Tshikovha Environmental and Communication Consulting gives back.

Moudy Ngwedzeni from Tshikovha Environmental and Communication Consulting, sponsored 3 Laptops to the Middelburg Rotary Club.

Moudy Ngwedzeni from Tshikovha Environmental and Communication Consulting, sponsored 3 Laptops to the Middelburg Rotary Club.  These laptops were given to St. Joseph’s Old Age Home in Middelburg.  Mom’s, Dad’s, Grandma’s and Grandpa’s now have the ability to Skype with their families that live abroad. What a change that brings to many families having a chance to see their great grandchildren for the first time!  Thank you Moudy & Tshikovha.

 


How to build a dream team

To understand the meaning and importance of a dream team, use this handy acronym:

T E A M – Together Everyone Achieves More.

As every successful entrepreneur knows human capital is the greatest asset of any business. A dream team makes it possible to accomplish the business’s overall objectives, be more productive and ultimately more profitable. But more importantly a great team in place frees the business owner up to concentrate on further growth.

The first step in finding your dream team is to realise that the staff you get are the staff you deserve. This means that the staff you employ is a reflection of either your ability or your inability. The people you attract into your life are a mirror of where you are in your own life. If you are a skilled business owner and a great leader you will attract great people to work for you. Then when you get to this level, it’s rarely necessary to look for people: they usually look for you. All too often it’s the business owner who is the weakest link in the chain of command.

Business owners complain that their sales team is not professional enough but often they refuse to provide adequate sales training or attractive incentives. Others think that if their employees would just be more productive and make fewer mistakes, revenues and profits would increase. However, these same owners have no adequate systems in place to help eliminate human error or maximize efficiency.

Here are four factors that contribute to the success and synergy of a well-rounded team:

  1. Unleashing the Power of Vision

Before you place a recruitment advert, clearly define a vision statement for your business so your team can all play by the same rules. Without one, a business is like a society with no culture.

  1. SMART Goals

Achievement depends on the underlying infrastructure of clearly defined and realistic goals. Goals offer direction to keep the team focused on the mission and vision of the business. Goals should adhere to the acronym for S M A R T: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Results-oriented and set within a reasonable Time frame.

  1. Rules of the Game and Action Plans

Define boundaries and areas of quantifiable responsibility so that your team know their unique and specialised roles to prevent unnecessary overlap. Provide an action plan. Give each new employee an appropriate title, a written contract, a detailed job description and line of reporting.

  1. Risk Taking

Business teams are like trees – they are either growing or dying. Without being open to some degree of healthy risk, it’s impossible for a team to flourish and push the limits of creativity and performance.

Putting all this altogether plus supporting your team with tools, training, technology and systems will free you up to operate your business from a distance and concentrate on your next profitable venture.


FIVE WAYS TO INCREASE YOUR PROFITS

One of the most common questions I get asked by business owners is how they can improve their profits. This is understandable as profit is the one reason anyone is in business. My answer is simple. Increasing profit can only be achieved by working on and improving the variables that contribute toward the profitability of your business.

It’s wise to view your business in terms of five separate and distinct areas. You need to break your business down into a simple schematic. It doesn’t matter what size your business is or what the business does the same schematic still applies. We call it the Business Chassis. When you truly understand how a business works, you’ll realise that profit is the result of many variables and it can’t be directly altered in isolation

Conventional businesses looks at sales from the standpoint of three variables namely sales, expenses and profits defined by the formula: Sales – Expenses = Profits.
In this narrow approach, each variable depends on the other – forcing businesses to look at either increasing sales or decreasing expenses in order to influence margin and ultimatley the profitability of the business.

There are only five ways to truly grow your business: Increasing the number of leads, increasing conversion rates, increasing average transaction size per customer, increasing the number of transactions per customer and increasing profit margins. If you increase all of those factors by just 10 percent, you can give your bottom-line a massive boost.

I want to share five simple, proven (and low-cost) strategies you can use immediately to start feeding more profit to your bottom line. Most of them involve resources you probably already have in your business or little “tweaks” to strategies you may already be using.

