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How to grow your business

By Futhi Cabe, WesBank Head of SME Segment

Respected writers in the field of business growth agree that there are three main ways for a business to grow. These are: get more customers, sell more products to existing customers, and increase back-end sales. When you consider business growth, answer questions such as: why should customers buy from you?

Allow me to discuss some of the principles of how to grow your business:

Attract more customers

There are many different approaches to attracting more customers. The one thing all the different approaches have in common is that they must either satisfy an existing demand or create a new one. Supply and demand are key considerations when it comes to attracting customers. One of the greatest marketing mistakes businesses make is to fail to focus on the needs of their prospects or customers. Your customers are those people who buy from you at least once. That said, one of the ways you can extend your business is to get more and more people to buy from you or use your services at least once.

Develop a marketing plan

The spray and pray approach does not reap rewards in this age of intelligent consumers. Creating or satisfying a demand involves more than a trial and error method. With consideration for the product or service you have to offer, you need to meticulously plan how to satisfy an existing need or how to create one.

The plan need not be complicated. A simple, straightforward marketing plan can achieve this objective. However, the plan must be specific enough to provide the necessary focus and yet be flexible enough to adapt to the fast-changing environment. If marketing planning is not your area of strength, it might be wise to consult with external marketing experts. Remember that no person can know your business better than you do. In consulting marketing gurus, look for practical solutions and not just academic pie in the sky.

Sell customers more products

Proper cash flow management means planning your business finances in advance and then managing your money so that you always have money on hand to pay suppliers and employees. However, just as an individual needs an emergency fund, SMEs need to build up their emergency savings or manage their cash surpluses prudently. For example, if you have a 20-day window to pay a supplier, you could leave that money in your Business Call Account and earn interest for 20 days, rather than just leaving the money dormant in your transactional account.

Existing customers respond positively when asked for additional business or even referrals to new customers. Have you noticed how big business has found and continues to find ways of selling new products and services to their existing customers? Some of the products and services were previously not even considered to be the core business for those big businesses. Selling new products and services to existing customers really works. What additional products and services can you sell to your customers today?

Focus on adding value

I know this has become a cliché. Just what is adding value in this context? Adding value occurs when the service provider suggests additional products or services that dovetail with the selection already made. What add-on services do you have that enhance customer experience? At its simplest form, adding value could even be about making doing business with you convenient and easy, thereby giving your busy customer the precious gift of time.

Train, train and train

Staff training is vital in order for value adding opportunities to be recognised and exploited. Selling customers additional products or services will require staff who can bring those products and services to the attention of the customers with a great deal of knowledge and excitement.

Some argue that training is time consuming and too expensive. Recent research studies indicate that it is six times more expensive not to train than to train. Costs associated with training are almost outweighed by the benefits of well trained and skilled staff. Training makes people feel confident and good about themselves. People who feel good about themselves are more productive than people who don't.

Increase back-end sales

As your customer base increases and your relationship and trust with those customers improves, you will start to recognise other services that might not be directly associated with your business, which your customers would value and be prepared to pay for through you. Often when this happens, your main task is to advertise this additional service or product and then act as the go-between, linking customer and supplier. That product or service, although provided by another party, would benefit your customers and you. Through increased customer loyalty and commissions paid to you by the third-party provider your revenue grows and you have retained your customers.

Final thoughts

Put your customers first. Customer centricity goes beyond just giving your customer the best experience at the front. It is about the entire experience, pre-sale, during sale and post-sale. Look at what you sell from the perspective of the customer. Business is too competitive to allow your attention to lapse. More than 90% of small business failures stem directly from managerial weaknesses. Your business will stand or fall on your strength.

In addition to meeting the above needs, the FNB Business Call Account offers the following bespoke features:

ENDS.

We have been building relationships and helping our customers to grow with the right asset finance solutions for over 40 years. We work together with you to understand your business needs and environment, which helps us to truly provide you with a tailor-made asset finance solution. Whether you decide to buy or lease an asset, we'll help you to find the right solution to meet your business needs, giving you the freedom and choice to grow your business - and we'll be with you every step of the way.

Visit our website https://www.wesbank.co.za/home/small-business-asset-funding or apply for asset finance online | Get an instant answer | Sign your contract online https://www.wesbank.co.za/home/business/apply

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ABOUT WESBANK:

WesBank is the acknowledged leader in Vehicle and Asset finance. WesBank Motor is a Product House under the FirstRand Retail & Consumer segment. WesBank is an international company with successful operations in the UK, offering Vehicle and Asset Finance, Full Maintenance Leases, Asset Based Finance, Fleet Management Leasing in the Corporate space, Value-Added Insurance Products and personal credit solutions. We have strong alliances in the Dealer and original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) space. With more than five decades of expertise and R138 billion in assets, WesBank is the partner of choice for over 80 leading international brands in fields such as OEMs and insurance providers.