PR is an ideal way to spread the word about your small business.
That’s why we’re giving a R10 000 PR package to the winner of this year’s SANTAM Women of the Future Awards.
We’ve partnered with CN&CO to offer the prize.
Below, CN&CO’s Colin Ford writes about how you can generate PR for your SME.
How to Generate PR for Your Small Business
Public relations is a form of information management that gets public exposure for your brand or product line and/or for yourself as a business owner. PR can help to shape the credibility of your brand and the way people perceive you and your business.
The main purpose of PR is to share your message with the appropriate audience without having to pay for placement. Once you pay, it’s called advertising, and that’s an entirely different topic.
The effective use of PR can benefit your brand enormously and help you to grow relationships with the media and, ultimately, with your customers.
Here are a few tips for doing good PR:
1.Tell good stories
This might seem obvious – but remember the word “good” is extremely subjective. What you think is interesting or important might not be everybody’s cup of tea. You need to find angles that are newsworthy and tell stories that your consumers want to hear. And remember to keep it simple. The more streamlined and snappy your message is, the more likely it is to be remembered.
2. Choose the right media for your brand
Find out what media your customers consume and focus your energies there. Many business owners want to be seen on the front page of the Sunday newspaper, or be interviewed on talk radio by the financial guru simply because those are the media they themselves consume. Remember, your customers might not have access to the newspaper, or even listen to talk radio. The right medium could be a local knock-and-drop newspaper or a popular blog. It all depends on what you’re selling, who you’re selling it to and what your message is.
3. Build relationships
PR is a process; you need to work on building relationships both with the media and with your customers. Ultimately you want to become the person journalists call when they need information in your particular field of expertise. These relationships can take years to build. Be patient, be honest, be dependable and always be available.
4. Integrate with your marketing strategy
There’s no point saying one thing in your PR and another on, for example, your social media. Make sure your message is consistent across your advertising and communication platforms so as not to confuse your audience – or yourself!
5. Call in the experts
If you don’t feel comfortable or confident dealing with the media, speak to an experienced PR agency and see what they can do for you. A well-placed article or quote in a respected newspaper, magazine, radio station or blog can do wonders for both your business’s brand and your own.
For more on the Women of the Future awards, read Lulalend’s blog about the competition.
Having an arsenal of advice that you can turn to for inspiration, wisdom, or simply to know that you’re not in this alone, can be a game changer for business owners. Not every day is the same, and some days are harder than others.
We’ve put together a list of TEDx Talks from those that have failed and got back up, those that have learned valuable things along the way, those who know what it takes to build business success, and those who believe Africa is a hot spot for local businesses to thrive alongside local economies.
Magatte Wade,brand creator on why it’s hard to start a business in Africa and how to change that
Many African countries are poor for a simple reason, says entrepreneur Magatte Wade: governments have created far too many obstacles to starting and running a business. In this passionate talk, Wade breaks down the challenges of doing business on the continent and offers some solutions of her own — while calling on leaders to do their part, too.
Leticia Gasca, author and entrepreneur on not failing fast, but failing mindfully
We celebrate bold entrepreneurs whose ingenuity led them to success, but what happens to those who fail? Far too often, they bury their stories out of shame or humiliation — and miss out on a valuable opportunity for growth, says author and entrepreneur Leticia Gasca. In this thoughtful talk, Gasca calls for business owners to open up about their failures and makes the case for replacing the idea of “failing fast” with a new mantra: fail mindfully.
Martin Reeves, Strategist on how to build a business that lasts 100 years
If you want to build a business that lasts, there may be no better place to look for inspiration than your own immune system. Join strategist Martin Reeves as he shares startling statistics about shrinking corporate life spans and explains how executives can apply six principles from living organisms to build resilient businesses that flourish in the face of change.
Knut Haanaes, Strategist on two reasons companies fail – and how to avoid them
Is it possible to run a company and reinvent it at the same time? For business strategist Knut Haanaes, the ability to innovate after becoming successful is the mark of a great organization. He shares insights on how to strike a balance between perfecting what we already know and exploring totally new ideas — and lays out how to avoid two major strategy traps.
Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Economist on Want to help Africa? Do business here
We know the negative images of Africa — famine and disease, conflict and corruption. But, says Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, there’s another, less-told story happening in many African nations: one of reform, economic growth and business opportunity.
