The year 2022 has brought with it some not-so-pleasant surprises, including supply chain issues left over from the pandemic lockdowns and a war that further threatens a number of sectors with regard to supplies.
“While we are fortunate not to be close to the physical aspects war brings, and feel for all those who are, we may find ourselves having to accommodate certain shortages,” says Andrew Maren, CEO and founder of fintech firm ProfitShare Partners.
“Still, African-based companies have had to deal with the hard yards in the past, and our inherent innovation has seen us find – or create – workarounds to many tough situations.”
Taking all this into account, here are some tips for maintaining and/or growing your business as we reach mid-year…
- Review your business strategy
The value of having a written business strategy from the start is that you can review and update it periodically. After a tough two years, mid-year 2022 may be a good time to look at your strategy and make sure it’s still ticking all the right boxes.
Take a look at any loans you have outstanding, and make sure you’re paying the best interest rate you can get. Some banks will take on your loan and give you a better deal. Remember, using your cash flow up on repaying loans is not always a good idea – so make sure you follow financial trends and have your accountant direct you.
Note how much marketing your competitors are doing and see if you are, at least match them. During times of financial distress, many companies cut their marketing budget first – and often regret not being “top of mind” when customers do have the money to spend on your products or services.
2. Customer service as a priority
If you’re still in business after a few years, customer service is likely to be a priority in your company. However, there’s always room for a little more effort in this area and novel ways to ensure your customers are valued.
Make sure newer staff members call clients as often as your business strategy suggests, not just to sell but to find out if the client is still happy with your service and/or product, and if there’s anything they’d like to discuss.
Follow up with an e-mail, either noting that you’re working on their request, or thanking them for the chat and support and that your firm is glad they’re happy with your service.
3. Is your marketing activity working for you?
Review the platforms and engagement your company currently participates in – PR, social media, blogging and email drives. Are you using a media platform that your market actually visits? Note the current figures on how many people use a specific platform, and what its demographics are.
Something like Twitter offers a quick way for people to engage without using up a lot of data – but a site like Instagram or even TikTok may reach fewer people in your specific market, but those it does reach may have the budget to purchase your goods.
If you don’t have a PR company and a social media team on board, a “pop-up PR” and social drive periodically can be well worth the spend, and many smaller companies will take this work on a once-off, flat-rate fee, plus give you measurable results of your return on investment (ROI).
4. All your eggs in one basket…
Some of the world’s greatest business people will warn you not to put all your eggs in one basket. If you’re in the business of selling widgets, make sure you have more than one manufacturer and supplier. Recent supply chain issues have impacted many businesses, so do what you can to ensure you’re ready for all eventualities.
Take a look at the industries that failed and those that succeeded through the pandemic’s lockdowns. For example, the events industry was forced to virtually shut down altogether. So if your company supplied, for example, furniture and decor for weddings, as well as catering services, you were like massively impacted.
Think about what you know – like catering for large groups – and be prepared to shift gears into other areas quickly. Look at industries like mining, construction and others that have a large staff complement, and see if they’d be keen to engage your services. Take an inventory of sectors you could offer services or products to and make sure you’re able to make the switch when necessary.
Says Maren: “Those who paid attention to opportunities over the past few years know the value of being agile. As a fintech that responds rapidly to SMEs that need access to cash quickly, ProfitShare Partners is well-versed in being business nimble.
“If you’re looking for capital to take you a level higher, take a look at our services and if you qualify, we can not only provide the cash, but the experience and advice that may be what you need to not just survive 2022, but to thrive.”