for small businesses and want the words of Richard Branson to ring true for your business.

To help you plan for the long term we offer the support through business finance. The great news is our application process has 3 quick steps which are all done online. We offer small business funding up to R500 000, have no hidden fees, competitive fixed costs, and you can see the money in your account in 24 hours. We aim to take one of the most challenging hurdles out of the way – access to funding – so that your business doesn’t have to be open to the many failures that it’s can come up against.

 

Odette Bester

Digital Marketing Manager

Passionately interested in digital marketing and helping businesses focus on building a strong digital strategy through a well rounded and strategic inbound and outbound marketing approach.

 

Women in business: Part 1

Women in business: Part 1

Reading Time: 4 minutes

Woman have come a long way in the business world and have proven that they can stand right beside men and make big waves. Inspiring women in South Africa are all around us and there are so many lessons that we can learn from them. We take a look at 3 women who are taking the business world by storm with their innovative and forward thinking business ideas.

Zizipho Nyanga- CEO of Old Mutual‘s Masisizane Fund

 Many women share a great passion for giving back to the community, and Zizipho Nyanga is no different. Zizipho is currently CEO of the Old Mutual‘s Masisizane Fund, which is a fund created in 2007 with the aim of funding majority black-owned small businesses. Originating from Mthatha in the Eastern Cape, Zizipho has come a long way to get to where she is today. She studied towards a BCom Accounting degree from the former University of Transkei and a post graduate diploma from Wits University. Her first graduate job was as a finance trainee at Ernst and Young. In 2014, she joined Old Mutual, as head of Post Investment Monitoring and Business Support of the Masisizane Fund. Just two years later she was appointed as CEO​. Zizipho is highly passionate about her job and helping small business owners achieve success. “An organisation like Masisizane is a necessity in South Africa because we need to develop entrepreneurs”, says Zizipho.

 

Sarah Collins: Founder of the Wonderbag

 Sarah has done what many entrepreneurs struggle to do: She took a simple idea and turned it into a hit. Her product: the ever popular Wonderbag. It’s a non-electric bag made up of re-purposed chipped foam that comes in colourful, African-inspired printed fabrics with a drawstring at the top to retain the heat. Food is brought to the boil by conventional cooking methods and once put into the Wonderbag will continue to cook for up to 12 hours. This concept has been used for centuries, but Sarah has managed to market it very well. It’s sold worldwide and Sarah has formed partnerships with major brands like Unilever and Amazon. You might be asking, how did Sarah achieve such success? Her tips for creating a strong business is to think big, accept risk, be realistic, find a partner, do some good, and find other markets.

 

 

Jerusha Govender: Founder of Data Innovation

 Some people choose to be entrepreneurs, while others start businesses because they are thrown in the deep end. Jerusha Govender suddenly found herself unemployed one day, and she had to choose whether to sink or swim. She chose to turn this adversity into an opportunity by creating a business called Data Innovator. Data Innovator combines strong graphic design, storytelling and analytics, underpinned by monitoring and evaluation (M&E) principles to create a creative data offering that social organisations desperately need. It was tough in the beginning. She had to use her existing network to get word out about her new business. This meant that she had to start off doing projects for free. She also used her experience to spot a gap in the South African market. She tackled social development organisations like NGOs and NPO’s that needed creative data to demonstrate the need for funding to their donors. One key piece of advice that Jerusha has for small business owners is to never stop networking. “Networking is important to source new business and skills. People often don’t realise what they don’t know, so talk to people and find your own new opportunities”, says Jerusha.

Whether you’re starting out small, or want to go big, you can learn many lessons from these top business women. All of them worked hard and created key strategies that were in line with their business goals. It’s also important to have a strong team who understands the business’s ideals and works towards fulfilling their roles to the best of their ability. Women know how important it is to take a step back and listen. They listen to their employees, listen to what the market wants, listen to the needs of their customers, and this trait serves one well in the business world where intuitiveness is highly important.

