Gearing up for success: Three practical ways to make your small business bloom this spring
Spring is just around the corner, and for countless small businesses across the country, the season marks the beginning of the end-of-year rush. As the days progress steadily towards the busy festive period, small businesses have a small window of opportunity to prepare for the year-end sprint. Ensuring your business blooms this spring will take some strategic thought, good decision-making and practical action.
This is the opinion of Janeesha Ragubeer, Area Manager at Business Partners Limited, who anticipates a good season for South African small businesses heading towards the end of 2023. “Now is the perfect time to take stock – on every level, to regroup, review your performance and adjust your positioning in the marketplace in line with industry trends. While it has certainly been a tough year for many small businesses, spring brings with it better prospects and hopefully, a renewed drive to boost sales.”
Sowing seeds in the right season: review your marketing mix
Ragubeer has a few pointers for business owners who are ready to get into the spring spirit, and as she advises, the best place to start is to plant the right seeds. This means choosing the right ways to market your small business, based on data that’s been gathered throughout the year. While the impulse to build a presence on every social media platform or use a ‘spray and pray’ method of marketing may be tempting, Ragubeer encourages business owners to optimise their marketing budgets by being selective about where they choose to spread the word.
It's important to align your marketing strategy with what works for your specific target audience. Analytics can provide invaluable insights. Metrics such as engagement rate, click-through rate, web traffic volumes and cost-per-click are important indicators of which platforms your audience is using, what kind of content they are consuming and how best to target them. This kind of data will provide you with a roadmap for the last few months of the year and ensure that every rand spent is producing the best possible return on investment.
Cut back the clutter to allow room for growth
The next step is to do some pruning, which will involve evaluating aspects such as your operational efficiency, customer feedback, market trends and your long-term goals. It should also involve taking a detailed look at your cashflow and finding ways to cut back on unnecessary expenses. What may have worked for your business in the past – even in terms of factors such as staff recruitment – may not necessarily be what will work in your next phase of growth.
“You may think of the idea of pruning as being a process of discarding parts of your business or ways of working, which may cause some hesitancy. This process, however, is as much about removal as it is about allowing space for regrowth and new growth. Simple examples could be cutting back on subscriptions or software packages that are not being put to good use, reviewing a business insurance policy or selling off old equipment. By removing the clutter, you’ll gain a clearer vision of where you’d like to take your business next,” says Ragubeer.
Let in the light
Springtime is traditionally associated with a period of renewal and regeneration, and by taking decisive action, that is exactly what it could mean for your business. It’s the ideal time of year to catch some sun or embrace a new direction or fresh perspective. Creativity and innovation can provide your business with the fuel you need to accelerate the pace of growth and help you gain more traction in the market.
As she concludes: “You can start by cultivating a culture of creativity within your team. This could take the form of regular think tank sessions or brainstorms, where team members’ opinions and suggestions are given a forum for expression, regardless of their position within the business. A great way to encourage an ‘always on’ culture is to incentivise staff for bringing in new ideas and adding their voice to business development conversations. Not only will this breathe new life into your product or service offering, but it could also reignite the team’s energy and drive to succeed.”