To build your business, there are many things to consider. One being that no investor wants to invest in any company where it is just you. You need to have a team. Because if you were to have the misfortune of a sudden death, many investors would be interested in that company if they knew who would carry on the value. Business owners see this as an exciting opportunity and yet the toughest one to get right.
In this podcast with Pavlo Phitidis from The Money Show, he looks at the key elements in building the team you need for a business that can scale and grow.
Some key takeaways from this:
Global inflation and the strong Rand create an environment that is ideal to position your business to expand into global markets. Now is the time to explore the opportunities for growing a business and make it happen!
Finding the opportunity in crisis
On the one hand, global inflation rates are beginning to rise,. On the other, the strong rand helps to supplement measures that are sometimes beyond our control. However, the two together are providing an excellent atmosphere for a company to grow into worldwide markets.
In South Africa , we’ve become accustomed to inflation and the Reserve Bank’s ability to manage it by adjusting interest rates. And for us, dealing with this in our business is almost almost a kind of muscle memory. In more developed markets, this is profoundly unfamiliar territory.
This is compounded by the ongoing COVID supply chain crisis. It’s not going to change anytime soon and businesses are realising they need to learn to live with it.. As a business owner, protect yourself, get yourself a jab, do what you need to. But business isn’t going to stop any longer because it can’t afford to.
Listen to Pavlo Phitidis in this podcast of The Money Show, share the possibilities of expanding into global markets.
Why is it that the time is right to grow your business in developed economies like the UK and US?
The US and UK markets are viciously competitive to levels that we as South African companies are not, so entering those markets is not a simple task.
So, growing a business by understanding the market environment, guiding, and managing changes to your product or service, and finding access to those markets requires you to find someone who will be able to conduct market research for you and look out for your interests. It’s not something that you can commission from a so-called research agency that might be well located in the US, somewhere in Europe, or in the UK, where it may be. And I say that because, very often, those services bill you and then leave you with a document that contains a lot of theory but no practical path to getting to revenue quickly.
What you need to do to make it happen
The fear mongering taking place across the UK, in the US and Europe about the very real inflation impact – something that those environments are not used to – is creating a lot of discussion, and a lot of consternation, right across business. And that consternation is leading to a slowdown on the take up of services, and of investments. In those environments, the rand albeit stronger than it has been in a while, acts favourably for us because outsourcing to countries like South Africa, to companies that can respond effectively to it is where we are seeing massive growth across the clients that we are working with in South Africa.
It is a prime, prime opportunity to get that toehold in, which is so hard to gain. Now is the time because when you do, you learn fast what you need to do to upgrade your service and product and capability. You might as well have thrown a grappling line onto what will be the fastest moving ship for your revenue two or three years from now. But you need to be growing your business into an Asset of Value to ensure you’re ready to scale and grow into markets beyond South Africa.
Meetings can be a huge drain on time. And as business moves from online meetings to some in-person engagements, the demand to deliver a return on time – not just for you but for the person you are selling to, is more important than event.
While in Chicago, Pavlo attended a conference on experts tactics to advance sales and business growth. In this podcast from The Money Show he shares a few of these to optimise your outcomes from any business meeting.
How you set up a meeting, how you manage it, how you follow through after
How do you set up a meeting?
First impressions count, and people buy from people, not companies.
Creating this impression is entirely in your control.
Why are you meeting? Who needs to be there, who will be there, and what does success from that meeting look like?
The meeting agenda is the most powerful tool to get this right. Set it, confirm it, and use it to build consensus and excitement ahead of the meeting itself.
How do you manage a meeting?
How you enter the room counts. If you are selling to a team or to a single person, getting there ahead of time, being appropriately dressed, and knowing who your audience is sets you apart.
Introducing yourself and your team correctly reduces time wasting and creates a connection immediately. Your audience needs to remember your name, know why you are with your company, and find reasons to connect with and trust you.
The job of your team is to connect and resonate with the audience relevant to them and create an alliance and champion out of them.
How do you take notes in a meeting?
People buy from people, so whilst taking detailed and comprehensive notes has value, avoid doing it in the meeting. Eye contact and connection are more important. Make a list of who will be in the room and what their roles will be ahead of time. When it comes to discussion, which you’ve allowed for by setting up the agenda, write down only the powerful words that you can remember afterward to create your notes around. After the meeting, in the car, record your notes before leaving the parking lot.
How do you follow up after a meeting?
Always send a follow-up email. Using your notes, confirm what you heard, ask if anything further needs to be added or corrected, and confirm the action items and follow through that you agreed on in the meeting. Saying thank you at the end of a meeting as opposed to next steps impacts your audience’s expectations and what they are committing to doing next.
