South Africans call the first month of the year “Janu-worry,” and for good reason: after the extravagance that tends to occur with gifts, holidays and celebrations in December, the traditional It’s a tough month.
After a year of aggressive rate hikes, inflation reaching 7.8% and fuel prices rising to all-time highs, we now face the risk of cost spikes and further load shedding. For small businesses such as companies of carpenters, electricians and other skilled craftsmen, this means thinking on their feet and keeping costs tight to get them through a difficult year.
Here are some operational tips to get your business off to a good start and ideally turn a difficult year into a sustainable one.
right start of the year
January is the perfect time to get your business ready and ready for growth, rather than slowly getting back to work and waiting weeks for it to pick up.
It’s more important than ever that your team is properly motivated and fires up every cylinder so that your business can compete more effectively. Use quiet time for team building and brainstorming to increase efficiency, reduce costs and grow your business.
Motivate your staff to identify where money and effort is wasted and offer suggestions to improve the situation.
Plan for continuation. In a climate of economic and power uncertainty, now is the time to consider strategies and investments to keep your business running no matter what. It’s also a good time to review your insurance to make sure you’re covering all potential risks.
Network: Join business referral networks and trade associations for partnership opportunities and better insight into industry trends and solutions.
If marketing has been an afterthought, now is the time to focus on it. If your customers don’t know your business exists, you can’t grow your market. Establish a professional online presence and start marketing your products and services on social media. Set up a Google business profile and resolve complaints on consumer review sites and social media. Scan your local social media and WhatsApp groups to find people like you who are requesting your service. Some insurers offer services to ease the burden on small businesses. Get tax and financial advice. Legal Services; Marketing; Labor; Office and Medical Assistance; IT Help Desk. Updating license disks and paying traffic fines are also supported.
Ride your qualifications and references. Whether you’re a plumber, electrician, cabinet maker, refrigeration expert, tiler or builder, you’ve invested in getting certified. Stand out from the competition by highlighting your qualifications and experience on your social media pages, invoices, emails, and other communications. Also, ask your satisfied clients to testify and feature them on social media as evidence of your excellent service and expertise. Please post a photo.
Remember, every job is a gateway to that client’s network of friends and business associates. So focus on good service. Work with your team to define what good service looks like for your business and where it may be lacking.
control cash flow
Cash flow is king when it comes to resilient businesses, and many micro and small businesses fail because they can’t manage it.
January is a good time to take a closer look at costs and profit margins and make tough decisions. If office space is squeezing your bottom line, consider moving to a more affordable facility. If your product or service brings little or no profit, raise the price or cut it from your portfolio. Identify and prioritize high-value clients who pay in a timely manner.
Confirm financial commitments, including insurance portfolios, and organize your finances. Adequate coverage of all risks remains important, but simply mitigating risks and choosing products tailored to your specific business sector can help lower your monthly premiums. Business owners in the plumbing, electrical, engineering, or trade sectors receive a 10% discount on Commercial Insurance Buckies for Craftsmen offered by MiWay and a 10% discount on Tools of Trade cover when these are bundled in the same policy can benefit from Discounted premiums for business vehicles, business property, and business equipment will save you some extra land-off costs added in the long run.
With more strategic planning, prudent cost control and a renewed commitment to service excellence, your business can get off to a good start in 2023 and stay ahead throughout the year.
MiWay is a Licensed Property and Casualty Insurance Company and Financial Services Provider (FSP 33970).