Strategy 1

Increase your margins by taking a price increase on your bestselling product or product range. If you don’t know what your strongest product is, now is the time to find out.

Strategy 2

To increase your average rand value sale, create a guarantee especially if none of your competitors have one. Guarantees are great ways to covert customers and establish long-term customer relationships. This is especially true in categories where guarantees are hard to “guarantee” or in industries that don’t offer any. Communicate the guarantee to your target market. This will boost the number of referrals among current clients and increase the number of qualified leads.

Strategy 3

To increase your average number of transactions, create loyalty and referral programs. While a lot of companies use this strategy, many don’t use it correctly. To get the most out of a reward program, it should be targeted at your highest-yield customers, those truly loyal customers or clients who don’t haggle on price. This involves segmenting your client base. Done right, you can create both a rewards program and a referral program that is profitable versus one that simply defaults to discounts or giveaways.

Strategy 4

To increase your conversion rate, create sales scripts for your salespeople and train them. Sales scripts help to frame your sales process. The sales script should uniformly help initiate and build rapport which leads to higher sales.

Strategy 5

To increase your number of leads, test and measure low-cost ways first. Then move to paid advertising. Lead generation is actually the most costly of the profit-boosting strategies. So start with low-cost ways you can track for results before you start spending thousands on an advertising campaign.

Remember, you are looking for incremental increases to your bottom line. A 10 percent increase in each of these areas will make a significant impact on your profits as long as you keep your costs in check.

Profit-building strategies serve a number of very important purposes in business. First, they focus your mind and attention on what needs to be done to maximise your profits. Secondly, by throwing the spotlight on these areas you could learn things about your business you never knew before.


INSTANT CASH FLOW: TURN YOUR COMPANY INTO A MONEY MACHINE

Novice entrepreneurs quickly learn the depth of truth behind the old saying: “It takes money to make money”. Beyond profit, cash flow is king in business. Launching a business can be next to impossible without cash to work with. It is therefore vital for start-up businesses to establish cash flow as quickly as possible during their first year of operation.

Since stiff lending standards continue to cripple many start-ups what can a new business owners do beyond trying to borrow from family and friends and maxing out your credit cards. Here are some funding and cash flow ideas to help you get started. These practical tips will help you to generate cash flow while generating a customer list that will serve as a foundation for repeat business for years to come.

  1. Primary service or product: One of the easiest ways to boost cash flow and profit is to drive your customers to your bestselling (or primary) product or service that has the highest profit margin.
  1. Deposits or pre-paid contracts: If you are in a service business, deposits are a great way to generate cash flow upfront. However, you need to deliver on the back end, or else you won’t be in business for very long. If you have a product-based business, you could also do the same with pre-orders, with a percentage of the final sales price going to secure the order or a certain delivered-by date. The key here is to get creative, as there are endless possibilities in making this model work for you.
  1. Periodic “closed-door sales” for new customers or loyal customers: This is a great way to literally create a captive audience for your product or service. Set it up as a workshop, class or demonstration in an environment you can control and with a sales and pricing process you can direct. For this event, “sale” doesn’t need to mean “discount.” Offering an exclusive, limited-time purchasing period for new customers (and in the future for loyal customers) is an incentive for them to get the latest, greatest, best or most innovative products or those with the greatest value before everyone else.
  1. Shorter payment windows: Depending on your company, you could combine upfront payments with shorter terms, especially if you are in a service category. It’s best to position the shorter terms as an offer with something to act as an incentive for paying early like a small discount. A better option is a small gift or some other kind of added-value offer. You could also position this as both a thank you and an incentive to keep customers consistent with shortened terms.
  1. Loyalty programmes price: Establish a loyalty programme and add enough value so you can charge a nominal joining fee of around R25.00. While there may be some initial costs upfront for producing loyalty cards or customer tracking, the extra cash generated over time ends up going straight to the bottom line. Not only can you create a highly targeted list of better qualified customers, but this is a simple way to easily generate cash quickly just by asking for it.
  1. Don’t Discount: Rather offer additional incentives such as free home delivery to assist you in closing the sale. Focus the customer on the benefits and quality of your product, not the price. Don’t be afraid to lose the sale. That way you will attract only A and B grade customers and clients.

