We will be having a live practical article today on How to Grow your small business in Nigeria. We will be looking at four small company owners who grew their small businesses and revenues from the very scratch and also examines what you should you should put into consideration when ramping up turnover this year.
For so many, the last year’s regarding business was hell in a cell as it’s been described when the likes of Brock lesner slugs it out with the big dig “Roman Reigns”. Yeah. It was something else for businesses not just in Nigeria but across the globe. For so many, the Coronavirus has really shaped the size of their business. No one could have predicted that this epidemic will have this much lasting effects on global market let alone on local businesses. Again many businesses face the high level of digital marketing? Do we actually have the skills and resources to ride an era of digital disruption? Do we have the depth to stand this epidemic Coronavirus and it’s impact?
Well you may not have the right answers or solutions to these problems but surely something is key here. You must move forward. You have no obligation but to make progress in your business. In January 202, Nigerian government advised that the Nigeria’s SMEs must do all they can to increase revenues in a highly-competitive environment for trade else they face extinction from the market place.
Using social media to grow.
Now let’s take a look at a real life case study. In 2015, I saw a research don on one Mr. Simon Crowther who decided to launch into marketing company Skyrocket Solutions Ltd. This he did when he realized that the enormous potential of social media marketing with his first company, Flood Protection Solutions will grow based on his personal research work. Hear what he said. ‘I noticed that around 40 per cent of sales were generated via social media”. . ‘As a civil engineer I identified that in many traditional engineering companies there was a very large lacuna between the manufacturing and marketing departments and also I realized that the vast enormous potential that are found in social media marketing was not being tapped into at all.
At the first instant, he communicated his ideology to a close friend of his while still in the primary stage of the marketing concept. This guy according to his was so excited about this. He was so happy about how the social media marketing firm moves his automotive business forward. Infact he became the company’s first ever customer. At that stage he was paying a monthly premium fee to have all aspects of social media appropriated to his business and being managed too.
His business grew so high and so big that it started supporting staffs. But how did this happen? It did via word of mouth and social media. So your business isn’t online via social media, then I wonder who you are reaching then? Your business is just a local one that may never grow. Now read what Crowther said. ‘As we provided a comprehensive service to our customers we did ensure that each staff member had a thorough and detailed understanding of the various customers and their respective industries to be able to offer the best service possible. As we grew in our business, we had additional staff members that will be employed to meet our growing customer demands.’
At the end of his interview, he advised small company owners who are currently enjoying a spell of quick business growth to ensure that they make life simple as possible. He said, “Do Employ good quality staff personnel, ensure you have an effective time management, also learn to priorities tasks efficiently. Create a unique systems in place for effective accounting, and have the very effective strategies in place for your business.’ This is awesome and remarkable.
2. Increasing sales through lean operations
Have you heard of Ryan Shaw who started his Vape Shoreditch Business in February 2015. He had previously worked in the financial markets. As at the time of writing, the company have a monthly turn over of £80,000. What did they actually do? Simple he said ‘We launched to simplify vaping and make it more convenient for operations”.
According to him, there is no short cut to increasing sales. It depends partly in having a super lean operation. You was according o Shaw. He advised that as a starter you should ‘Have a solid process in place and where you think it’s necessary, then use technology to make your business more efficient. Don’t worry about the upfront cost that this might cost you but trust meat the long run, you will have a very massive strong ROI.’
Many persons shy away from challenges. Is it really a possibility in business? Common na. When you face challenges in your business it’s a normal thing because not all challenges comes as a disadvantage to you. Some come to make you and grow you. But in all, how you deal with these challenges defines you as a business entity. Shaw continued. ‘One of the problems we had as we progressed through the lean operation was with manufacturing,’ ‘Our contract packer was poor, their quality control was lacking and deliveries always come late. This made us lack full flexibility and we needed to remedy this and that was where we brought this process in-house.’
Engaging with your customer base
Many businesses fail because they lack the ability to create an active customer base which for Mr. Peter king is a very major key ingredients to increasing the revenue of your business. Peter the founder of a coupon codes website said that the aforementioned statement could also be interpreted differently depending on what your business is. But the basic truth is that, if you are able to find a way to actively engage with your client base, at the worst once in every month, you will surely see a gradual growth in revenue and customer numbers,’ he says. It’s one way to win new customers and also retain old customers.