Even thriving businesses need a helping hand when it comes to business funding. Lulalend can offer some relief when it comes to financing requirements for your small business such as inventory, new hires or remodeling your premises. We offer up to R500 000 to assist small businesses– this can give your business the push it needs to grow, reach new markets and increase sales.

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Companies dominating when it comes to inventory management

Companies dominating when it comes to inventory management

Reading Time: 4 minutes

No-one knows more about the importance of finding the perfect balance than daredevil tightrope walkers. They are constantly pushing boundaries and defying the odds while attempting stunts that stun audiences. Some famous landmarks like the Grand Canyon, or iconic buildings like the once Twin Towers, have been crossed by those with nerves of steel. But probably the most well-known is Charles Blondin, who on the 30th of June 1859 became the first to cross a tightrope suspended above the Niagara Falls.

Charles Blondin crossed 1,100 feet on a 2-3-inch tightrope suspended between 160 and 200 feet in the air. He then went on to cross this same tightrope blindfolded, lay down on the tightrope in the middle of another attempt, and offered to push a volunteer across in a wheelbarrow on yet another. It’s no surprise that there were no takers for the wheelbarrow.

Stunts like these require incredible precision and practice. One wrong move and it can lead to tragedy. In the retail and wholesale industry this same sort of precision and practice is required when it comes to inventory purchasing. There is a fine balance between purchasing too much or too little inventory. The risks for a small business is high. Purchase too much and you run the risk of losing money, purchase too little to serve your clients and they are likely to go elsewhere to find what they are looking for.

Then again, balance isn’t just for the inventory purchasing stage but the whole end-to-end process. It’s no use starting to walk a tightrope only to get stuck in the middle. For retailers and wholesalers seeing the process through from start to finish is all part and parcel of the inventory management tightrope.

Planning, processes, good management, good systems, real time data, and foresight are important to a business trying to strike the right balance. There are companies out there getting it right and rocking their inventory management so we’ve gathered some information on the lessons they have to share.

1. Edison Stone

Using historic data for decision-making

Nicole Reid, Inventory Planner from Edison Stone, a brand house which develops and represents top brands and products for the kitchen & homeware market, says they rely heavily on historic data and trends to identify cyclical norms that provide Edison Stone with insight into future inventory purchases.

The record keeping process around items and products that sell are a key indicator of sales performance over time and drive part of the decision-making process. These patterns can help accurately predict stock required for certain items and guide business owners when it comes to striking the right balance between supply and demand.

The Edison Stone team also make use of inventory management software that helps to track all data points for the decision process. These systems ensure that they can run a tight ship and maintain a constant flow of stock for their customers and smoothly execute the picking, receiving, packing and dispatching for all products.

Experience, communication and systems

Nicole believes that an experienced warehouse team, strong communication, the right inventory system, and the support and involvement of top-level management are all part of what makes Edison Stone’s inventory management successful.

2. takealot

Cashing in on efficiency

takealot offer an extensive range of locally supplied and imported books, DVDs, music, games, electronics and toys. They make use of a software solution called RELEX to help them with their forecasting, inventory management and stock assortment to reduce their time on routine ordering.

Distribution and dispatch processes

As an inventory-holding eCommerce business they place a lot of focus on their distribution processes. Having acquired stakes in Mr. Delivery they have invested heavily in great service delivery. This investment in their dispatch service gives them control over their deliveries and adds another dimension to their business. This means they can do same-day delivery and after-hour deliveries while also having control from the distribution centre right through to the customer.

3. Spree

Organise and identify

Grethe van Rensberg, Operations Manager at Spree, says ‘it’s important to organise and identify products from the start. This includes clear descriptions, information and categories.’ Making sure inventory counts are accurate and updates are done in real-time is important for them as an online retailer. This helps them ensure that processing can be done quickly, accurately and seamlessly.

Customise if you need to

Spree has made use of their own in-house planning, merchandise and warehouse management system specifically catering to the complexities that come with eCommerce. Grethe stresses the importance of real-time updates in order to stay on top of things and for all systems to work from an end-to-end process so that no balls get dropped along the way.

