Business - Outsourced Finance

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One of the biggest challenges that your business can face is getting customers. Customers are the number one reason why your business will survive and grow. It is unlikely for people to walk into your office asking for what kind of products or services you are offering unless they know you and what you do.

Ultimately, your prospective customers need to know why they should choose your product or service. They also need to know how it can benefit and offer solutions to their problems, and how it is differentiated from your competitors. To communicate this information, your SME may need to hire a marketing agency next year. The purpose of a marketing plan is to generate leads that can lead to sales conversion.

 

Why You Should Hire A Marketing Agency Next Year

 

Expertise

As an SME, you may not have your own marketing department or the qualifications to market your own business. Therefore, you may require the depth of expertise and experience that a marketing agency can provide. Marketing agencies usually have access to media buyers, filmmakers, researchers, Search Engine Optimization (SEO) professionals and other experts who have advertising knowledge that your business may lack.

 

Saving Money

Although working with a marketing agency may seem expensive, an agency can save you a lot of money on the placement of ads. Most of the marketing agencies receive discounts from TV, radio stations, and publishers to advertise on cheaper rates than if you decide to deal directly. A marketing agency can also come up with new different ideas to redesign ads and be more efficient while saving your business money and space.

 

Saving Time

Hiring a marketing agency can save your business valuable time. While you or your team may need time to rump up, a marketing agency executes a marketing plan immediately. This gives you time to run your business and focus on other aspects of your business that require your attention.

 

Brand Development

Developing a brand can be a complex task even for businesses with experience. Marketing agencies can help your business with this process by developing logos and advertising ideas that can develop brand awareness. They are also effective in providing you with research that allows you to target your prospect market.

 

Keeping Up with Up to Date Marketing Trends

The most essential function of marketing agencies is the duty to be aware of all changes that occur in the market. They have personnel who attend meetings, conferences and study the market to know all the changes. Therefore, marketing agencies have access to the latest technology, changes in marketing, SEO and social media that your in-house marketer may not have access to.

 

Easier to Scale

The only way you can raise the output of your in-house marketing team is to employ more workers. However, if you hire a marketing agency, they already have a team that you can call upon at a moment’s notice if you need to work with a bigger strategy. They also have the experience to help your business scale faster.


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In recent years, more effort has been placed from both private and public sectors to create an environment where entrepreneurs can start their businesses and grow. However, many SMEs are faced with common challenges that inhibit the growth of these businesses. More than 50% of SMEs in South Africa fail within the first 5 years. If you are a business owner or are looking to start a business, here are the three major challenges you are going to face and how you can deal with them.

 

1. Access to Funds

Small business owners in South Africa often lack enough to fund their businesses and do not have a strong credit history. Due to cycles of income inequality and social injustices brought about by South Africa’s history, these issues worsen. In addition, there is a mix of conservative cultures among most of the banks in South Africa. The banks and other lending institutions are resistant to lend SMEs or startup businesses because it is perceived as a risky investment.

Solution:

SMEs need to have documents to show their projected value using the accepted methods and understand their real financing needs. As young entrepreneurs, you need to seek guidance from those who established in your area of business. This can help you create a viable business plan that presents crucial information to the funding institutions.

 

2. Access to Business Networks

Another major challenge that you are going to face as a small business owner is accessing the right business networks. Entrepreneurs who are established will tell you that to succeed, you need valuable business networks and relationships. As such, you are unable to access things like funding, mentorship, markets, and other benefits of having a network with leaders in the industry.

Solution:

Start building a network with your local business community and fellow SME owners. In time, these relationships grow if there is regular communication and assisting each other. This is a starting point to build successful relationships that will last throughout your business career.

 

3. Human Resource Challenge

It is difficult to find and afford employees who are skilled especially in fields like sales, accounting, and finance. Due to changes in the market, your small business may not be able to keep workers around.

Solution:

There is a lot of talented and qualified personnel who prefer to work for less bureaucratic organizations. They look for jobs with policies that are flexible and room for growth. You can hire such workers, who together you can thrive and accomplish growth in your business. You need to highlight some of these benefits to attract qualified prospects in your business.

 

Concluding Remarks

While it is not easy to run a small or medium business, whenever faced with a challenge you need to have a problem-solving attitude as an entrepreneur. You should look for ways and solutions to address the problems facing your business head-on and focus on creating opportunities for growth.

