2 Main ways of increasing your Sales as a Small business owner

It’s been a while people; I know. Truly I do need to take my own advice when it comes to consistency and branding.
That’s why I’m re-branding and really planning on being consistent on this blog. I want to keep sharing insight that will help a lot of start-up entrepreneurs in Africa on how to keep running their businesses and grow them ^_^
 2 Main Ways of Increasing your sales as a Small Business Owner-KTL Blog Post header
This post today was inspired by a webinar I was watching a few days ago – Automated by Drip; it really was about E-commerce and how online businesses can grow their audience using E-mail. I’m really working out our marketing strategy for Amari and working on tapping into e-mail marketing for our brand to increase engagement and revenue; so I’m really looking for information on how to do it effectively – hence watching the webinar. I took a whole lot of insight from it; but this really stuck with me and blew my mind on the simplicity of this advice and it got me thinking on how I can use it for my business as well as how other entrepreneurs can use it,  so take notes, hehe ^_^
Getting to the point; two ways to increase or double your revenue:

One – by doubling your advertising budget. Now; to be honest; that would be quite difficult for start-up entrepreneurs since for a lot of us, we’re limited on resources (cash to be specific).

kenyan money

Increase your marketing budget to double sales if you have the capital

If you have the capital – go for it. However; it may not be an option for you at this time (if you’re cash-strapped) – so what’s the second way of doing it?

Second Method:  It’s a 3-part strategy:

1 – Increase your customers, 2 – Boost your average order value and 3 – Increase purchase frequency.

As business owners growing our brands; this is really what we’re always trying to do; but for some reason when the webinar speaker mentioned it – it was amazing when neatly arranged in this way. I just love it!
You may be wondering how you can apply this to your business? I’ll share a few ways for each step and the important thing to know is that you should really work on all three steps; not just choosing one.
  • (Step 1) Increase your Customers
Having a marketing plan is really important when it comes to this particular step; this is because for you to get more customers – more people have to be aware of your brand’s existence. Become more consistent with your marketing; whether it’s on Social Media, blog and/or site, E-mail marketing, etc. Have a plan and consistently market your business. Find out what type of marketing is working for your particular business and niche and keep doing it. For example; if you sell cakes and your revenue last month was 15 clients buying cakes at 2,000/- your sales were 30,000/-. If you increase those clients by just 40% ( 6 customers) – then for this month sell cakes to 21 clients @ 2,000/-; your sales will be 42,000/-
get-more-customers

Get more clients buying your products ^_^

  • (Step 2) Boost your average order value
This means that for each order; the value should be higher than before. An example; if your average order value per sale from your last quarter sales was 2,000/-; assuming that for 3 months, 15 clients each month with each order averaging at 2,000/-; total sales for the quarter was 90,000/- (30,000/- x 3 months)
Pricing change image
If you increased your order value by 30%, each order would be an average value of 2,600/-; so for your next quarter – still keeping in line with the 15 customers per month, each spending 2600/-, for the 3 months sales would be 117,000/- (Monthly sales of 39,000/- = 15 customers x 2600/-; Then 39,000/- x 3 months = 117,000/-). Can you see the improvement?! Now of course this strategy would take dedication and abit of time, marketing and planning – but it can work to your advantage when you stay commited and execute. You can choose to still maintain prices on most of your products; but pair up some items e.g. If you sell 1 Kg cakes; market and give incentives for customers to order an extra product e.g. cookies or a box of frosted cupcakes. You can also choose to introduce products in your menu that are of a higher price – make sure they are premium products and market them well to entice your audience. When planned properly; you can also choose to increase your product prices as well; just make sure to plan your marketing well and ahead of time.
  • (Step 3) Increase purchase frequency

For this step; you also need to streamline your marketing efforts, as well as your customer service as well. You can do this in several ways; make sure to reach out to you clients after they buy to get feedback and ensure you have their contacts in order to market to them again at another time. You can then wait for a specific period, e.g. 3 weeks and market to them directly e.g. sending an SMS or email on current sales, discounts or flavors available. You should also ensure that you ask your clients to follow your brand on social media in order to stay updated on deals, specials and other products you offer.

cookies and pastries-The tiffany window.jpg

Have your customers by more often and more if possible         Image: The Tiffany Window

 

You can decide to start a rewards and/or loyalty program for your business that will engage your past clients and keep them engaging with your brand on your products as well. Offer purchase incentives that will be rewarded with time; this will ensure purchase frequency from your customers.
There are so many ideas on this particular topics you can try out – the overall point is to keep connecting and engaging with your customer base. This will not only get them to connect with your brand emotionally; it’ll keep them coming back. Get creative and find out what works for your business ^_^
I hope I have been able to share and expound on this insights well – I know I’ll be using them in my business, I hope you will too!
Has this post been helfpul to you? Do you have any ideas on how to implement the steps I’ve shared above that you would like to share? Feel free to comment below – I’ll truly appreciate it!
All the best in your business. Stay strong – work hard and work smart!

