From humble beginnings to global player: Here are some tips to help you grow your business.
According to the South African Reserve Bank, small business in South Africa contributes to 60% of employment as well as between 52 – 57% of business in total.
As a result, one cannot deny the importance of small business locally and of course, when these companies grow, it makes room for strong economic growth.
In fact, small businesses is where it all starts - it’s where the blood, sweat and tears comes from, its where a dream becomes a reality and ideally, it’s from these small beginnings that larger global businesses are born.
Related: 6 Principles to increase your influence – today: Consistency
The South African business landscape
Certainly, in South Africa we live in tough times. Markets are crowded, the rand/dollar is down, our workforce is threatened and the threat of theft within the environment is rife.
It is going to take a lot for small businesses to survive – never mind grow – and resultantly it is going to take one smart businessman/women to grow their business into something bigger.
As such, it is now that small business owners need to take heed of critical aspects that will drive growth and catapult them into other markets – aspects that they can use to identify new opportunities.
Understand that success takes hard work
As a start, it is all about hard work, a little bit of luck and having the right funding model to be able to grow your business. It is about making smart choices, guided by market research and critical understanding of not only the local market, but the one you would like to operate in.
The power of partnerships
So how do you research a market that has language barriers and how do you gain access to these market to provide the right product for their consumers?
It’s simple really – partnerships. Trustworthy, passionate partners are business critical. In business, either locally or internationally, a network of people you trust - whether franchisees or funding partners – is the only way a business can succeed. However, a key mistake many people make is that they choose their partners based on how deep their pockets are.
On the flipside of this, if your partners are not invested in the business in terms of passion and a shared vision – these partnerships will fail, or worse yet – the business will. Key to growth then is being picky about your partnerships, a core vision that is shared among partners goes a long way in its success.
Related: Business partnership agreements
A winning product is key
A business is only as good as its product so make sure you have the best product in the market. Sure there are many competitors, but find your differentiator and place emphasis on this and remain consistent in terms of product delivery.
For example, we don’t change our flavour profile into any of the markets in which we operate. Sure, menus may differ in terms of side dishes, but our core flavour profile and product remains the same worldwide.
Managing supply chain
It is key that you keep control of your supply chain. So many businesses outsource their supply chain logistics which, in the short term, keeps the clocks ticking and makes logistics processes easier. In the long-term, it opens up room for the quality of your product to fail.
Because of this supply chain control is essential in ensuring your product is consistent and that the consumer’s experience with your brand is dependable – no matter where in the world they are.
Ensuring you tell your story
So, you have great partners and a great product, but how do you ensure that your brand is known within the market? Well, great products sell themselves and so your job is half done. However, as the deal-maker, you need to talk the talk. Speak of your journey and your story often and with passion.
People only buy from, and partner with, those that are authentic and believable and as such, it is important that businesses looking to grow are led by people that talk from the heart, that are believable and that remain grounded.
Businesses led by these types of people are almost always successful. For example, in my experience, opportunity is opened up for those businessmen whose companies are profitable and who show real growth and commitment to the franchise model.
Related: Want to convert to a franchise model?
Qualities of a successful entrepreneur
South Africa, and the world, is a complicated place to do business but, with the right attitude and a humble approach to growth, it is also a very exciting place that boasts much opportunity for all. Businesses hoping to succeed in this market, or to expand, need to hold three qualities in my opinion;
- a willingness to work hard and
- the ability to trust their gut when it comes to important business decisions.
All else follows and with a little guidance and reaching out to ‘those in the know’, there is no reason for your business to fail – now is the time to make a few small changes that will make a big difference.