 


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Although every entrepreneur sets their business goals, not many achieve them because they make a list of goals for the year and leave it that way. For you to achieve your business goals, breaking them down into actionable items over a shorter time period is advisable. If you implement the goals weekly, monthly, or quarterly, you have much more scope and control over the actions you take in relation to the overall goal. This way, you have a higher chance of achieving the goal. The following is a guide on how you can set Q1 smarter business goals.

 

Step 1: Start with the Big picture

It is ill-advised to create your quarterly goals without visualizing them as part of a bigger picture. Ensure that goals for the first quarter are practical and possible to achieve along with the overall goals. You can do this by planning out the goals for the entire year.

 

Step 2: Create Quarterly Goals

Once you have the big picture for the year, you can break the long-term goals into four quarters. Set milestones for each quarter that will help you achieve the overall goals for the year.

 

Step 3: Plan for Monthly and Weekly Milestones

For each month in Q1, you can set weekly milestones. These weekly bits are not overwhelming and are achievable within a shorter period, which can keep your employees motivated.

 

Step 4: Focus on Collaboration and Communication

Holding regular meetings with your team essential and necessary to evaluate current goals and their progress. The benchmark meetings ensure that people are on track towards achieving their quarterly goals. This also provides enough time to correct the course when necessary.

 

Step 5: Stick to The List, But Make Room for Flexibility

At times, even the laid-out plans can go astray and require room for change. While it is possible to predict many factors that can affect your business, change is inevitable and it may change your goals as well. For this reason, flexibility is crucial if you want to achieve your quarterly goals.

 

Step 6: Review and Reassess

Before starting a new year, you should plan out your strategy session with our team. Take the plans from the previous quarters and review your accomplishments in terms of the primary goals. You should then re-assess milestones or any areas where you missed the target. This is a way to identify gaps, learning points or issues within the team.

The changes you make sets the stage for the new quarterly goals and the primary goals that you must develop for the next business year.

 

Bottom Line

Once you start with implementing quarterly goals, you will never go back to a yearly overview of the goals you want to accomplish. This is because goals that are set on a quarterly basis are met faster and it motivates you and your team. However, you should not set too many goals for one quarter. Instead, focus on accomplish 2 or 3 goals rather than stacking many only to set yourself up for failure.


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With the Christmas holiday approaching, it is safe to say that most employees look forward to having some time off at the end of the year. On the other hand, employers are faced with a competitive business environment and tempted to stay open during holidays. While there are disadvantages of closing your business during the December holiday, there are also benefits of shutting down the business during the holiday.

 

Pros of Closing Your Business in December

 

1. Improving Productivity

People who take a break from work are more efficient than those who do not. During holidays, most employees are unproductive because they wish to spend more time with their families when they are also on holiday.

 

2. Saving on Overhead Costs

Closing your office in December saves on expenses such as lighting, or heating. If you decide to stay open, you would be lighting and heating a partially empty workplace since some of your employees will be on holiday.

 

3. Improving Employee’s Morale

The toughest time of the year to work is in the holidays. Vacations not only benefit the workers, but also the business. When you allow your employees to refresh and unwind, they return to work happy, excited and energized with solutions to old problems and new ideas to improve the growth of the business.

 

4. Letting Employees Know It Is OK to Rest

Many people believe that to achieve career goals and success, they need to work hard without taking breaks. Therefore, setting an example as the boss can make all the difference. If your employees see you always working without a break, they think that is what is required to get ahead. Let them know it is fine to celebrate holidays and spend time with your loved ones rather than focusing on the job alone.

 

5. Preventing Burnout

Closing your business during the festive season can prevent employees from burn out due to long hours of working and taking care of their families. This ensures that the overall health of the employees is taken care of.

 

Cons of Closing the Business

 

1. Loss of Revenue

Small businesses can face financial pressures if they shut down during the December holiday. Other businesses may be closed, and customers may be inactive, but there is still a risk of decreased sales, production, and the overall momentum in the business that could have an impact on revenue.

 

2. Missed Opportunities

A customer could be in desperate need of a product or service you offer during the holiday.  As such, you miss an opportunity of acquiring a new customer who might have been a loyal customer.

 

3. No Extra Time

If you shut down the business during the festive season, workers lack enough time to secure customs and complete pending projects ahead of the new year.

