Almost everyone today has a side hustle that supplements their income. Every entrepreneur strives to use their enterprise either as a way of survival or as a means to attaining sustainable wealth levels in the long term. Pushing a new business past its break-even point where it meets recurring, business, operational expenses efficiently and generates a surplus, is not an easy task. So how do you stabilize your new business entity and make it sustainable for years to come? Here are five handy tips:
- Set a marketing budget from the word go.
A marketing budget is a set amount of your start up financing that ought to be set aside for the purposes of oiling your initial business marketing campaign. The product/services market is saturated with vendors dealing in almost similar offerings that make it hard for customers to make immediate buying decisions. Marketing will help your product/service stand out in the market and convince target consumers that you are a reliable or bulk dealer of what they intend to buy. Set aside 30 per cent of your start up financing for marketing campaigns. This applies to debt financing too.
- Have a business plan, and stick to it.
A business plan is like a geographical compass that guides a business owner throughout the entrepreneurial journey. It sheds light on why the entrepreneur is in business and what she intends to achieve through her product/service offers. A business plan sets out sales, expenses, profit projections that an entrepreneur uses to compare with actual sales performances enabling her gauge the general health and direction of the new business entity. It also describes in detail who the target consumer is and how they look like, where they stay, work, spends money, and social status. Such profiling helps the business owner has targeted and contextual marketing messages that yield speedy profits since she already has some truths about her target consumer. Identify a problem/gap in your target market Leading tech giants like Amazon, Alibaba and Facebook are not only great companies due to having exclusively brilliant minds behind their control, but are also great because they deliberately intended to solve a particular problem/gap/need that was existent in the commodities and social market. Do not spend sleepless nights wracking your brain over a unique and innovative idea. Just think of a product/service that is highly needed but lacking in your target geographical zone and there you will find a brilliant business idea that will drive you to your financial nirvana.
- Be faithful to your product brand promise.
A brand promise is what you intend to do for your target consumer. It also gives a hint on what customer experience your target clientele ought to expect. For example, I manage a local business directory that prides itself as “the home of affordable and quality business advertising.” Our target consumer expects nothing short of what we promise them and the promise helps us set quality standards when designing business adverts, the quality of paper we choose, ink tonnage, paper gram-mage and all. We are also conscious when procuring design consultancy services, printing materials and deliberately go for the lowest bidders so that we may maintain competitive advertising budgets for our target consumer. Do you stick to your brand promise? If no, you are slowly and steadily driving your new business entity into extinction.
- Treat your initial customers well.
In the Kenyan business setting, it is not strange to find business owners and customer service attendants/managers getting edgy or tired of low paying, noisy and irritant clientele. This happens especially when the business is experiencing the boom stage and orders exceed the targeted orders per executive attendant initially set by the business owner. Another experience is of business owners who repackage their business and hike prices to edge out the pioneer, less moneyed clientele that helped them reach where they are today. If you are such an entrepreneur you need to change. Business has boom and recess cycles and the clientele you are quick to edge out might come in handy on your way down.
- Take good care of your employees’ welfare.
Managerial tasks ought to be delegated, especially when your new business entity gets to the expansion stage in order to free up your time for networking that will eventually shore up your business productivity levels. Some of the crucial tasks that need sober, grounded and proactive employees behind their control are; marketing, customer service, accounting, internal audit and human resource management. If handled well, your business can run efficiently even in your absence. It is important to carefully think about and invest heavily in your staff wellness, health and welfare programs like Sacco, health insurance, staff allowances/bonuses and gym payments so as to ensure a stress free and dedicated work force. A demotivated work force will quickly run down a new business entity.