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How To Run Your Little Business Like A Big Behemoth

I believe in starting as you intend to finish. And, if you wish to grow and thrive in our ever-demanding world, this is the mind-set you need to employ.

Warren Bonheim

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Just because you are running a small business doesn’t mean you should have a small business mindset. Setting your enterprise up as if it were a big business is the foundation for making your SME a success.

I believe in starting as you intend to finish. And, if you wish to grow and thrive in our ever-demanding world, this is the mind-set you need to employ.

Setting the structures

If you run a professional well-oiled business, no matter what the size, people will take you seriously. Process engineering my business from the ground up was the best thing I ever did.

Related: Government Funding and Grants for Small Businesses

From the initial call coming into reception to the final sign off, every step needs to be mapped out, tracked and reported on. This is the foundation for a great business.

The benefits of having processes, checks and balances, can be massive for a business, especially when approaching the growth phase – where control is critical to success.

Goals & accountability

Create a company goal with realistic targets and budgets, then align each person in the business, including yourself, using clear KPI’s (Key Performance Indicators).

Clarity and communication is key, this ensures everyone knows what must be done to drive the business.

Make sure you set monthly EXCO/management meetings, with an agenda to review each department’s performance in relation to the company goals. Each person needs to be completely accountable, so avoid duplication of roles or responsibility. 

Give up the short-term mind-set

mind-set

Long term goals will determine where you will finish, but achieving them is done in small measurable results. It’s important not to be overwhelmed by big long-term goals.

How do you eat an elephant? In bite size chunks! Setting these goals into monthly and quarterly segments will allow you to track and manage them and ensure you stay on track.

Never allow yourself to make up the results next month, this is a slippery slope to constantly playing catch up.

Achieving set goals need to be the minimum, and a culture of over achieving will secure this.

Related: 4 Tips On Hiring In A Small Business

You can’t manage what you can’t measure

Making proactive decisions means having up-to-date, accurate information on hand. There are many affordable, and even free, software systems that allow you to manage and track the performance of each department, just like an enterprise multinational.

Take sales for example. The art of selling is about managing the numbers. From building the pipeline to ratios through the sales process, all of which can be managed through software which provides live dashboards that display the activity and efficiency of the sales person or department.

This can even be achieved on Microsoft Excel; there is really no excuse for this not to be done in every department, and the company as a whole. 

Overcome your fear

Most people fail to act fast enough to the information on hand. The reason for this is most often fear. Fear of confrontation, fear of change, fear of backing yourself and making a decision. Be decisive but not irrational, making long term decisions will ultimately build a strong thriving business. 

Related: Gearing Up For Funding Applications: What Does It Take For A Small Business To Be Funding-Ready?

Think big

The key to moving your SME into a corporate is playing above your weight. In order to move up the value chain, you constantly need to take on competition that are bigger and stronger than you.

Finding ways to offer more value than the competition will ultimately mean you can generate more revenue. You constantly need to assess your market and customer, and ensure you have more to offer.

Being smaller is often an advantage, it means being nimble and adapting to changes and customer needs faster. But, changes and strategy need to be well thought out, this cannot be flaky, so do your research.

Hundreds of huge corporates started out as SMEs, and, with the right mind-set and corporate culture in place, there’s no reason why yours can’t thrive too.

By playing the long-game and growing from the ground up, SME business owners have the power to create companies that evolve with the times and expand through insight. The real question is; do you dare to dream big enough?

Read next: Payroll Tax: 6 Things Small Business Owners Should Know

At 36 years of age Warren is the founder and CCO of Zinia, a highly profitable multi-million rand Internet Service Provider (ISP) and wholesaler that is growing 70% year-on-year since its inception in 2009. He started Zinia with his business partner Frank Mullen and from the outset ran the company like a big business with tight controls, a strong management team, statistics to inform decision-making and a process methodology that revolves around simplicity and innovation. Warren is the quintessential self-made entrepreneur: at the age of 22 he started and ran a PABX and Premicell business in the telecoms industry for seven years. His tech and business experience mixed with a passion for seeking “what’s next” is what makes him the successful leader he is today. Follow Zinia on Twitter.

