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    Growth

    Growth: how do I grow my business? 

    You’ve done the important bits. You’ve taken the idea you came up with at 3am in the morning and turned it into a business. Through your immediate network of College or University buddies and family, you’ve signed up your first customers and things are going well. And now, you’re in that uncomfortable, comfortable position of having happy clients that keep your cash flow ticking over, but no new business. The uncomfortable bit, in case that wasn’t clear, is the thought of “What happens if I lose one or more of those first clients”, what then? 

     

    I’ve spent the last 12+ years working with startups and small businesses, helping them create, expand and nurture their prospect and sales pipeline. It’s a field I know well and have come and believe vital to the survival of these businesses. What surprises me more and more, however is just how few of the companies I encounter here at Cape Town Office, a coworking space, pay any attention to this practice. 

     

    Why?

    A lot of the time, founders of startups are way too busy to dedicate the time needed to make some cold calls, attend networking functions and set up meetings to grow their audience. The other part, and probably more key, is the lack of funding to employ a seasoned new business developer that can fulfill this function for the business. Granted, these are two pretty valid “reasons”  but, there if you think there’s a choice in the matter, I’m here to tell you that you’re sorely mistaken.

    Developing a sales pipeline is not glamorous or sexy, but it’s as vital to the growth of a new business, just as the air you’re breathing right now. There is no maybe, but or perhaps, you HAVE to do this, or as good as your idea might be, that’s all it will remain…an idea. 

    I’d like to provide you with some ideas on how you can bootstrap your lead generation process, which you can adapt and expand as you grow. 

    1.  Set up a CRM platform, one that you like to use! 
    2.  Funnel your contact list into the CRM, from ambassadors to influencers and prospects
    3. Spend no less than 5 hours per week on growing this database 
    4. Proactively communicate to your audience weekly; either by phone calls or emails 
    5. Set targets: make sure you get out of the office at least 3 to 4 times a week meeting with potential clients 

     

    Resources

    1. CRM: I’ve used a bunch of them in recent years and find the differences between them to usually be small. Affordability is a key driver, so make sure you’re not paying $100’s for functionality that you might never need. Keep it simple. 
    2. Consultants: Reach out to the experts to help you define a clear strategy 
    3. Join a co-working space, which makes sharing of resources and knowledge far easier than being on your own

     

    At the end of the day you can’t expect to grow your business without new customers and you can’t expect to gain those new customers, if they don’t know about your business. So, that’s my thought of the week for you. Go out there and talk to as many people as you can about what it is you do and why they need to jump on board! 

    Go get ’em! 

    October 23, 2017
    APP development Business Business Plan Cape Town co-working Content Creator Design Digital Entrepreneur Entrepreneur Network Hot Desk Infographic Internet Investment Not for Profit Outdoor gear Pitch Shared Office SME Social media Start-up Student Uncategorized

    These major coworking events will take place in 2015

    Coworking-Africa-Conference-2015-970X180

    Almost 300,000 people have worked in nearly 6000 coworking spaces worldwide by the end of this year. The coworking movement acquires maturity, expanding with bigger spaces and more locations, an higher diversity of business models, and exploring more niches. This development will be also reflected in more coworking events next year. Asia’s first coworking unconference will be held in Bali.

    The Global Coworking Unconference Conference is going to California. However, it won’t take place only once, but three times, by popping up in Australia and Canada as well. And Africa will get its first dedicated conference on coworking, in Cape Town. It’s time to mark your fresh calendar with the upcoming major events on coworking in 2015!

    Click on the link to get the full list –> http://www.deskmag.com/en/these-major-coworking-conferences-events-barcamps-will-take-place-in-2015

    Via http://www.deskmag.com/

    deskmag

    March 09, 2015
    Business Business Plan Entrepreneur Entrepreneur Network Investment Pitch SME Start-up

    Why you need a mentor.

    LaraMorgan

     

    By Lara Morgan

    Lara is Chairman of Company Shortcuts and a member of The Supper Club

    Launching a new business requires such a broad range of skills that it can be extremely daunting for a novice entrepreneur to face alone. Asking for help isn’t always the easiest thing to do in business, but could tapping into the expertise of someone who has already been there and done it be a shortcut to success?

    I was fortunate to be able to call upon numerous mentors over the 17 year period that I ran my first business, and each of them offered different areas of expertise that helped me to navigate the challenges of managing a business going through fast growth.