To “Scale & Grow” you need to up your game in the most important game of business, selling, is how we can get a return on time and cost. New habits are needed since repeating yesterday won’t change anything tomorrow.
If you are not growing your company, you are dying. The war in Ukraine, global supply chains, microchip scarcity, remote working, COVID, and inflation will kill your business… if you allow them to!
Inflation in a business is like cancer in a body. It’s often not detected until it’s either too late or requires a massive effort to eradicate and remedy. The best way to understand how it works is to think about R1,000 and what you do with it.
Say, inflation is running at 5%. If you place it in a current account, no interest is payable. At the end of the year, that R1K has the buying power of R950, and at the end of the following year, it’s worth around R900 and so on. Alternatively, you could place your R1k into a money market investment offering 4.5%. That way, before tax, you maintain the purchasing power of that money over the year. It’s worth R1,050 at the end of the year and so on. But the problem, of course, is tax and its impact on your purchasing power. That R50 interest earned can only be worth half of that, depending on your tax rate, but in any event, it still sees your money eroded. So here is the problem: many business owners don’t run calculations like this. They are too busy contending with the many challenges in the business environment. Their heads are also full of the deafening, seemingly relentless noise created by the information overflow generated by local, national, and global events.
But you leave it in your current account because you need to have it at hand.
In this podcast, Pavlo Phitidis discusses how your business may thrive in today’s economy, where the business environment, political environment, and global environment all play a role.
Why do you need to have it at hand and readily accessible?
Plan to plan, but no plan yet.
This is likely to develop a growing aversion to risk as well as a mindset that only ever sees risk. If you are here, either sell your business or get some help to get into the next option below!
The plan to sustain
Do what you’ve done until you have an idea of what you want your business to be. Whilst it’s better than not having a plan, it’s not good enough. The reason is simple. In your industry, you have competitors that are planning and acting on their plans to grow. Their growth erodes your business.
Make plans to expand.
Turn an idea into a plan, a plan into a document, the document into action. Or, even better, you can anchor your business into the future by defining what your company needs to be: an Asset of Value™. You engage your leadership team to set the 3-year plan and your operational team to develop the 1-year plan. Once all are aligned, you work with that team to break the year’s plan into quarterly milestones (measured outcomes over time). Once done, you create a budget. Once done, you delegate and assign the budget.
In this economy, business environment, political environment, and global environment, it’s tempting to feel overwhelmed, small, insignificant, unworthy, and incapable of growing your company and fulfilling your dreams and ambitions. Many people retain the shroud of an imposter, seemingly in control, up and at it and succeeding. The Jekyll and Hyde conflict exists in everyone – you are not an exception. It’s valuable to acknowledge and embrace. The frustration of this world must turn into anger. That anger must turn into positively inspired action. This is the turbine that propels action to make a difference and create a reality different from what we are told makes up the world. It’s a choice, and it’s in everyone’s power and self-interest to make it so.
The economy is emerging from the Covid slump; it’s the beginning of the year – there are a lot of new hires. So how do you get new employees up to speed fast and effectively?
Employees are drawn to different companies because of their distinct characteristics, whether it be the company’s remuneration package, culture, or growth opportunities within the company
What’s going through the employee’s mind.
Every employee needs a structure for them to get their work done. When there are systems in place to help the employees reach their full potential, it will be easy to settle.
If you build your business on solid systems, you will be able to make use of the right technologies to automate your business systems. The trick is to first build those systems manually and automate them in stages for the employee and the business after this. The implementation of good business systems will result in business achieving scalable and sustainable growth with the new employees and across all areas of the company.
Listen to this podcast from The Money Show where Pavlo Phitidis discusses how to get new employees up to speed and returning value.
This must say exactly what you want the person in the role to deliver. It must thoroughly define what the person must come in to build, run and be responsible for.
It’s even more important to make sure that the new employee ticks the following 3 blocks:
A clear and accurate Job description will play a critical role in searching for and selecting the right candidate for the role.
Training – what and how
Its important to make sure that you prepare a safe landing for your new employee. Make sure you understand the system they will be coming into fully and how they will fit in it so that it becomes clear from the get-go what it is expected of them. Failure to do the onboarding process effectively and provide essential training that enables the new employee to be effective in their role will leave them feeling like a misfit in your organization and lead to their loss of confidence in their own ability to deliver desirable results within their new environment.
Without the measurement and management of performance in your organization, you will not be able to gauge your organizational performance. The key here is to ensure that performance is consistently and fairly measured for all employees. Most importantly, good performance must be rewarded, and there must be consequences management for non-performance. This will help you retain good performance and help you weed out non-performers.
Where does the actual business value lie? Is it in the product, people, or processes? The lazy answer is that it relies on all three, but a deeper look into it might surprise you.