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Small Business

A – Z Easy Small Business Ideas

Whether it’s a ‘eureka’ moment at three in the morning, or a persistent feeling that you’ve got a great small business idea, here’s some of the things you need to know to determine if you’re on to a good thing.

Entrepreneur

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List of Small Business Ideas

A small business is by no means a lesser one to the big corporates out there – even they were once small.

The term ‘small’ simply refers to the size of the company in terms of its turn-over (less than R1 million per annum) and its number of staff (usually 50 or less), certainly not its clout.

Related: How To Go From A Clever Idea To A Viable Moneymaker

In fact, it’s often small businesses that give large corporates a run for their money as being small allows for greater agility and flexibility, quicker turn-around time, and greater room for customisation. Ready to get your small business started?

A small business can start in a home kitchen, a spare room; it can start in a garage. It can start in a small rented office space with just a laptop computer and yourself manning it, or it can start between friends, spouses, business partners.

Mostly though, a small business has minimal staff, is started with a small amount of capital, and it carries low overheads.

Need small business ideas?

Take a look at the list below to help you start brainstorming. The key is to examine an industry that you have strengths in, and determine whether the skills and character you have (or can develop) can meet a need within that industry.

Here are some examples of businesses you can start from home:

A

  • Air-conditioner and appliance repair
  • App developer
  • Ad agency
  • Antique restoration and resale
  • Aquarium supplies and maintenance
  • Animal trainer.

If you have a skill and it can be sold to someone who needs your skills, it is a business.

B

  • Bookkeeping
  • Professional blogger
  • Business consultant
  • BEE consultant
  • Baker
  • Body guard service.

If you are looking at service oriented businesses, make sure you are properly qualified to perform the service and registered with the appropriate associations for credibility.

C

  • Catering business
  • Chef
  • Carpenter
  • Car mechanic
  • Cellphone repair
  • Child care
  • Computer maintenance and repair
  • Computer training or programming
  • Construction and clean-up
  • Customer service professional
  • Call-centre.

People will buy a product or service if it makes their lives that little more convenient.

Something that saves people time, money or hassle is essential for a sustainable business.

D

  • Dry-cleaning service
  • Driving service or school
  • Data capture or data analysis service
  • Desktop publishing
  • Dog training, walking or grooming
  • Disaster prevention and planning service
  • Direct mail marketing service
  • Database management

We know you were thinking Doctor – however, there are options beyond being a ‘doctor’.

E

  • Engineering consultant
  • Exporting business
  • E-tail store
  • eBay reseller
  • E-tail secret shopper to see if someone’s e-tail experience is easy.

If it’s happening online, you can add an e- to it.

F

  • Florist
  • Freelancer
  • Furniture removal company
  • Fire safety
  • Fire-hydrant maintenance and sales.

Whatever you do, it doesn’t always matter if it’s a traditional or ‘old’ business, so long as you’re doing things differently and that they’re meeting the needs and interests of the modern consumer.

G

Although established internationally, an up-and-coming industry in South Africa is all things green, from construction to materials, to greening businesses through lowered carbon footprints.

  • Green cleaning service
  • Green consultancy

If green doesn’t float your boat, there are household aggravations like:

  • Gutter cleaning
  • Garage makeovers
  • Gluten free products and foods creation and baking.

H

  • Hairdressing
  • Handyman service
  • Holiday planning service
  • Home inspection service
  • House-sitting service and anything home-based.

I

  • Importer
  • Image consultant
  • Image or Internet researcher
  • Interior designer.

Be careful to research your industry properly before entering in to it, take ink cartridge refilling for example. As technology changes, will you be able to sustain your business?

J

  • Jewellery designer
  • Jam-maker
  • Journalist
  • Javascript developer
  • Got space? How about a junk yard?

K

  • Knitting,
  • Kitchen fitting
  • First aid kits like cyclist and other sports, or kit-cars for motor enthusiasts.

L

  • Life coaching
  • Labour broker
  • Liquor manufacturer
  • Lab consultant or running your own lab
  • Laundry service
  • Language instructor
  • Lock-smith service
  • Lifesaving.

