Traditional business advice isn’t always best served to small business owners. What works for other business owners doesn’t necessarily work for other mainly because of various business ecosystems.
You need to continually update your practices and keep up with trends in order to stay successful going forward. Here are some tips from members of our small business community in Africa for ensuring business success.
- Offer unique products
Price may win amongst stores and countless larger businesses in a variety of categories – but smaller businesses know all too well they typically can’t compete in this big-box space when it comes to making money. As an alternative, however, this is where smaller businesses have the chance to thrive in offering other experiences that stand-out from prices alone. Of course, price will factor into the overall impression any business leaves on consumers, but when combined with other experiences that are not offered by most sellers, price can often become overlooked thanks to the many other factors that can outshine it.
- Offer the best customer service on earth
Sometimes it’s not all about offering quality or ideal products. Your customers need to be loved. They need to know you love them and that you want the best for them.
At one family bakery in Tanzania customers often complain about poor customer service, when the grandchild (Martin Seen) managed the bakery after his grandfather passed on, he changed on customer care. People started to come and buy in numbers and even suggested the bakery adds more flavours to the traditional cupcakes they offered. Being involved in community services and donations also helped Martin to grow.
- Create a loyalty programme
Big or small, businesses gain the opportunity for increased customer retention and more frequent spending when loyalty programs are offered. You can create one that is digital, mobile, or even old-fashioned by using paper and a hole puncher, but the idea is that you create one that makes sense for your business and your customers. Aim to have it stand out as a well-respected benefit to customers experiencing your business – and one that they want to experience again and again.
- Stick to your plans
Lastly, consider what motivated you to begin your small business in the first place. Was it a passion for what you sell? A motivation to offer more to a community or general business niche that wasn’t being filled before? Whatever your “why” was, make sure your “why” continues to lead you in your small business efforts. This can fuel you to make smarter, more focused decisions that don’t have to blend in with what your big-box competitors are getting recognised for. So while it’s important to know what your competition is up to, make sure you also know how to tune them out when narrowing in on your own small business plans.
Author: Gesture Chidhanguro