5 Questions You Should Ask Yourself Before Starting A Small Business

These days starting a small business has become an acceptable alternative to getting a job and being employed. It almost seems like a trend – being a start-up entrepreneur. I’m personally glad to see that more individuals in Kenya are looking at other options of generating income in their lives, other than getting employed, not because it is a bad thing, but mainly because for some people – it’s very difficult to find a job. It is important to note though that starting a small business, especially in Kenya, is not for the faint-hearted. It is very good to be honest with yourself on whether you are ready to take on the challenge of being a start-up entrepreneur.

There are at least five questions that I think you should ask yourself before taking the step to starting a small business of your own. This will not only put the reality of owning a small business in Kenya in perspective for you, but it will also help you get very honest with yourself on the journey ahead.

Am I cut out to be a business owner?

Being a business owner means a lot of things and you need to be prepared for it. First, you have to be able to persevere tough times that may seem to last for a long period, this could be having cash shortages or cash flow issues – constantly. Can you be able to not only handle the stress of those issues, but also find solutions to your cash flow challenges in order to progress? The other thing you have to be aware of is a lifestyle change; you have to realize that as a small business owner, you will wear many hats. You will be an accountant, secretary, sales and marketing personnel, etc. This will mean sacrificing your social life in some way; if you’re friends go out every weekend – you won’t be able to do the same since you’ll be busy building your business. You will sleep late and wake up early more often. If you are married and/or have children; you have to look at your life and see what you can plan early and do; how to make time for your family, as well as time for your business.  You have to know that you will have to adjust your life drastically and be willing to be flexible as well. The other important thing to know is how to manage stress levels. You will encounter challenges often and you will be forced to make tough decisions as well; can you be able to handle that stress without breaking down? As a start-up entrepreneur; you have to find different ways of managing your stress levels in order to keep going.

Talking baking for business while eating cake

As a business owner: I’m not only doing the practical work, I’m also a marketer for my own business as well ^_^

Do I have the skills required to run the business?

This is a question that is very important for anyone about to start a small business. This will depend on the type of business you have decided to start. Most people start businesses based on the skills they have e.g. a baker will start a small baking business, an accountant will start an accounting firm, etc. Make sure to sit down and write all the skills required in the business for it to run well, then evaluate yourself and see if you have any of those skills required. For the skills you don’t have; you have to find a way to ensure they are available in order for your business to run properly. This means that you either have to outsource those skills, hire a person or even learn the skill yourself. In this day and age; you can also get software that can assist you in certain aspects of your business e.g. accounting and inventory management (e.g. Quickbooks Accounting Software), you can also visit other sites that can help you with the skills to run your business e.g. photo editing, marketing, customer service, etc. Just to mention a few skills that you might require for business; people skills (in order to persuade potential clients to buy your products or services, practical skills pertaining to your business (e.g. baking if starting a bakery, photography skills if you will start a photo studio, etc.), book-keeping and accounting skills (these are good to learn even if you don’t have them – it’s necessary to be aware of your financial position at all times), marketing skills – this is important to learn as well, even as you think of getting someone to assist with marketing your business. Learn how to also do it yourself since you will be the most passionate person about the business since it’s yours. You can find many resources and tips online on different skills you require that you can learn from.

Bakerette Faith garnishin black forrest cake - Amari Baking classes

If you want to start a bakery; make sure you have the baking skill, if not, take some baking classes

Do I have the funds to start my business and if not, can I be able to fund-raise?