Provided whatever you do adds value to the customer that they can’t get elsewhere, you’re on to a good idea.

M

  • Start your own marketing company
  • Massage therapist
  • Make-over consultant
  • Motivational speaker
  • Moving company
  • mobile masseuse
  • mobile salon
  • mobile food truck
  • mobi-app developer
  • Medical consultant.

The latest trend as technology advances is for things to be mobile.


8 Ways to Come Up With a Business Idea

So, you want to be an entrepreneur? Then you’ll need a business idea. Here are eight ways to come up with a original business idea.


N

  • Nail salon
  • Nutritionist
  • Nurse – Think a post-operative care service, or even elderly care.

O

  • Organic producer
  • Online trader
  • Occupational therapist.

P

  • Personal shopper
  • Plumber
  • Party planning
  • Personal trainer
  • Pest control
  • Photographer
  • Photo-retoucher and restorer
  • Project manager
  • Personal tutor
  • Pool cleaning
  • Proofreading.

Q

  • Quality controller
  • Queuing service
  • Quantity surveying
  • Quiz master.

R

  • Restaurateur
  • Resume consultant
  • Recruiter
  • Research consultant
  • Restaurant or business reviewer.

S

  • Secret shopper or secret reviewer.
  • Sales
  • Salon or spa
  • SEO
  • Social media strategy
  • Scrapbooking
  • Speech writer
  • Sound engineer.

T

  • Translation services
  • Transcription services
  • Tax accounting and consulting
  • Sun-free tanning solutions
  • Training
  • Tutoring.

U

  • Underwriter
  • Upholsterer
  • Undertaking services.

V

  • Video producer
  • Videographer
  • Virtual assistant service
  • Voice-over production
  • Voice training
  • Viral marketing.

W

  • Webmaster services
  • Web design
  • Wedding planner
  • Wallpaper design and hanging
  • Car washing service.

X

Ok you’ve got us there… try something x-treme.

Y

  • Yoga instructor
  • Youth mentoring, counselor, camps, youth co-ordinator
  • YouTube video producer
  • YouTube channel manager.

Z

We’re drawing at straws for this one, especially when the only thing you can come up with is ‘zoo’. But even they might need some services outsourced.

choosing-a-business-idea

Tips about selecting a small business idea

So now your brain is thoroughly overflowing with new business ideas. But before you go quitting your job and investing everything you own into it, it’s time to assess whether it can be turned into a sustainable small business.

Here’s what you need to evaluate:

  • Who is the target market? There’s no business if no one will buy your product or service. Is your target market able to afford (and prepared to pay) for it? Do you have reams of market analysis about your target market’s likes and dislikes, area densities, income, responsibilities, age, gender, education etc? The clearer the picture you can paint of your target market, the more able you are to provide to them.
  • What makes you stand out? Does your idea already exist? If so, what are you doing differently to your competition? Is there something unique or value adding that you offer? If your business idea is new, is your target market ready to take you on? SEO, for example, was around a long time before businesses saw its value and started paying money for it. Make sure your business has a unique selling proposition (USP).
  • Money, money, money. While some ideas are great, whether it will translate into an awesome business is determined by a financial feasibility study. What will it cost you to get the business off the ground, how long will you need to wait before you break even and see a return on investment? What are the on-going expenses like overheads? How will you bridge the gap between starting the business to it becoming profitable? Once you’ve completed a feasibility study, you may be disappointed to discover that the idea just won’t make a profitable and sustainable business. Don’t be sad though, at least you discovered this before you poured in your life-savings into a dead-end idea. Keep thinking.

Choosing a small business idea based on strengths and passions

Everyone has skills. The trick is to see what skills you have in your current job or through your work experience that are transferrable into your new business.

Take a hard look at your business idea and see whether you’ve got both the personality traits and the necessary skills to make it happen.

If the answer is yes, keep going. If you find that you’re quitting your corporate job because you despise it, starting a business to capitalise on that same work experience might not be your calling.

Related: 10 Businesses You Can Start Part-Time

Assess what your personal interests are, what you’re passionate about, and how you can use the skills you have to turn it into a business. Entrepreneurs need to be passionate about their business idea – as it will be passion that motivates you during tough times.

