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Why Savvy Social Entrepreneurs Should Use Digital Marketing For Business Growth

Social entrepreneurs – you need to be adding these tools and techniques to your digital marketing repertoire.

Chivas

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The ever-expanding world of the Internet and mobile devices is enhancing the ability of social entrepreneurs to bring life-enhancing solutions to millions globally. However, just having a product ‘in the ether’ doesn’t guarantee success.

Effective marketing makes all the difference – it makes a service noticeable and accessible.

“The growth of the Internet, social media and digital marketing has enabled small enterprises to compete on equal terms with big businesses,” says Mrs Reeves, Marketing Manager: Scotch Whisky at Chivas Regal South Africa.

To the 27 finalists of The Chivas Regal The Venture competition getting ready to pitch their ideas to an expert panel in New York for their share of USD1 000 000 million, marketing will have to be a key focus.

Related: Eva Longoria And Social Entrepreneurship

This must be considered if they are to achieve their dreams of taking their products global so they can have the most impact on peoples’ lives.

“In this digital age, it’s vital that start-ups make full use of the benefits available in the digital marketplace, including social media,” explains Mrs Reeves.

“This often means filling gaps in marketing knowledge and translating these into action, so growth opportunities are created.”

In only a few years, social media platforms have not only evolved into useful marketing tools, but also valid channels through which consumers express their views and receive customer service.

A major advantage of this is that consumers can assess a company on its offerings only. The rest depends on responsiveness, the quality of an offering and the service experience provided.

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As small companies are generally more ‘hands-on’, the opportunities to build large, faithful customer bases are real. Add the convenience for customers to take up offers 24 hours a day, and the picture is complete.

According to Mrs Reeves, the tools that should be considered include:

  • Websites and ‘owned media’, such as blogs
  • Managed properties, such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest or mobi sites
  • Media sites where people talk about businesses. This involves taking time to consider all options and then developing a digital public relations campaign that encourages people to get to know and discuss your business online
  • While marketing efforts may drive traffic to targeted social sites, customer service teams should meet customers where they are already socialising.

“An advantage of digital sites is that they are far easier to measure than the more traditional forms of marketing,” Mrs Reeves continues.

“Every time a site is opened, this is recorded and tracked, providing the owner with a synopsis of how often the site is opened and even what products are most often viewed.”

Valuable ‘conversations’ with customers can also be created by offering value-added features, such as interactive devices specific to products (e.g. calculators); in-depth information on the technical aspects of products and tips for optimal product and service use.

Related: Make The Perfect Business Pitch To Win The Right Way

For smaller businesses, costs and budgets are usually major concerns. These can be minimised by:

  • Setting up a business website: Initial costs and monthly fees are required, but this is generally the most effective way to enter the digital market
  • Using Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) to attract visitors: The costs of this approach are negotiable. Key search words can be regularly changed, so the best phrases for your business can be developed on a ‘trial and error’ basis
  • Setting up a Facebook page or Twitter account etc.: These don’t involve initial costs, but time is required to ensure that profiles are kept current
  • Getting onto LinkedIn: This can provide business leads and networking opportunities

“Although these options provide easy entry into digital marketing, it’s worth researching what other companies in your sector are doing and what services they are using. This information can be used to address the gaps you may see on their sites,” advises Mrs Reeves.

An understanding of digital marketing is key for social entrepreneurs as it will help them increase their impact in addressing socio-economic ills while incorporating current business practices to grow their social enterprises.

“Though digital marketing seems quick and easy, it is almost worthless without a well-thought-out strategy,” says Mrs Reeves.

To ensure future prosperity, the social entrepreneurs must decide on two crucial factors before they start tweeting or instagramming; what they want to accomplish, and their brand identity.

“Once they know this, they will be able to speak with a specific, unified voice; set up a digital marketing budget; and – most critically – plan and measure their success.”

Chivas are looking for exceptional start-ups that use business innovatively to transform communities and solve global challenges. Whatever it is, if it's brilliant and can create real, positive change then Chivas want to hear from you.

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The Alfa Romeo Stelvio – More Than An SUV

The All-New Alfa Romeo Stelvio draws inspiration from the legendary mountain pass linking Italy to Switzerland, with 48 hairpins in quick succession.

Alfa Romeo

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The All-New Alfa Romeo Stelvio draws inspiration from the legendary mountain pass linking Italy to Switzerland, with 48 hairpins in quick succession. The Stelvio pass is widely seen as one of the most beautiful and engaging roads on the planet.

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Enhance Your Entrepreneurial Flair With An Online Postgraduate Diploma From The University Of Pretoria

The Department of Business Management at the University of Pretoria, a leader in business management education, will be offering an Online Postgraduate Diploma in Entrepreneurship for the 2018 academic year with some seminars to enrich your action learning experience.

Dr Alex Antonites

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The Department of Business Management at the University of Pretoria, a leader in business management education, will be offering an Online Postgraduate Diploma in Entrepreneurship for the 2018 academic year with some seminars to enrich your action learning experience.

The programme content focuses on the start-up processes, creativity and opportunity recognition, business planning and marketing as well as financial management. Furthermore, the programme emphasises entrepreneurial growth and small business policy development with relevance to the enabling environment.

Who should enrol?

The programme is designed for pre-, nascent and start-up entrepreneurs who want to attain an advanced degree in entrepreneurship. It is also intended for individuals who work in an entrepreneurial environment and are involved with small business policy development. Although many students in the programme have academic credentials in entrepreneurship or business management, the programme is also appropriate if your education and/or experience may be in other disciplines (e.g. engineering or medicine).

Admission requirements

A relevant bachelor’s degree.