Let Lulalend be a part of your businesses’ success by increasing your financial tolerancesupporting with your financial needs. For business funding on the go turn to Lulalend for your free quote today. Take a few minutes to complete our online application form today and get your free quote today.
Get access to our credit facility and have access to finance whenever you need it. Only pay for what you use when you use it.
Click here to apply online
Seasonality and business cycles are a certainty, but at least you can plan for them because they are predictable. For some, this is a bumper time for their business but for others, it may feel like the annual graveyard shift. Everything from holiday’s, winter months, tax season, and paydays are part of a business cycle.
If you haven’t got a clear plan for these ups and downs we have some tips below to help you prepare well and confidently enter those business periods.
Identify the cycles that will affect your business
If you don’t know, you can’t plan. Even if you haven’t been in business very long you know your industry and whether certain times of the year are slower or more profitable than others. This gives you several advantages. You can put extra finances aside for these months by adjusting your forecast accordingly, offer specials, or find ways to reduce overheads.
Build alternative income streams
This can involve partnerships that allow for shared campaign costs and reduce overheads for both parties. Alternatively, consider referral campaigns that get rewarded, highlight new products, and stay in touch with existing customers to communicate special offerings. There are many creative solutions so brainstorm ideas that suit your business and support your brand.
Put extra budget aside for marketing
Looking at the previous years’ finances can help you assess seasonality and trends to give you a good indication of when your business has quiet seasons. This can help you plan for marketing campaigns and budget. Plan accordingly so that you can put aside extra budget for campaigns, online marketing efforts, events, or special offers that require more stock at these times. But make sure you have a strategy that is relevant to your customers, you don’t want to waste these funds on ineffective marketing. If you aren’t sure how to best market your business, consider spending that budget to hire a marketing agency that can assist you.
Plan invoicing strategies
These cycles can have an effect on your cash flow as customers are slow to pay or debit order dates change. Plan for months like February that are shorter. Months like this, as well as public holidays, effect payday and debit orders. Business days are also limited while targets stay the same, in comparison to months with more working days this can put a strain on cash flow.
Know where to find quick access to funding
Sometimes you simply don’t have the budget to put aside at these times of year and you need to look for alternative funding. The banks can take a long time and seasonality just doesn’t allow for waiting around. Business lenders like Lulalend bridge this divide by offering immediate funding or a credit facility that you can drawdown from at any time to use as and when needed.
Easter is more than just a weekend devoted to gorging on chocolate shaped bunnies and eggs. Depending on what industry you’re in – you’re either in a frenzy to get staff and inventory sorted for a busy period, or preparing for some well-deserved time off over the long weekend. And with the Easter holidays not coinciding with the school holidays there is more to consider this year. Preparation is key in either case, and that’s why we’ve put together some essential tips to get your business ready for the Easter weekend.
Try Easter incentives for customers
Across a variety of SME industries, purchases can be incentivised by adding small festive extras; It could be as simple as adding a little Easter Egg with each purchase, an Easter special offer, a free hot cross bun with every meal or coffee order, or taking a gold coin to guess how many Easter eggs are in a jar. Get festive, and have fun with it.
Get the word out
It’s important to keep your customer base informed of your availability over the holiday weekend. This is especially important for SMEs in the hospitality industry. While some cafes and restaurants will be closed, it’s important to get the word out if you’re staying open – if you hope to take advantage of the reduced competition. Jump on Facebook or Instagram to make a social post, update Google My Business with the ‘Special Hours’ feature to reach those searching for a place that’s open, or if you’re in brick and mortar retail and hospitality; you can get creative with a sandwich board out front to let customers know you’re in business.
Stay on top of your finances
For those SMEs keeping busy over Easter, it can be difficult to source the funding required to employ staff on holiday rates, improve shop displays, and cover the cost of extra stock. For those taking the time off, you’ll still have to keep on top of invoices and pay wages for the time you aren’t receiving income. In either scenario, cashflow is key, and getting access to the funds you need is simple and easy with Lulalend. Contact us for a free quote, with no paperwork required. You’ll receive an instant decision on how much you qualify for. Access up to R1 million in 24 hours and make sure you’re Easter ready.