According to King, he does engage with his own customers via a reliable newsletter but feels that many businesses get them wrong and try and sell to their audience straight away. ‘Ideally you want your audience to want to click on your newsletter and in not just referring to luring them to do so by ‘clickbait’ titles.
As a business man, you are to be very creative. ‘Try as much as you can to create value in whatever market you are in and in your products and services that you offer. Now you can do this in various ways: you can create a free useful content for your users where you offer a step-by-step guide, offering giveaways or even running competitions.’
Also try to Provide a very solid content for your audience with something that they will actively engage with and will make it easier to sell and give you much high conversion rates for your creativity.
For those online businesses that have application gadgets, he advised that they make use of ‘push notifications’, now this will allow your company to notify a user of new messages or events even when the user is not actively using your application at that moment. This is a jackpot and an awesome thought. ‘let the tip a nice one whose sole purpose is for notification that has a clear benefit and call to action. Let’s have an example: ‘Today we are holding a 35 percent sale for one day only! So get your favourite item quickly else someone else will!’ One more interesting thing here is that, you don’t bug them with what’s not necessary to them or important to them. So whatever you are sending them must be relatively important to them otherwise they will deactivate the notifications of your application quicker than you could pinch yourself.
‘This is a very powerful tool providing it’s used effectively and can help increase viewers/sales.’ he concluded
Taking a side business full time
This for me is one of the best and one of the most important. A interviewee by the name Craig Tom, who was once a digital agency impressionist. He did this as a sideline business for sometime and then turning it into a full-time stuff for the first few months. Later on, his partner went full time on it, with Craig joining him soon afterwards. He said that they employed their first member of staff in June 2014 which was really a small amount but as at today, they have employed a staff team of more than 20 digital professionals who are currently working across some well-known national brands, as well as supporting SMEs in their online growth too. This is remarkable.
Their first set of customers where those upcoming SMEs where looking for agencies that will be their websites for them. Now this is what Mr Craig had to say. ‘[My business partner] Aaron is an extremely accomplished web developer so was able to turn the projects around efficiently and effectively, and we both also provided search engine optimization and pay per click services for our growing list of clients too”.
At this point, they grew in sales. So how did this happen? According to him, sales came solely through word of mouth and a little more of social media. They were extremely privileged to have customers who helped them send words to other potential customers too and this was how he described it. ‘We were very privileged to receive some fantastic recommendations from our clients which was a yardstick for our growth. Networking has so far brought a numerable advantage to them in terms of customers and opportunities. One thing have distinguished them from others he said. It has been the fact that they are so active in the digital community where they find themselves.
One of the major challenges they had during a particular time of growth was the recruitment matters. Craig said ‘When you’re in a service based business like what we are into, employing the right people to deliver that service is essential,’ ‘We want to build a team that should include men and women of experienced professionals alongside passionate people who are less experienced to learn – including local graduates.’
The importance of a great company culture.
You must as a matter of fact said Craig to have a company culture that defines the company’s modus operandi. Through this, your company can overcome many hurdles and challenges. You see, as a company, you must build an external reputation for your company, for products, for your services and for your brand. Craig said ‘We’re known for being a fun office and having things like a beer fridge, ping pong table and regular socials certainly which helps create a unique identity for our staffs. He also advised that company management should always invest in their team in terms of the training, provide in house, the events they should subscribe to externally and the tools they should use throughout the business.
No matter the high level of growth any but keep is experiencing at a particular moment, don’t be carried away at all. Have a very clear core values or mission statement. ‘As a fast-growth business, it would have been easy for Impression to take on more and more projects and grow our team very quickly too, but that might not have been best for our future because at some points, we may face some backlash from external forces.
Rather they decided to focus on their core mission which is to build a world-class team of digital experts which will deliver innovative campaigns to help their customers grow in every area they could help. They have been able to shape their growth in such a way that they are confident it will continue for many years to come and this they have done by placing a commitment to maintaining a core values culture. he concluded.