 

Bottom Line

While closing the business over Christmas undoubtedly has its pros in specific areas, the impact it could have on the missed opportunities and revenue generated may offset the financial success the business may achieve in the short term.


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Every business has its own vision, mission, and core values. Regardless of your area of specialization, you want to see where your business will be in years to come. As an entrepreneur, you set targets that can help you to achieve your desired growth and success in your business. Time and money are critical, which makes it challenging to achieve the goals you have set for your business all at once. However, your business may experience small victories on a regular basis. This shows that you are doing something right and your business is on the right track. For this reason, every small deserves a celebration.

 

Importance of Celebrating Wins

 

Motivation

Noticing even the small wins is essential for the success of your business. Motivation is closely connected to your mindset because you are motivated by successes. Therefore, you should give yourself multiple opportunities to move closer to your success.

 

Unifying Your Team Around Positive Results

Achieving every win requires sacrifice and hard work. Sometimes, there could be employees who struggle to get along. Celebrating their hard work and reminding them what they have achieved can help bring unity among them.

 

Building Momentum

When you celebrate success, your team is reminded that their hard work to reach a specific goal is an indication of how close they are to achieving more and bigger goals.

 

Focusing on The Positive Rather Than the Negative

Your business has taken some hits especially when establishing it. This can get you and your employees focusing on problems that your business face. Expressing gratitude for a victory in your organization ensures that you recognize when your business is in a good place. This way, it can help amplify the time your employees spend in a positive mindset.

 

Reminding You That Setting Goals Works

While achieving goals is challenging, it is also achievable. It also feels great when you hit the goals you have set. Celebrating for the achievement of a goal that you had set motivates your team to set and reach the next goal.

 

To Reward Employees

A celebration is a chance to reward employees who outperform other employees. This mechanism can help create and reinforce ideas from your team. It can also encourage healthy competition, which can increase productivity and better results from your workforce.

 

To Remind Your Team That They Work for A Winning Company

As a business owner, you are a leader that your team follows and believes in. most people love and look forward to working for an organization that is growing and winning. Therefore, you are building your employees’ morale by acknowledging success in your business.

 

In Conclusion

Recognizing and celebrating wins is an essential and powerful motivator for you and your team. This is because it shows that you appreciate your achievements and reinforces the meaning behind working hard. In turn, it motivates and builds your confidence to take the next step towards accomplishing the overall goal. Part of celebrating your business win is recharging and reflecting on what worked well and what did not work well in achieving the business milestone.


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No one likes to see a loyal and hard-working employee go. Especially if they are a key player in your business. Though you may feel let down, there may be more to their resignation than meets the eye and, in many cases, negotiations and changes can be made to encourage them to stay on.

 

Ultimately, it’s your employee’s decision whether to stay or not, but here’s how to negotiate a win-win situation, or, at the very least, part on the best of terms:

Talk to your employee

This should be an obvious one but often it’s not done. Find out why they are considering to resign. When you understand your employee’s underlying motivation to leave, you have a better chance to map out a response strategy. Understand if they are leaving due to better compensation, new opportunities, or if there are aspects within your company that make them not want to continue.

 

Meet or beat their offer

While money may not necessarily be the reason why an employee is quitting, increasing their salary can motivate them to stay. You can raise their salary according to your salary scale without over-committing. It goes without saying that increasing their salary can act as much-needed leverage for you.

 

Check on the benefits

A critical consideration when you are making a counter-offer is the kind of benefits you offer your employees. It could be possible that your employee is leaving because their new job offers full medical aid, incentives, or more paid leave days. It may be a good idea to review the benefits that you offer your employees and identify where to improve.

 

Improve your workplace’s environment

Time is valuable, professionally and personally. If your employee is resigning based on work schedule, create a flexible working environment for them so that they are not working more than they should. This is especially important if your employee has young children. Consider allowing them to tele-commute or work from home one day a week, flexi-hours to avoid traffic, and adding on incentive-based half-days.

 

Follow up

Your employee might accept your counter-offer and decide to continue working for you, but to prevent them from handing you another resignation letter it’s important to make sure that you touch base with them regularly to ensure they’re happy.

You may make a compelling case and offer an amazing package of benefits, but your employee might still decide to quit. Knowing when to stop trying and moving on is also important if your counter-offer negotiations fail. Respect your employee’s decision and focus on making a business environment where employees want to stay and thrive.