4. Amazon

Don’t waste time

The mammoth eCommerce and cloud computing company, Amazon, have a few secrets of their own when it comes to inventory management. When items first arrive, they don’t waste time scanning and sorting. In fact, during peak seasons items are logged and scanned within the first 12 hours of arrival so that everything is always tracked on their systems.

The hands-on approach

However, even this successful company doesn’t rely solely on computer systems. They utilize warehouse workers on the ground who are armed with barcode data collection software to ensure they keep up with shipments at these times. A lot can be said for this hands-on approach if big companies like Amazon are making use of practices like this.

Organise your warehouse

When it comes to warehouse planning it is reported that they keep similar items separate from each other to avoid human error from workers accidentally grabbing the wrong item. Their most popular items are located in multiple locations to prevent bottlenecks that occur when too many people converge on one spot.

Every business is different and the challenges won’t be the same. But it can be helpful to learn from those who have been down the road, figured out what works and have empowered their business to operate efficiently so that they can serve and delight their customers.

 

Lulalend’s most frequently asked questions

Lulalend’s most frequently asked questions

Reading Time: 6 minutes

General questions

How must I apply?

The application process is done completely online:

  • For new clients: go to lulalend.co.za and click on the Apply Now button.
  • For existing clients: go to lulalend.co.za and click on Log In
  • Complete your personal details, then your business and financial information.
  • Link your online bank account to Yodlee. This will allow you to provide us your bank transactional information in a read-only format. Alternatively you can link your Sage or Xero account for us to view your transactional history or upload a PDF version of your latest 3 month bank statements.

 

How long will it take to process the application?

Providing we have all the necessary information, the assessment and disbursement can take place within 24 hours.

  • The actual application process should take 8 minutes
  • If you link your online bank account via Yodlee (preferred option) or provide Internet bank statements, we are then able to process the application within one hour. If we need to manually capture the bank statements, then our processing time depends on the volume of transactions.

 

What is the minimum and maximum term? Can I extend the term?

Our funding period is over 6 and 12 months. However, being a new client and trading for less than 2 years the system usually only allows a 6 month term. The 6 month term is much more flexible than 12 months. If you ensure that the re-payments are met on time you can apply for a re-advance in less than 4 months. Whereas our 12 month product will only allow a re-advance in approximately 8 months.

 

What if I want to settle early?

You are welcome to settle early and no penalties will be charged. All future costs associated with your advance will be waivered.

 

What is the minimum and maximum amounts offered?

Our funding ranges from R20,000.00 to R1 000,000.00

 

How does Lulalend use my online banking profile?

Both Yodlee and Lulalend can’t perform any payments, transfers or any other transactions using your information. Yodlee simply uses your securely stored login details for one purpose only: to retrieve transactions from your banking site. Lulalend uses your financial data for the sole purpose of assessing whether you qualify for a loan.

 

What makes us different to other lenders or banks?

  • Our process is much faster and completely online
  • We require no paperwork
  • We do not charge admin and initiation fees
  • Our costs are transparent and agreed upon upfront
  • There are no penalty fees for settling early
  • Funds are disbursed within 48 hours of submitting your application
  • We offer unsecured funding

 

What are the requirements to apply for funding?

We require that your business has a minimum monthly turnover of R40,000.00 as well as an annual turnover of at least R400,000.00 and it must be actively trading for at least one year.

 

What interest rates do you charge?

Our funding is not linked to any interest rate calculation. We charge a fee (cost) which is based on a % of the principal amount funded. The cost varies between 5% and 12% and is determined based on the risk and overall scoring of the business. (Here you can refer to our calculator).

 

What would my instalments be?

The accurate amounts would be dependent on your application outcome, but if you scroll to the bottom of our home page you can view a breakdown based on average risk.

 

How do your repayments work?

Monthly costs are 3% – 10% of your advanced amount for the first 2 or 4 months (plan dependant) and 2% for each of the remaining months.

Can I refinance my Lulalend advance before I have repaid all my instalments?