We pride ourselves as one of a new breed of digital-first fintech companies designed from the ground up to support South African SMEs. We’ve spent countless hours refining our scoring technology to ensure we can provide quick, easy short-term funding through a convenient online interface. In some cases, we are able to provide approval on a loan application within a single day – a far cry from the three-month wait most traditional lenders demand.
That got us thinking: what happens in a typical business day? What are some of the main business activities that play out in the time it takes us to process and approve a loan application?
Here are some of the amazing things that take place on an average working day:
- 8 million people get ready for work at 650 000 SMEs across the country
- 683 new SMEs are established
- 868 new SME jobs are created
- R11 billion in economic value is created
- 15 million minibus commuter trips take place
- 6 million people order coffee from an independent coffee shop
- R101 million is spent on online transactions
- 8 billion emails are sent and received
See our infographics for more amazing stats
What can data mean for your business?
As a small business there isn’t a lot of room for wasted effort, and yet running a business is fraught with uncertainty. How do you make good decisions? As a business owner, you know that any edge you can get can help. In today’s digital age almost everyone and everything is a potential source of data. Turning that data into insight and then into action can provide you with a valuable decision-making tool.
But what is “data” and how can you get it, and use it? It isn’t magical, and it’s not that mysterious. You may have heard of data being used in big companies such as Google and Microsoft, and you may also have heard about others using your own personal data. It has become a buzzword, and can very quickly lose meaning when everyone is doing something different with it and calling it the same thing.
For a small company that data might be as simple as knowing more about:
- Who your customers are
- Where the costs are
- Tracking the performance of marketing efforts.
Where to start?
Using data (or information) is basically getting evidence for your assumptions, and can be used as a tool to ensure your business is on the right track. The task of getting your company into the digital age and solidifying your position can be daunting. Where previously, certain decisions might have been driven by intuition and experience, it can now be more difficult to find traction without getting bogged down by the latest trends. Laurie McCabe says that, “The place to start is to ask yourself what you need to know about your business that you don’t know already. What questions do you have that you can’t get answers to today? Everything should be driven from that.”
Don’t waste your time
You need to figure out what is valuable for your business. It doesn’t help collecting all the data possible, especially if you are a small business where those resources could be better used in other areas. Not everything may be relevant or useful to your business. Whatever data you are going to be looking at it has to be able to influence your decision-making, or be actionable in some way. If you are only collecting data for the sake of it you are only wasting your time. Collecting everything just in case is a lot more stressful than collecting, and measuring, something to answer specific questions.
It is a process of trial and error to find the data that can drive your decision-making. The most commonly used data is that surrounding customers and company processes.
What metrics are important for your business?
When your business has some information or data to work with (perhaps in an Excel spreadsheet, Google sheet, or in a database) the next best thing you can do is to start tracking key metrics specific to your business. These metrics are often called KPIs (key performance indicators). If you don’t know how your business was doing in the past, you won’t know if you are doing better or worse at present. Data can help you see if the decisions you make are effective, or ineffective.
A simple example might be a delivery service that suddenly has a much further average travel distance. Looking at the data could help you answer important business questions, and help you to respond effectively. Some questions in this example may be as follows:
- Is this because there is a new cluster of customers further away?
- What routes are the drivers taking?
- What times are the peak times for deliveries?
- Do you need to open up a base of operations in that area to better service these clients?
You wouldn’t know if you weren’t tracking who your customers were over time. Responding to business needs, being aware of changes and trends, and recognising where things should change to be more efficient are all areas where data can help you make informed decisions.
Using data in your company isn’t the answer – but it will help you to ask the most important questions and find some answers along the way. It’s important to remember that the data you are looking for, or choose to use, has to add value to your decision making processes.
Lulalend takes a data-driven approach to ensure that we are meeting the needs of SMEs. This helps us to drive efficiency internally and externally for our clients. Because time is a huge asset for small business owners we ensure that our data-driven approach makes the application process and response time quick and easy. Because of this Lulalend is a leader in the alternative lending space, and often the reasons why small businesses prefer our products and services.
If you haven’t yet applied for funding with Lulalend you can do so by visiting our website and completing our online application form. It takes 10 minutes and you can expect a response within 24 hours or less. If you need to see it to believe it, simply apply here: www.lulalend.co.za