Want to up your SME game (so that employees stay, and not leave you in the lurch?). Contact Outsourced Finance today.


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The success of many a start-up often comes down to blood, sweat, tears – and self-discipline. While running your own business can mean more freedom, it also means that you need to be able to manage yourself: for some, self-discipline comes naturally, but for most of us it’s an uphill battle.
A business doesn’t run itself, and, in a world full of distractions, how do successful business owners follow through to get things done?

Here are some tips that can help you manage yourself – so that you can manage your start-up:

Set achievable goals

Set yourself a specific target. This can involve anything you want to do, whether it’s getting up earlier or finally doing your tax return – but be realistic: start small, and set a reasonable deadline so that it’s not open-ended. When you achieve a goal, reward yourself.

The more milestones you reach, the easier it’ll be to hit those big goals – like increasing turnover, or landing that big client. Keep yourself motivated by tracking your progress (use a goal-setting app or a simple journal).

Change your perception of willpower

Most people give up before they even begin by claiming they have no willpower. But it’s not something that you have or don’t have: it’s a behaviour you can learn. Understanding that willpower is something that needs to be practised is half the battle won.

Like goal-setting, you need to start small – and you need to implement an “if X happens, I’ll do Y” approach. For example, want to wake up earlier? Don’t leave it up to willpower to get out of bed, rather set your alarm 10 minutes earlier at first (and put the alarm out of arm’s reach so you need to physically get up to switch it off). Keep doing this for a week, then set it 15 minutes earlier, and so on. That way you practise – and then instil – an early-rising habit.

Remove distractions

It makes it much easier to remove distractions so that they don’t add to temptation in the first place. This takes willpower, but as we’ve already mentioned, you’ll need to put a plan in place in order to guarantee success.

For example, if you are working on a desktop, you can use an app blocker to block the websites that distract you (try Google Chrome’s Stay Focused extension), or if you have a habit of checking your social feed on your phone, simply delete all the social media apps. Need to get more work done in the evenings? Cancel your Netflix subscription, and put your phone on Do Not Disturb mode.

Prioritise

There are many tasks that we would rather do instead of others, but those tasks may not be as important. Start by writing down what you need to do and when it needs to be done by. Next, rank your tasks in order of importance and urgency. You will find that some may be important but not urgent or vice versa. Start with tasks that are both important and urgent and then work your way through to tasks that are less urgent and/or less important. You’ll have a visual representation of all the tasks at hand, so it’s easy to see how far you’ve come and what still needs to be done (pro tip: try keep your top to-dos to a maximum of three).

Effectively managing yourself will help you manage your business. Contact Outsource Finance to get you started on your path to success.


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Without customers, your business wouldn’t exist. Customer service is important, but it doesn’t necessarily mean that the customer is “always right”. In fact, here are a few reasons why difficult customers are actually bad for business…

They demotivate your employees

No matter how hard you try, chances are you’ll have to deal with customers that are less than pleasant.

If ever you need to make a choice between your employee (especially if they are not at fault) and a really difficult customer, remember that your employee has helped you make your business what it is today. And, employees who feel supported by their bosses are far more likely to give more to the business. It may even come down to either having to cut a difficult customer loose – or find a new hire. We say, keep the employee!

Sometimes they are more trouble than they’re worth

Jumping through hoops for unreasonable customers could run your business into the ground. They use up time and effort which could better be spent on others who appreciate and value your business – and who are more likely to return for repeat business in future.

As a small business or start-up, it feels as though every rand matters – even those from relentlessly irksome customers. However, by setting the precedent early on that the customer is always right, you may as well put a sign up welcoming more rude and demanding customers…

Learn from each experience, no matter how unpleasant it may be. For example, if you are working on a project and the customer constantly goes back and forth, insist that any further changes be charged for. This forces customers to make final decisions and not change their minds on a whim. We know you want to be seen as someone who goes the extra mile but you need to consider if that extra mile is worth it (or have become several extra miles, when the customer is only paying for a quick Uber ride).

Customers don’t always know best

You are the professional. That’s why people come to you for your product or service. The fact is that your customers often don’t know or understand the processes behind what goes into your product or service. Never assume anything when it comes to customers. The number-one reason a customer relationship (or any relationship for that matter) turns sour is because of poor communication. Communicate clearly and often. This helps to set realistic expectations and build trust.