Yes you may apply for a Lulalend re-advance. Please contact a Lulalend consultant to discuss your re-advance options.

 

Do you offer personal loans?

Unfortunately not. We only offer business funding to registered South African companies, close corporations and sole proprietors who are VAT registered.

 

My business is not making R40, 000.00 per month but I have contracts lined up which will generate approximately that. Can I still apply – AND/OR – I have a government tender, can I get funding?

Our affordability assessment (measure of business financial health) is based on the historical financial information of the business. Unfortunately, we do not take future contracts into account.

 

Can I apply for funding for a start-up or new business?

Unfortunately, you need a successful trading history of at least 1 year, as well as a turnover of at least R400,000 per year to qualify for Lulalend business funding.

 

What is a credit facility?

This is a facility that gives your business access to a line of credit which allows you to draw down on available funds without us needing to do an assessment on your business each time.

 

What are the benefits of the facility?

  • Access to funds whenever you need them
  • Only ever pay for the funds you draw down
  • Settle early and save on future months costs

 

How long is my credit facility available for?

As long as you continue to trade well, the facility is available to you. Please note that you will need to remain linked via your online banking account or online accounting profile (Sage or Xero) to avoid placing your facility on hold.

 

How do I drawdown on my facility?

Log onto your Lulalend profile and go to the Credit Facility tab. You will see the available amount that you are able to draw down. Select the amount and click “Withdraw now”. You will then be presented with a legal agreement to sign online.

 

What happens to my repayment profile each time I draw down?

Each draw down cancels out the existing repayment profile and puts you on a new payment profile based on the total capital outstanding after the draw down.

 

When can and can’t I draw down on my facility?

You are allowed to draw down at any time, other than:

  • when you are in arrears on any Lulalend product.
  • when the Facility is placed on hold.
  • 48 hours prior to your next debit order.

 

How much does it cost to have a credit facility?

It will not cost anything to have a credit facility product. You only ever pay for the funds you use.

 

What would my instalment and costs be for the facility?

Every month you pay back 1/6th of the total advanced amount plus the monthly cost. For the first 2 months, monthly costs are 3% – 6% of the capital amount drawn down and 2% for each of the remaining 4 months.

 

How do I increase my facility amount?

Log onto your Lulalend profile and go to the Credit Facility tab. You will see a red circle with an arrow next to Credit Facility Limit amount. You need to click on the Arrow and fill in the amount you would like to increase to.

 

My credit facility is on-hold, what does that mean?

This will occur when the system requires further information which has been flagged for review. A credit analyst will be in touch with you for more information if required.

 

Does the business information I submit online remain confidential?

Yes, all information submitted online is treated confidentially and will only be used by the Lulalend team to obtain an application result.

 

How long has Lulalend been around?

Since 2014

 

Is Lulalend registered with any financial bodies/institutions?

Yes, we are registered with the NCR and are also a member of the South African SME Finance Association.

 

Can I come to your offices to complete a form?

No, we are an online business and only accept applications via our website.

 

Where are you based and do you fund businesses outside of Cape Town?

We are based in Cape Town but service businesses throughout South Africa.

 

Do I need to send any other information for my application such as financial statements?

No, we only require your latest 3 months bank transaction history and all other details are captured during the online application process.

 

Can I attach my assets for funding?

No, we only offer unsecured funding. We do not call for collateral.

 

Can I apply if I/my business has a listing or judgement?

Unfortunately Lulalend will not be able to assist you if you have any adverse listings on your name or adverse listings against your company’s name. You are welcome to apply should these adverse listings/judgements be removed.

 

How do I sign the legal agreement?

Once you have accepted our quotation, we will send your legal agreement via Quicklysign.  You and two independent witnesses will then need to digitally sign the agreement on the same PC/laptop.

 

How do I make changes to my application details (e.g. email, address, bank details)?

Please contact our team via our support email: support@lulalend.co.za.

 

What happens if I am late with my payments?

You will receive an email notification that the debit order was unsuccessful and will subsequently be contacted by our collections department. A late payment fee will be charged, if no action is taken to settle the outstanding amount we will then proceed with legal action.

