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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
    Business Cape Town Entrepreneur Network Hot Desk Shared Office

    Growing pains of the SME

    One of the key issues facing the SME is how to maintain high standards of delivery whilst achieving growth.

    Not an easy one to manage it has to be said. Cost implications of growing too quickly like taking on the additional manpower, a new office space and the time spent finding these key ingredients can be taxing to say the least. And then there’s the risk of losing clients because you’re just not giving them the attention you used to. So what do you do? I’ve decided to start a conversation regarding some of the obvious challenges the small to medium sized business out there faces.

    In the case of my client, lets call him company X, he has built up a nice little tech business and now employs a team of 4 engineers full time. Up till now they’ve been sharing office space but have outgrown it and need to move. This however does come at some cost as you can imagine. Desks, chairs, phone lines etc. all need to be acquired and as he’s the driver he’s the one that’s coordinating all of this.

    So what happens to his real job in the meantime? Customers still need to be looked after, projects and deadlines still need to be met and of course he, as the manager, still needs to provide the support his team have come to rely on. I can see some of you nodding as you read this, no doubt you’ve been there! In addition to all this, company X also has aspirations of growing, gaining more clients and becoming a bigger player in the market. But how is all this going to work?

    Company X have a few options. The smart move (in my humble opinion) would be to look to outsource. Of course I’m going to say that as its exactly what LVR provide, but its more that that. I truly believe in the shared / outsourced model of working as a tangible and affordable means of growing your business.

    Sales and marketing is a must have component but if you’re focussing on your core business, how can you possibly manage this funtion as well as everything else? I believe that the sales and markeitng activity for any company needs to be an ongoing function, not just a one off push to get a quick return.

    Not an easy step to take for any Entrepreneur / Small Business Owner – the lack of control can be a lot to digest initially. You’re used to having control over all your business processes and the idea of an outside company coming in and representing your business can be daunting. However as daunting as that might seem its important to remember that the methodology behind outsourcing is tried & tested. Simply put it WORKS!

    Here’s what you need to look out for…

    1. A good synergy between you and the potential outsource company…its important that you speak the same language
    2. Check their references to make sure they deliver on what they promise
    3. Make sure you know what outcomes you expect
    4. Be prepared to take a punt (as it were) and invest in a small trial project to test the water
    5. Ensure you have sufficient resources in place to deal with the new inflow of leads & enquiries

    I found this really useful checklist on ‘eHow’

    Lizelle

    April 08, 2011