None of this is to suggest that you throw customers out at the first sign of a disagreement. Both you and your customers are human after all, and misunderstandings are a part of life. Deal with, and learn from, each situation as it comes – but keep these points in mind when making decisions going forward.

Do you need help putting systems in place to mitigate any problems that may arise in the future – customer-related or otherwise? Contact Outsourced Finance. We are here to help.


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As an entrepreneur your business is your baby, and a work-life balance can seem like an impossible feat.

You are the main driver behind your business’s development and delivery, and with that comes a fear: a fear that if you step away for just a moment, everything will collapse.

Plus, today’s always-on tech means that you’re accessible day and night to unrelenting clients.

Working too long and too hard can lead to serious health issues, too; in Japan ‘death by overwork’ – karoshi – is a major problem, and has resulted in people literally working themselves to death.

That’s not to say that putting your all into your business will kill you, but if left unchecked burnout can have significant consequences. So here are our three tips for a better work-life balance:

1. Build a business that runs itself

Your business needs to be sustainable, so that it requires minimal input from you to grow it in the long term. Develop strategies to implement processes and hire the right skills to ensure your business is a working machine.

And please delegate: we get it, it’s hard. Our experience is that many entrepreneurs do not like letting go of control, but at a certain point it must be done.

2. Manage client expectations

Unrealistic deadlines will keep you working ridiculous hours. Manage client expectations and set doable deadlines. Consider giving yourself a ‘time buffer’ where possible. Rather under-promise and over-deliver than the other way around.

It’s also important to communicate with your clients when there will be a possible delay. The right client will appreciate the honesty.

3. Outsource where you can

Many entrepreneurs try to be a one-person show – HR, finance, marketing, IT, they do it all. This might save costs in the beginning, but it’s not sustainable. Outsource where you can, and where you feel like you don’t have a handle on things.

A work-life balance is essential. There’s nothing wrong with taking time off to refresh and regroup – trust us when we say that everything won’t fall apart. In fact, it’ll benefit your business, because you’ll be able to look at things with fresh eyes, not feel so overwhelmed, and take your dream to the next level.

Want to find out how you can balance your time between work and play, and let go of the reins a little, especially when it comes to your business’s finances? Contact Outsourced Finance for honest advice.


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We’re heading to year-end – and fast. As a small business, you’ll need to be prepared for the December/January break. Planning ahead will help ensure that your business runs smoothly – and remains competitive – during this slow time of year. Most small business owners are aware that things go quiet, but it can be incredibly stressful if you haven’t covered all your bases. Here’s how you can get ahead (and minimise cash-flow anxiety).

1. Mark your calendar

The best way to secure your business before year-end is by looking at your calendar. You may need to ‘double up’ now with work (including admin) to keep you covered over the quiet time – especially if you’re planning on taking a break yourself. Ideally you should factor this in at the beginning of the year, especially when it comes to your budget, as you’ll need to bring in extra clients before the holidays to make up for the lack of cash flow during the shutdown.

2. Hold an event

Holding an event during the run-up to the festive season can play a critical role in attracting new customers before everything closes. Events offer opportunities to engage with potential new customers, give some client-love to existing ones, and increase sales through specials. The event should be geared to secure new clients, and ensure their continued engagement with the brand into the new year. For instance, a yoga studio can hold a free class during the last week of the year to encourage January sign-up. Throw in some gift certificates too to spread the word about your business.

3. Get social

While it may be tempting to log off completely, staying active on social media during the December holiday season can help your small business gain much-needed attention (if you do need a break – we understand! You could also outsource this role to a marketing intern as a temporary solution). Again, you’ll need to plan ahead for this, so create that social media content plan now; keep it relevant to your industry and schedule a few fun posts, too. Even better, let your customers know via social before the season hits if you have any special offers coming up. While social is great, email is even better. Start targeting existing customers now by creating an email newsletter campaign geared towards the end-of-year period – you can use software like MailChimp to design and send out a campaign (free up to 2 000 email addresses).

Provided you’ve done some prepping, you’ll get through the December slow-down unscathed. As a small business owner, it can be very stressful during this period as everything grinds to a halt (unless you’re in retail, of course!). Need expert advice on how to cover all your bases for a seasonal slow-down? Contact Outsourced Finance; we’re here to help.