Business tips to improve prospects in South Africa

Picture for Article: Business tips to improve prospects in South Africa

The cliché, every cloud has a silver lining, definitely applies during economic recessions. When people need to push the envelope to make money, they produce their best work and make the most imaginative products. Any book giving business tips will tell you that many of the biggest business advances were made during troubled times. And in Africa, we are lucky because there are still many market niches left to explore.

Take the guy making wire animals on the road, for example. No-one stops to buy his animals anymore because other vendors have used the same idea, but as soon as he starts using his imagination and making intricate wire fruit bowls which transform into vases, someone will decide they have to have it. If your business is not doing as well as it used to as a result of the economic climate, follow these tips on improving your business prospects and use your imagination to get back on top.

The BBC online recently ran a feature on ‘top tips from African Entrepreneurs’ in the recession and their touching business tips are very relevant to any South African company, whether small or large.

Sylvia Banda, a restaurant owner in Zambia offers a business tip which boils down to one word, ‘persevere’. Her restaurant started as ‘standing buffet’ because she didn’t own any chairs or tables but now she has a chain of restaurants in Lusaka. “It is important to say to yourself, ‘I am as good as the other person. If that person can do it, then so can I,’” Banda tells her fellow Africans.

A florist from Tanzania, Dinah Binah, says that her tip is to recognise an opportunity for business when it arises. “If someone asks, ‘are you selling your blouse?’ Sell it! You can always buy another one. And network, network, network”, Bench advises. She tells the story of how she made her first sale; she was trying to sell five bunches of roses and a customer walked in asking if she sold water, so she sold him water.

David from Pietermaritzburg, who sells kiln-dried timber to furniture makers, gives the following business tips: be honest with your suppliers and customers; don't promise what you can't do; and be as helpful as possible. A bookseller from Malawi, Gaulphine Nyirenda offers similar business tips. She advises aspiring businesses to ‘be honest’ and ‘understand a customer’s needs’. She also says that there is no quick fix for a business but explains that her strength lies in her ability to work hard.

While hard work and dogged devotion to your company ensure business success, there are quick tips which you can use to help you succeed with your ambitious plans:

  • Foster your online presence. Binah from Tanzania’s second tip was to ‘network, network, network’ and there is no place where this is more easily done than online.
  • Advertise business online. As the internet bombards the South African market, many potential customers believe that a reputable company will always be visible online.
  • Sell a product or service that people really need. People may not need expensive motor cars at present but they’ll always need motor car parts.
  • Alternatively, find a niche market and provide a unique product or service.
  • If one area of your business is not doing well, be innovative and extend your business to incorporate areas which are likely to stay afloat during a recession.
  • Stand above your competitors. If you need to get that accreditation to stand out, then do it.

Assit247 follows all the latest online business management tips to ensure that we stay on top of our game as a directory service and, in turn, provide marketing assistance to car and home service providers.

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