You truly have to get very honest with yourself about this question; do you have enough money to get started? The best thing is to sit down and find out how much you will need to get started, you can do this while writing your business plan. In the financial part; have a detailed budget on all you need to actually set up your business and get started. You also need to know how much working capital you’ll need at least for the first 3 months – this is money that will be used for monthly expenses, etc. Once you find that out; you’ll have a clear picture of the total amount of money you require. Check your finances at that time and see if you have that amount; if you don’t, don’t worry – you can make a plan on how to get that money to get started. Come up with several ideas of how you can come up with the money and write them down; if they’re individuals you need to approach, write down their names, if you can be able to save for a period of time, etc. Once you have a list; make a plan on when to fund-raise from each source. For example; maybe you need a total of Kshs. 500,000 (Starting-250K & Working capital-250K) and you have found that you only have Kshs. 20,000, you can decide that within 6 months – you can save Kshs. 120,000.  You can choose to save per month and keep the money or once you get the money at the end of the month – you can purchase a particular item, equipment, etc – required in your business. That means that within 6 months; you’ll have Kshs. 140,000. You may have identified a family member who can lend you Kshs. 110,000 within those 6 months to get started. That means that you can actually start your business after those 6 months. For the working capital; you can also look for 2 or 3 sources to fund-raise from. Example; you can find a friend or another family member who can fund you the first month of operation with Kshs. 150,000 to get you some working capital and you can maybe get some grant or government funding of Kshs.50,000. You can then discover that within the first 3 months of operations, your business can have Kshs. 50,000 to use for working capital. This will ensure that you are at least set for the first 3 months of your business start-up.

Amari Biz plan template

A business plan is very important

Am I willing to do the research and be fully prepared before starting my business?

This is a question that a lot of individuals, especially youth, are not asking themselves before starting a small business – it’s also a major cause of business failure for those who start without doing so. I think it’s a very important question because in order to set your business up for success, you really have to do some research on the industry you want to do business in, the location and also on what you actually need to get started. A lot of people feel too lazy to do the research themselves and want to get answers without doing their due diligence. Choose to either do the research in order to be fully prepared i.e. visit and talk to business owners in that industry, research on equipment, legal requirements, labor requirements you’ll need to start – you can get this information in industry blogs, talking to people in the business, online government portals, you can even inquire at your county council office on legal requirements. If you’re not willing to do all the work; hire a consultant who will let you know all you require to get started. If you don’t have the money to hire a consultant and you don’t want to do the research; then don’t bother starting a business in the first place.

ResearchKey

Do your due diligence – make sure to research every aspect of your business idea

Am I willing to keep learning and not be afraid to fail?

As a business owner; you have to be willing and open to learn, at all times. This is what helps you grow as an entrepreneur and in turn, it helps your business to grow and progress with time. In business, you also have to be aware that you will fail at times; sometimes you’ll lose your money in failed projects, but this should not stop you from getting started. Starting and running a business is taking a risk, but it may have great rewards as well. Part of learning in this journey and growing wiser involves failing at times; I believe that you should look at those failures as learning moments instead of just pure failure. The challenges you encounter will teach you to be a better entrepreneur and will also help you learn faster and therefore be wiser and make better business decisions. You have to have the courage to take that risk, be willing to meet challenges head on and learn from them in order to be successful.

learn-on concrete

Every challenge you encounter should be a learning moment

I hope that you will ask yourself these questions before starting your small business and you’ll answer them as honestly as possible.

If you have any questions on starting a business that you have or you think one should also ask oneself – feel free to share below ^_^

If you liked this post and found it helpful, make sure to ‘like’ it below and also share to your networks – it’ll help someone else.

6 Simple Answers Your Business Plan Should Provide

As I finish the editing on my upcoming book – How to Successfully Startup a Small Bakery Business, I cannot help but realize the importance of planning before starting any business venture. Here in Kenya, there is a particularly disturbing belief or perhaps I should say a kind of ignorance on the importance of a business plan. As I meet startup entrepreneurs and train individuals on starting up small bakery businesses; I continue to stress the importance of a business plan – even a basic one just to get you started.
Now you might wonder why I stress this point and I’ve decided to share it in a different way today. I want to give you six questions that your basic business plan can and should have answers to regarding your small startup. These answers will provide clarity and direction to your business as you start and continue growing. As I always point out, your business plan will change as your business grows and adapts; however, it’s important to have a basic plan as you start. You can then go changing it and adapting it to any business model or market changes you encounter as you progress.

It's very important!

It’s very important!

What?
The first question your basic business plan should answer is ‘what is your business?’ This is the part where you write your business name and the products and/or services it offers. Today I will use an example of a service business start-up that provides food delivery services. The ‘what’ of this business would be: Fresh Delivery Services provides food delivery services to its clients in Nairobi County.