 

What do I do if my credit profile is incorrect?

You will be required to contact Compuscan and have them update any incorrect information.

 

I can’t remember my Lulalend password, what do I do?

You will need to navigate to https://www.lulalend.co.za/Account/Login and click on ‘Forgot your password? Reset it now »’. You will then receive an email to reset your password (as we do not have access to view your password).

 

My business is not registered for VAT?

The VAT registration number is used for verification purposes. If your business is not registered with CIPC we require a valid VAT registration number.

  • If your business is registered as a PTY Ltd then we do not require a VAT number
  • If you are a Sole Trader we need a VAT registration number to proceed.

 

Why business productivity does not equal how much you can do in a day

Why business productivity does not equal how much you can do in a day

Reading Time: 3 minutes

We all dream of being able to take on the world: getting everything done that we need to do and still having time left over for more. We envy business giants like Richard Branson, Shaun Bezo, Warren Buffet and Arianna Huffington. They seem to have it all figured out. Success follows everything they touch and they seem to have found the perfect formula for productivity. It’s easy to grow despondent when we compare ourselves or when we start to define productivity by how much we can get done in a day.

The truth is each of them have had their fair share of failures. They had to learn along the way, put support systems in place, and spend time redefining success and productivity. For example, according to Business Insider, Chick-fil-A CEO Dan Cathy had a “thinking schedule.” He blocked out lots of time to think: half a day every two weeks and a whole day every month. Similarly, LinkedIn CEO Jeff Weiner makes it a point to schedule nothing and President Obama used to take thoughtful walks when he was working from the White House.

The industry of productivity

With an explosion of technology that advocates for efficiency we wouldn’t put ‘setting time aside to think or do nothing’ in the productivity category. In fact, if you were to schedule that into your diary it would probably make you feel lazy, unproductive and guilty. That’s probably because we’ve created an industry out of getting more stuff done with less. We’ve gone from hard cover diaries and writing out to-do-lists to shared schedule technology for syncing plans and setting up meetings, ready-made meals we can pop into the oven and prepare in minutes, voice search technology for immediate access to information, online shopping to avoid a trip to the store, and a host of other productivity tools for our personal and business use.

These aren’t bad things. A lot of them have made our lives more convenient, but as they help us accomplish more in less time they have also shaped what we think productivity looks like. In a world that equates being busy to being productive maybe we need to reevaluate our own definitions of the concept of productivity.

How we’ve redefined productivity as value added

At Lulalend we have monthly goals and targets we want to reach, but one of our core values is striving to leave work each day feeling good about what we’ve achieved. If we feel good about that it doesn’t necessarily mean that we got through our to-do-list. Instead it means that we made every effort to do what we could for the day and what we did manage to get through we did well and it added value.

This doesn’t mean we’re tucked behind our desks staring at a computer all day. We brainstorm and throw out ideas while grabbing a coffee made by our favourite baristas downstairs at Tribe Coffee, or we just grab a coffee. Our teams get together in one of our boardrooms to consult one another on several things throughout the day. We take walks around the city to get some fresh air, or sit in our common area listening to music while coming up with creative campaign ideas. This is because we’re less about the business of ticking off tasks and more about the business of contributing something of value. Getting through a list doesn’t necessarily mean we’ve contributed value, it might just mean that we’ve got a bunch of stuff done.

So, we’ve redefined productivity by the value of our output instead of just the measure of our output. We realised that we can put in extra hours and get to every item on our list but still not add value to our business. And if we don’t add value to the business, we don’t add value to our clients.

But what does this look like? Well, we make sure in everything we do we offer better quality service to our clients. We build the best technology so that we can provide the best solution to financial inclusion, we ensure that we understand our client’s biggest needs and challenges, we deliver what we promise, we educate and provide expert advice, we invest in partnerships, we lend responsibly, we make it as easy as possible for our clients to ask for credit and access it, and we continually look for ways to innovate and improve our products.

How do you define productivity and what does this look like in your business?