Happy New Month everyone. So far, we’ve talked about starting a business, making resolutions and the traps you may get into while navigating through this journey. Now let’s talk about some of the things you need to do to take your enterprise to the next level. Here are some key growth tips to help keep the momentum of your business and propel you to your desired success this 2019.
1. Go Digital
Social media unfortunately is not just for the millennials and the fashion-savvy. This global trend is now a must-have for brands. At the basic level, an online presence makes it easy for potential customers to find your services. Think about the last time you needed something. You most likely made a quick Google search and the answer appeared. In the same way, your business should be as easy to find.
Aside from that, a social media platform allows your consumers to give feedback, learn about the full range of your services and get updates on events. Online platforms also let you track your performance, which ultimately allows you to manage things better. This year, purpose to improve your digital presence or at the very least, get one.
It is well known that trying to make it in business alone is an uphill climb. Luckily, it is now easier than ever to connect with people. Forums like the eHub are vibrant spaces where you can easily connect with potential investors and customers or simply share your business experiences with peers.
Additionally, it is important to go out of your way to participate in trade shows and exhibitions that are relevant to your industry. These events guarantee that you will be exposed to your target market.
3. Explore Alternative Sources of Funding
Sourcing funds for a business never ends. You will always need money. Instead of relying on traditional sources of capital, explore alternatives such as micro-loaning services or venture capitalists. Credit Bank also offers more ways to access capital than ever before.
4. Improve on Customer Relations
We all know someone who has been going to the same barber from the time they were five years old. If you ask them why they’re so loyal to that one place, they will most likely say, “That guy knows me.” At the end of the day, the customer is always king. With this in mind, the best a business owner can do is to invest in good customer relations. Let your customers know that they are valued. You can do this by; creating platforms for feedback, listening to them and delivering quality products in a timely manner. With good customer service, you may even cut costs on advertising and sail by through word of mouth.
5. Expand to regional markets
Why limit yourself to Kenya when you can access 49 million Tanzanians and 37.5 million Ugandans?
It’s understandable that some businesses may shy away from other markets for various reasons. A difference in culture for example, can create a situation where a product that is loved in Kenya could be completely rejected elsewhere. Similarly, rising production costs, limited infrastructure and high tax burdens could put off a potential investor.
However, the factors that encourage expansion far outweigh the risks. Let’s go through them one at a time.
Firstly, international markets are now more accessible thanks to ongoing improvements in transport and infrastructure. This is partly due to the Lamu Port Southern Sudan-Ethiopia Transport (LAPSSET) project and the new Central Corridor. Both these developments aim to make all those annoying truck stop-points a thing of the past. (1) Local airlines have also followed suit and have started offering cheap passenger flights within East Africa. Traveling to Uganda now takes the same amount of time as a road trip to Naivasha!
Secondly, expansion creates access to the Regional Economic Communities, specifically the East African Community (EAC). This is an institution committed to supporting business amongst Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania, Uganda, and Burundi. (2) Such organizations champion for things like the joint visa which has removed a lot of the red tape that plagued trade.
Thirdly, you can forget about forex bureaus when you set up shop across East Africa (3). This is because mobile money has made it easier to make direct payments across borders. (All hail M-Pesa.)
Finally, expanding to multiple markets helps mitigate risk. Meaning, if one market is doing badly because of high costs or instability, your business will still survive because of its presence in another country. As the saying goes, it pays not to put your eggs in one basket.
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1. African, The East. [Online] 2018. https://www.theeastafrican.co.ke/business/Cheap-imports-killing-East-Africa-economic-dream/2560-4764214-t0ey9vz/index.html.
2. Teeth, Finncial June. [Online] 2015. http://financialjuneteenth.com/8-benefits-of-doing-business-in-the-east-african-community-eac/.
3. Africa, Disrupt. [Online] 2015. http://disrupt-africa.com/2015/04/why-east-african-integration-is-good-for-your-startup/.
4.African, The East. [Online] 2018. https://www.theeastafrican.co.ke/business/Cheap-imports-killing-East-Africa-economic-dream/2560-4764214-t0ey9vz/index.html.