What are you selling?

What are you selling?

Why?
The second question your plan answers is ‘Why your business offers the products and/or services?’ This is a very important question for your business since it should highlight what sets your business apart from any other businesses in that industry. To give an example of the ‘why’ using Fresh Delivery Services.
We realized that most delivery or errand service companies in the market offer delivery for many items but not for food. Those that do are not always effective or careful with the food contents and do not ensure customer satisfaction. Our errand services are targeted to only food and baked goods deliveries and we are well-equipped to assist in packaging, transporting and effective delivery of those goods.
Who?
Another important aspect of your business is who you’re selling to; your target customers. It is very important to know the types of customers you want to sell to in order to ensure the products and/or services are well suited to their needs as well as your marketing strategy. An example:
We offer our delivery services to home-based bakeries and catering businesses who deliver their food and baked products to their clients. We also make deliveries for restaurants and bakery shops who offer home or office delivery options to their clients as well.

Who is your target customer?

Who is your target customer?

Where?
Your basic business plan should state the location of your business as well as the location of your target customers who you are serving. This applies for both types of businesses who have brick and mortar locations such as shops, stores or warehouses. As well as any home-based businesses who deliver to their target customers. As we stated above, an example of our featured business is:
Fresh Delivery Services provides food delivery services to its clients anywhere in the Nairobi County area.
When?
This refers to the daily operations of your startup business. State the time schedules for both your in-house operational hours for employees; as well as for your clients’ delivery times.
Fresh Delivery Services is open from Monday to Saturday. Delivery hours are from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. We are closed on Sundays.
Employee hours are as follows: Monday to Saturday 6.30 a.m. to 6 p.m. Closed on Sundays.
How?
Your business plan should state how you will sell products and/or services and how you will execute your daily operations. For your daily operations; it is important to have a simple system setup on daily tasks to be completed by your employees and yourself as well. You can create a basic operations manual based on the nature of your business. You should also have a marketing plan section in your business plan that describes the various marketing activities you will execute to attract your customers and therefore lead to sales for your business.
I hope these simple questions will help you while writing your basic business plan and answering them while doing so ^_^!
If you would like to get a free Basic Business Plan template, click on this link to get one.
Any questions on writing a basic business plan for your small business startup? Stuck on a specific section in your basic business plan writing? Feel free to ask below.
Please share this post if you found it helpful, help someone else who might need this information as well ^_^

6 Steps To Holding A Productive Meeting

As a manager in your start-up business; you will find that as your team grows, you will need to have weekly or monthly meetings. It’s also important to have meetings with either your co-founders or investors that are involved in your business.

Productive meetings are the best

Productive meetings are the best

I have found that some meetings can be very long-winded and at the end, attendees find that they have not really achieved anything. This is highly unproductive and quite a waste of time (I’ve been in my share of useless meetings ^_^). As I’ve been attending and holding some meetings myself; I’ve gradually discovered some tips that work, as well as the ones that don’t. I want to share six tips that I’ve found assist towards having a productive meeting.
1. State your agendas and set a time limit for the meeting

Set your agenda for the meeting

Set your agenda for the meeting

If you’re holding a meeting; make sure you set agendas for the meeting. State specific agendas that will be discussed in the meeting; however, keep it to a minimum of 7 to 10. Too many agendas can make the meeting very long. It’s also important to set a time limit for your meeting, my goal for all meetings is to keep them between thirty to forty five minutes long. If it’s a meeting that involves many departments and many agendas; try and keep it to a minimum of two hours. The longer a meeting is; the harder it is to maintain focus – for both the attendees and yourself as well.

2. Set objectives for the meeting

Each meeting should have goals or objectives to be achieved. Try and keep them as simple as possible; and as few as possible. I would advise a maximum of three objectives. The reason that you should set objectives is so that you are able to see if you have had a meaningful meeting or whether you just wasted the attendees’ time. It also gives your meeting focus, or a direction that you will not stray from.
3. Make sure only the required members attend the meeting

Pizza for meeting attendees only - no crashing ^_^!

Pizza for meeting attendees only – no crashing ^_^!