You can expand on these strategies and also look to increase your value adds at different buying, sales or customer contact points along the way. The key is to test and measure what works and what doesn’t because no strategy will work perfectly for you every time. If you market correctly and test and measure everything you do, keeping your winning strategies and killing your losing ones, you will eventually find your cash flow “sweet spot”. That will lead to larger profits, increased cash flow and a healthier, more successful business over time.


BUSINESS COACHING: BEFRIEND THE 2014 TREND

The business trend for 2014 is to hire an uncomfortable friend in the form of a business coach. A business coach is not a nice to have – it’s a business growth necessity. It’s possible to survive without a coach but it’s difficult to thrive. What business people don’t realise is the increased profit returns from the guidance of a retained business coach far out way their monthly cost.

When talk turns to business coaching, many business owners have the perception that it’s only for businesses that are struggling or failing. This is a common misconception and couldn’t be further from the truth and here’s why.

A coach can see the wood as well as the trees. They see your business from the outside in and are trained to put business, marketing and sales systems in place which, in our experience, most business owners are not trained in. They listen, make you focus on the game, make you run more laps than you feel like running, tell it to you like it really is and give you ideas you hadn’t thought of. A coach is an educator, a marketing manager, sales director, training co-ordinator, partner, confidant, mentor, and as mentioned earlier, your uncomfortable friend. In the relationship, you are the player and it’s up to you to take the field. The business coach will push you, cajole you, help you be there for you and even do some things with you but realise you have to do the work. In the end only you can be accountable for your success.

When we think about coaching and who benefits from investing in it, a good starting place is to think sports and why Olympiads, who are arguably at the top of their game, invest in and value their coach. Even though they are champions in their field, they recognise three key things that we in the business world can learn from:

1. It’s not failures who look to a coach, it’s those who show the most promise and the greatest commitment to being a winner.

Eric Schmidt of Google and JP Garnier of Glaxo SmithKline have coaches and they already run two of the most successful companies globally. In the sporting world, if investing in a coach was about being weak and failing, why would Tiger Woods and Roger Federer bother to maintain full time coaches? But they do and what they all have in common is a recognition and appreciation of a number of following truths:

  • You don’t need to be sick to get better
  • Your coach doesn’t need to be an expert in your industry or sport to make you one.
  • Our sustained A-game is only possible with an outsider perspective because even   the best have blind spots and miss other possibly better ways of doing things.
  • Even top performer has their off-days and setbacks and a bouncing board with accountability is what gets them through.

2. Being great at something does not mean that you are good at everything and that’s okay.

The brutal truth is that market conditions for businesses have shifted and developing responsiveness to this is non-negotiable if business owners are to successfully go to the next level or be around next year. Getting help with re-strategising, re-prioritising, refocusing, introducing new techniques and investing resources differently to ensure this is done well is not about some sort of admittance “we’ve failed” or “we’ve done something wrong”, it’s about good business. And it works. Studies have shown that coached companies outperform non-coached companies over the life of the business seven-fold. And these sorts of successes are the reason why coaching is one of the fastest growing sectors in the world today.

3. Winning turns the cost of hours spent on getting good at what you do, being disciplined, sweating and sacrificing into a worthwhile investment.

Any top level sportsman will attest to hours spent honing, training, rehearsing and investing in their craft often involving great personal sacrifice. But if you were to ask Pete Sampras, Patrick Lambie or Chad le Clos if it was worth it – the answer would be a resounding yes. Likewise business owners who want to build resilient businesses, especially in tough economic times, need to be investment rather than cost-minded. It’s not about what’s put in but what you get out of it that counts. When it comes to coaching, an experienced, accredited Business Coach with reputable association; a demonstrable track record of helping others to be successful and guaranteed results is undoubtedly able to influence and improve your game often quite dramatically. They are able to provide perspective, accountability, companionship, quality advice, be a bouncing board and ask the hard questions that often need to be asked in order for you to successfully build your dream. The laps that they make you run to get fiscally fit and to build entrepreneurial muscle are so worth it in the end.