    Learning to deal with people was one of the first pieces of the management puzzle I identified, so I set about finding a mentor who was an expert in recruitment. Happily, the gentleman I found not only offered me great advice on dealing with people, but he was also a lawyer, the owner of a larger company, a major supplier of mine, and most importantly someone who I liked, respected and could trust.

    I started the company aged just 23, so to be honest I knew very little about some of the more technical aspects of business. I asked my accountancy firm to mentor me through learning accounting, and I would have lunches and buy dinners for individuals that had professional expertise I could tap into, perhaps in social media, branding, digital marketing or almost any other area of business learning. The key is really not being afraid or too proud to ask other people for their help and advice – you will usually find they are flattered you have asked them.

    A mentor can be an invaluable resource for you and your business, and here are the five things I believe a mentor can give you that you will struggle to get anywhere else:

    1. Help identifying and understanding your own strengths and weaknesses

    2. A network of contacts that would take years to build for yourself

    3. An alternative perspective on problems and challenges

    4. Honest, constructive criticism – it is not a mentor’s job to just agree with whatever you do

    5. Coaching to help you develop the skills that you are lacking

    When it comes to mentoring, I have found that my time and skills are much better suited to public speaking. This has allowed me to share enterprise stories around my successes in export, the experiences I have in both failed and successful business exit and my opinion on the other areas of company development that I have a strong passion about, with a much wider audience. In a public speech I can reach a number of people in a short period, and get an understanding of the challenges the whole audience may be facing.

    With that in mind, it doesn’t mean that I am not delighted to be asked for advice by entrepreneurs. I feel humbled to think people may want my one-to-one advice, but I hope that by sharing my story and the lessons I have learned on a larger scale will help more entrepreneurs all over Britain take the right shortcuts to success.

    Lara Morgan is Chairman of Company Shortcuts – a consultancy dedicated to excellence in sales and leadership. Lara combines her own fast-growth experience with a passion for unlocking the growth potential of established businesses to help organisations whose ambition has stalled. 

    Lara Morgan is on Twitter @IamLaraMorgan

     

    January 13, 2015
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    Seeking investment? The Supper Club Angels’ Tips to a Winning Pitch

    The Supper Club is the UK’s leading membership club exclusively for fast growth entrepreneurs of mid-sized businesses, encouraging business leaders to inspire, support and challenge each other in the pursuit of business growth. http://www.thesupperclub.com/

    By The Supper Club (UK) 

    Are you seeking investment?

    Raising money for SMEs and start-ups is not an easy job and one of the many challenges that entrepreneurs face. Angel investors can be a valuable option and source of funding, support and expertise.

    Our Investment Club runs twice a year, offering you the opportunity to raise investment via our panel of vetted and experienced entrepreneurs. With a combined turnover of around £150M our Supper Club Angels can offer expertise in a variety of sectors such as; technology, gaming, property, logistics and business services.

    In such a competitive environment, having the right information is your best tool. Here are our Supper Club Angels’ top tips on working up a winning pitch:

    Investors often look to invest in the people ahead of the business. Be confident, speak in plain English and ensure you come across as polished. Make sure you explain who your team is and why they are the right people to drive success.

    The scalability of your venture is what will appeal to investors so aim for an exciting but realistic outlook. Emphasise existing revenues and customers if you have them as these will give investors a lot of confidence. Be clear on the risks and how you will address them.

    State what your own personal investment in the venture has been or will be. Investors will not put money in if you haven’t put in some of your own cash and time. Investors will place a premium on you if you work in your venture full-time as this demonstrates your commitment.

    Keep your business plan short, around 2-3 pages, be concise, focus on what the reader needs to know and remove any fluff. The plan should explain clearly how you deliver value to your customers and extract value from them along with a realistic financial projection.

    Get to grips with the finances! Whoever you are pitching to will want to see that you have a very tight plan, know every future figure and know when you’ll see return etc. Avoid a hockey stick plan that relies on sudden massive growth – it won’t be believable.

    Investing in a business is never going to be something an Angel takes on lightly. Of course your pitch needs to reflect you and your business, but the recipe to success is based on your power to inspire confidence, reliability, passion, ability and integrity.

    Follow The Supper Club on Twitter for more great tips on growing your business @TheSupperClubUK

    October 06, 2014