Related: This Enterprises UP Expert Explains Why Start-Ups Really Fail

Additional programme information

The duration of the course is one year. The language of tuition is English and the course will be presented in two blocks by means of the blended learning method (70% online and 30% contact sessions). Students need continuous access to the internet to complete the course.

Course Contents

Overview of modules for Block A

  • Ideation-to-market: Starting up
  • International Business Venturing
  • Venturing Strategy Building (Part 1)

Overview of modules for Block B

  • Entrepreneurial Marketing
  • Entrepreneurial Supply Chain Management
  • Entrepreneurial Finance
  • Venturing Strategy Building (Part 2)

Click here for more information.

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Win A Business Makeover With Retail Capital To The Value Of R250 000

Retail Capital is giving SMEs an opportunity to win a makeover to build their brand with an investment of R250,000.

Retail Capital

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Retail Capital is giving SMEs an opportunity to win a makeover to build their brand with an investment of R250,000. During the summer campaign, SMEs are encouraged to share the vision of how they would like to see their business grow, and led by a team of experts, Retail Capital will work with the winning SME to help make their vision come true.

While South Africa’s economy is not faring well, Retail Capital CEO Karl Westvig remains optimistic about the country’s retail and hospitality sectors. “We are seeing some green shoots, with an increase in turnover in these sectors – starting from the end of September. Economic conditions remain very tough, but businesses seem to be trading well into October and we’re hoping this continues into the festive season trading.”

According to recent statistics from Statistics South Africa (Stats SA), South Africa’s retail sales rose by 5.5% year-on-year in August 2017, following a downwardly revised 1.6% gain in the previous month and above market expectations of 2.3%. It is the biggest gain in retail trade since August of 2012.

Related: How To Raise Working Capital Finance

“I do believe that these sectors will see an improvement during the summer season. But, key to this will be for small business owners to ensure that they have the right amount of stock, adequate cash flow, as well as other systems in place to meet the ever-changing needs of customers,” says Westvig.

For many small businesses, however, continually adapting to market changes requires cash injections that they don’t often have.

The prize includes the following:

  • Business plan/consulting
  • Marketing strategy
  • Design and branding
  • Website and social Media and,
  • R50k capital to gear your business.

Westvig explains that the summer campaign tagline ‘Your Vision. Our Belief’ really speaks to why Retail Capital first opened its doors. “Our goal is to see the potential of small businesses and to work with them in making these become a reality.”

He adds that the idea is not to simply help one business during the campaign either. Westvig points out that one of the biggest challenges that small businesses face in the sluggish economy is enough foot traffic through their doors. “Generally, the main hurdle in creating brand awareness and projecting credibility of their establishments boils down to establishing a strong online presence.”

“One of the first ways that South Africans identify a business or service provider that they want to work with is over social media – even in a country where the digital divide has traditionally separated the technological haves from the have-nots,” he says.

He explains that companies that don’t have a social media presence are running the risk of being overlooked entirely. “They may attract customers in their own community with signage or word of mouth, but to grow a business, they need to expand their reach – and that’s where social media comes in.”

But, the reality is that resource and time constraints mean that for many SMEs, social media is not prioritised. “Unfortunately for the average small business owner, they don’t have the time or expertise to get connected.”

Understanding the importance of having an online presence, Retail Capital has also committed to developing the digital presence of all campaign entrants. This would include setting up each entrant’s digital presence on platforms such as Google, Facebook, Twitter, Tripadvisor, Zomato and any others that may be relevant to their specific market or industry.

“As a partner to many SMEs in South Africa, we are continually looking at new and innovative ways to help provide them with the much-needed support in order for them to realise their visions. SMEs need to be supported with initiatives like targeted education and training, supportive legislation, and funding opportunities that collectively help them grow our national economy,” says Westvig.

Related: 6 Great Tips For A Successful Shark Tank Pitch

Who we are and what we do:

“More than R1.25 billion has been extended to a range of businesses including food trucks, hair salons, restaurants, spas and franchised retail stores. Many of these businesses have not been able to raise funding in any other way, other than to go to unscrupulous lenders,”says Karl Westvig, the CEO Retail Capital, a company that provides working capital with the help of innovative lending technology.

“We have also estimated that for every R160 000 we lend, we create a new job. This means that 625 jobs have been created purely by enabling small businesses to get the funding they need for working capital requirements or expansion opportunities.”

Retail Capital’s system, which enables it to advance funding to small businesses, based on real time information on credit card transactions, is providing a new funding alternative to entrepreneurs who have previously been turned away by banks. Because it is able to get actual sales information, it can approve funding immediately, and allow for flexible repayment options based on sales cycles of the particular businesses it is funding.

“This creates significant opportunity for small business owners to focus on their business and grow volumes or look for expansion opportunities rather than spend their time frantically trying to repay debt or keep the business alive after debt repayments have eaten away at any cash reserves they might have had.”

Retail Capital funding is repaid by it taking a percentage of a business’s recorded credit or debit card sales, with repayments fluctuating in line with their business cycle. This has the effect of ensuring that it isn’t overburdened with debt.

“In the past six years since starting the business, small businesses have had the benefit of R1 billion in funding they would have been unable to get through traditional channels,”says Westvig.

Against the backdrop of recessionary conditions in South Africa, Retail Capital’s client information reveals growth in informal sector turnover across a number of industries.

“We believe that growth in the informal sector is outstripping that of the formal sector,”says Westvig.

As a large proportion of the businesses it funds are women- and black-owned, there is evidence that entrepreneurs who have previously been excluded from access to finance are now enjoying success now that their access to finance problem has been solved.

Win A Business Makeover with Retail Capital

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