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Company Posts

4 Black-Owned Businesses Participating in This Enterprise Development Programme That Are Growing – Fast

The Department of Small Business Development (DSBD) and Property Point have joined forces to take 16 small to medium-sized, black-owned, businesses, through a life-changing enterprise development programme.

Property Point

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The Department of Small Business Development (DSBD) and Property Point have joined forces to take 16 small to medium-sized, black-owned, businesses, through a life-changing enterprise development programme.

In its first three months of operation, this programme has already seen incredible results with an average growth rate of 27% per business,  R17,8million in contract secured and 21 direct jobs created. This is a unique collaboration in that it is set up specifically to encourage access to markets for the beneficiary businesses and is the first of its kind in the industry.

But who are the people behind the numbers?  Meet four out of the 16 business owners , Thabiso, Falvia, Malusi and Mandla taking full advantage of this opportunity.

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Entrepreneur Today

How WordPress Can Help Your Small Business

WordPress is an amazingly large platform filled with incredible tools from useful plugins to intriguing extensions. It’s a platform for bloggers, social media influencers, and increasingly, small business owners.

Josh Althuser

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WordPress is one of the largest content management systems available. In fact, it powers nearly 30% of all US websites. Its ease of use and a open-source nature has prompted the platform to become overwhelmingly popular.

For many, WordPress is an invaluable resource that makes website management simple and promotes their brand easily. It is Little Wonder then that so many businesses use WordPress to handle their website and online presence management. Even though it is very popular, learning WordPress is an entirely different task.

Not many small businesses can afford to have a WordPress developer. In that case, it is important for many owners to learn as much as they can about WordPress.

Achieving effective market growth

There are those who still wish to use traditional services but are usually dumbfounded by the price and time requirement for making custom websites outside of the platform.

The abundant array of tools and applications makes using WordPress simple but effective for market growth.

For many businesses just starting out, getting traction and marketing growth are very difficult and can be taxing experiences if done by hand.

Related: 7 Ingredients Of Small Business Success Online

With a platform like WordPress achieving a beautiful website and pushing a brand is much simpler and easier than trying to do everything yourself.

Optimising your website with SEO

One of the most important aspects of business writing on a website is search engine optimisation or SEO. WordPress fortunately comes with a number of plugins that makes SEO very simple such as Yoast.

This service scroll through text and automates the SEO process to make sure your content is pushed to the best of its ability while also giving your brand the most exposure it can possibly take.

SEO is a very taxing and tedious process for many small business owners and the WordPress platform makes it simple.

Monitoring your website and developing leads

There is also the issue of monitoring who is coming to your website and who was looking at your products. again, on the WordPress platform there is the Google analytics plugin which allows owners to analyze who’s coming to their website and for how long.

This can be used to determine if your marketing or branding is effective and can determine what things need to change to increase exposure.

For small business, exposure is everything and awareness is the key to a successful business.

Increasing site security

Keeping a site secure is another main issue for people who run their own website and luckily WordPress has a plug-in for that.

Vaultpress, the premier security plugin, keeps your website secure and in the event of a catastrophic failure it can restore the entire site.

Business owners often fear their website crashing as it would reduce the amount of traffic it could garner and may interrupt their business practice. The WordPress platform has many tools which prevent loss of data or breaches of security so that your business can continue to run smoothly.

The benefits of using WordPress

These tools, mixed with a host of other utilities, make WordPress the premiere platform for websites for businesses of any size.

With its integration software you can automate messaging, simplify marketing and, optimise the speed of your website to give users an incredible experience without the cost of a full development team.

The technological age requires that all businesses must have a website or at least a web presence of some kind. it has been shown time and time again that a website is the best way to make a big impression on the consuming public.

Related: 10 Online Marketers To Watch In 2018

Time, as it moves slowly forward, shows us that the world will revolve around the Internet and technology. A web presence then, is not just a good idea or a trendy notion, but rather imperative to stay competitive in the future. To that end, there is no better platform to create a website on than WordPress.

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