Physical or service, the product of a business refers to what the business offers to solve a customer’s problem. Sourcing, developing, and building a product or suite of products is essential for any business that trades. This often creates a mindset that centers the value of a company on its product.
Pavlo says he’s “heard utterances from my team is everything to if you want something done correctly, do it yourself.” So, which is it? Without your team, you are not a business. A one-person or two-person business is one that you create for yourself. The team is vital to “SCALE & GROW”, and advance the size, profitability, and ability of a business.
The daily, weekly, and monthly activities that you need to perform across your business functions govern the customer experience, the team experience, the supplier experience, and any other stakeholder in your business. Without process, chaos reigns. Too much process creates a pool of treacle for anything new to happen.
The best approach is to adopt an investor mindset, something especially hard for any company founder or owner to achieve.
Listen to this podcast from The Money Show where Pavlo Phitidis discusses “product, people, or processes”
Products can and will be imitated and replicated by competitors. With time and money, their value erodes. People come and go, and skills are more available now than ever before. A mindset arguing that people hold the business value. Then if that’s so, where is the value in the business if people come and go? Processes create the experience behind every engagement with a business. If a good experience a customer, supplier, or employee has with the company is reliable and predictable, they will continue to support that business. To get this right means that you need to understand your customers’ needs, wants, psychographics, and behaviours. It means you need to have a definitive culture and set of values that attract and repel employees, leaving you with those that identify with your company and, therefore, customers. In the order of processes, these elements need good products to trade effectively.
This equation of business value….it all starts, and ends, with processes leading the value investment!
The Covid Era is not over – this is the covid decade! The storm will continue. For those businesses that have survived the last 2 years, there lies within them the possibility of making a success of the next 8 years. The important mind shift needed is to turn ‘hope for a better future’ into a business strategy to adapt. It remains critical for businesses to prepare for this year by having a clear end-objective in mind. The focus should be on why you do what you do and being conscious about the fact that as you cast your mind in the future, the path to get there will chop and change.
Listen to Pavlo Phitidis discuss this on The Money Show.
Possible business strategy:
“I’m growing despite Covid, the economy and politics”
There is a real opportunity to take up the market, to take up the customers, the products, and the opportunities that your competitors are not going to be taking up because most people will remain indecisive in this country, especially around their businesses.
“Because of my age and/or stage, I’m exiting”
Once the decision to exit has been made, build, manage and lead your business differently to make sure your business is buy-able and therefore sell-able.
Digital marketing is about promoting your brand to connect with potential customers using the internet and other forms of digital communication. This includes not only email, social media, and web-based advertising, but also text and multimedia messages as a marketing channel.
A bold statement, specifically for and from the context of Business to Business (B2B) growth businesses with annual revenues R1m-R150m
*Big brands, who can throw the most money at the platforms, tend to win in this space, and business to consumer (B2C) also has a different experience on digital.
Listen to Pavlo discuss his reasons on this podcast from The Money Show:
It’s a broken covenant or we’ve been duped by the giant conglomerates who run these platforms – Google, Facebook and Twitter
In the beginning we were told good content is king, so create good content and the platforms would support your growth by ranking you better and growing your audience and community. Your ads, if created well, would pop and generate response.
Then it all changed, after we’d invested deeply in creating content for our community These platforms listed, and turned from looking at us, the users, to looking at their shareholders, and delivering returns. And the algorithms changed to serve that audience. And for users, they keep changing. You can’t keep up.
Today, we create good content, we build our community, but discover that we’re only reaching a small percentage of our community – and to reach the rest we need to ‘boost’ our ad.
The context: A changing environment
In the old days TV really worked. In South Africa especially, there were only a few options – SABC, eTV and multichoice so you knew if you flighted an ad it would reach millions. But that ad costs millions of Rands so that was only an option for corporates.
Radio used to be an affordable and impactful option for SMEs but it has been hard hit by Covid as fewer people are in their cars, in traffic. Even before Covid, it had taken a huge knock from audio on demand which has become accessible to almost everyone from Spotify to podcasts to youtube.
Print has been decimated by online, which allows us access to news from millions of sources.
So, who can help us?
It’s become so complex to understand the digital marketing reports and results and so we turn to agencies to interpret the stats, and act on them.
Digital marketing is a long and expensive game, and SMEs are impatient – they want to see results! So the agencies move up the ranks to serve corporates.
In addition, many of the agencies are affiliated to one or more of the digital marketing platforms, and are motivated to use those platforms for your spend.
Where to now?
There are 2 trends that Pavlo sees emerging to get results from digital:
If you are an agency that is confident digital works – then consider getting paid on the basis of delivering leads.
2. Relationship marketing
Migrating good old fashioned relationship marketing into a digital delivery.