This is a very important aspect of holding a productive meeting; as well as a very popular one. It’s been written that the late Steve Jobs had a ‘pizza rule’ for all Apple meetings. Each meeting had only enough people to be fed by two pizzas. This ensured that there were no unnecessary attendees in the meeting who didn’t need to be there. Make sure only the required people attend your meeting for utmost productivity.
4. Give all the attendees the agendas, objectives and time limit ahead
Make sure you share the agendas and the set time limit to all the attendees at least one day ahead. This allows them to be prepared for the meeting and be aware of the time they have to discuss the agendas. It also allows the attendees to be accountable for the time spent in the meeting.
5. Make sure you keep time and stick to the set agendas during the meeting
When you’re running the meeting; make sure that you keep the time that was set on the agendas and on discussion topics. During meetings; it’s very often that attendees stray from the set agendas and the discussions go out of hand. If that happens during your meeting; set the new discussion as another agenda for another day and steer the discussion back to the right agenda. If there is an attendee who takes too long on his/her agenda or discussion topic; let them know they have a limited time and urge them to wind up.
6. Check to see if you have achieved your objectives & get feedback from the attendees

Get feedback on objectives achieved

Get feedback on objectives achieved

As you wind up your meeting; check your objectives to see if you have achieved your goals. Ask feedback from the attendees and see if they feel that the objectives have been achieved. This will assist you in realizing whether your meeting was productive and if improvements need to be made the next time. This is an important part of the meeting process; make sure you don’t ignore this step.
Those are just a few ways to ensure you hold productive meetings; no matter how small or large a meeting is, these steps will be effective.
Do you have any other tips that help you have more productive meetings? Feel free to comment below and share.
Sharing is caring; if you liked this article – please share with your followers below and spread the love ^_^

3 Signs You Need To Change Your Business Model

I hope your New Years was great, mine most definitely was. I have been reviewing my business plan and model to see if I needed to change it for this new year. I feel that this has been a long time coming due to certain results in business actions that I took and therefore; I decided to sit down and see how to make necessary changes.

I’m sure as a start-up entrepreneur or even if you are a seasoned entrepreneur, you’ve made certain changes in your business model over time. This happens especially if you realize that you’re not getting desired results in your business or for other reasons. Today I want to share three signs that show you need to change your business model for the better in this new year.

1. Your sales have reduced drastically

If you realize that your sales have reduced a lot and you’re still doing the same things you’ve been doing in your business then you have to change your business model. You may be trying very hard to market to the same customers and you still don’t get higher sales; if anything, they continue dropping. This is a very big sign that you need to change the direction of your business (like big flashing red light kind of sign ^_^). If you can’t sell, then your business can’t survive. Find a way to change your business for the better.

26036627.cms

If your sales keep going down – something’s gotta change

2. Your market industry has changed

Customers sometimes change their preferences and tastes; what used to be a trending product or service stops being popular. As an entrepreneur, you have to continually observe these trends in your industry and your business may have to adjust as they change. As a start-up entrepreneur, you may notice these changes late and that may affect your business. Start-up entrepreneurs have to learn to keep their ear to the ground when market trends shift or change so as not to get left out and start losing out in sales. This means you have to keep getting feedback from your customers, keep reading about your industry and any new changes or trends. Always stay informed and keep in touch with your customers by taking surveys and ensuring they are satisfied; as well as improving your products or services to suite their ever-changing needs.

Markets change often - keep an eye out

Markets change often – keep an eye out

3. You, as an entrepreneur, have changed

As an individual sometimes changes can occur in your life that change you in different ways. This can happen due to certain situations, environments or even changes within you as a person. These changes can affect you in a positive or a negative way. If you’re a start-up entrepreneur; if these changes affect you negatively, it can affect your start-up business negatively. This can manifest in different ways such as neglecting your employees or customers; which would result in lower productivity and sales. It’s best if you feel that you’ve changed as an entrepreneur; make the changes work for you in a positive way – even if it means changing your business model. This is especially necessary if your priorities have changed and they don’t go hand in hand with what your business is doing.

Image Credit: essentiallifeskills.net

Image Credit: essentiallifeskills.net

If you are experiencing any of the signs above or even all of them (yup, this can all happen at the same time ^_^), make sure you sit down and have a serious review of your current business model/plan and see what you have to change. Make changes that are necessary and positive to you and your business in the long run.

Have you ever had to change your business model as an entrepreneur? How did it go? Please feel free to share below.

If you found this post helpful, please share it with your network. Sharing is caring ^_^