Nedbank Business Accelerator with 702

10 business tips to boost you through a tough economy

All of last week, Business growth specialist, Pavlo Phitidi gave updates on the growth of a number of the businesses highlighted previously.

Below are highlights from the tips Pavlo gave each business owner, in order for their business to go to the next level. Your business could benefit from these.

1. Keep innovating or die

New Technologies, owned by Paul Hanly (aka Mr Not Kodak) founded this adaptive learning technology, making online learning more efficient (personalised learning experience). First profiled in 2014, the business is now sitting with 35 000 users today.

Whilst Paul exploits the distribution opportunity in Africa. I think, with the Mr Not-Kodak hat on, he has to start getting into the data that comes out of every person who touches this technology, so we can start learning through metrics, how people learn, where people stumble, so he can consistently improve the quality and stay ahead of the trend in adaptive learning.

Pavlo Phitidis, Business growth specialist

Listen to the rest of the interview with Paul Hanly.

2. See the business gap and capitalise on it

Founded by Colwyn Savings, African Thread Tape manufactures stretchy plumbers' sealing tape, safer to use and inflammable for the gas industry. It is the only oxygen-safe PTFE tape manufacturer in SA that produces high density, heavy duty thread seal tape. This company was first profiled 2 years ago and growth has seen him securing the early stages of an R150 million deal that will see him make plumbing fittings in SA, competing with Chinese products.

Often people stand as pedestrians looking at the flow of traffic and they never see the gap to get into business. If you get into the traffic, even on a little scooter called plumbing tape. What he needs to do now is raise R10 million by finding an equity partner who can back him.

Pavlo Phitidis, Business growth specialist

Listen to the rest of the interview with Colwyn Savings

3. Don’t be afraid to explore new markets

Colin Govender’s company, Spiderwebb Altitude Systems, manufactures a range of fall arrest systems, consisting of a safety harness and lanyard, in a variety of designs and colours to suit any job specific application in the mining and construction industries.

Colin now has to 'tangibilise' his brand. He needs a website to identify 5 features that set this harness apart from another and bring the product to life. In order to get to the next level, he has to start looking at the oil and gas industry – a growing market in Africa.

Pavlo Phitidis, Business growth specialist

Listen to the rest of the interview with Colin Govender

4. Aim for double revenues on the same cost base through innovating a simple product

Spectank kitchen equipment cleaning system launched some 20 years ago, that removes black carbon build-up from commercial cooking equipment used in bakeries, hotels, restaurants etc. Now in 35 countries around the world, CEO and Founder, Martin Glauber just secured the exclusive rights for a disinfectant product that does the job at a fraction of the cost.

Martin has the products that have good cost-efficiencies and capabilities to them. He has breached into most of the hot kitchens in SA. he uses franchises to distribute this product but there’s an opportunity to start working with his select franchises to bring on the black partners and to start targeting the mining industry.

Pavlo Phitidis, Business growth specialist

Listen to the rest of the interview with Martin Glauber

5. As it takes a village to raise a child, it takes a country to build a local brand

Founded by Ntombenhle Khathwane, AfroBotanics provides a solution of quality, natural products that are able to penetrate hair to soften, moisturise and prevent breakage, especially if the hair is worn in a natural Afro.

To build an internationally recognised brand, you first have to begin at home. Ntombenhle needs to get Shoprite and Dischem on board so that she can get a deeper footprint in the rest of the continent and build outwards from there.

Pavlo Phitidis, Business growth specialist

Listen to the rest of the interview with Ntombenhle Khathwane

6. Use free media to build distributors and customers

Lebogang Morule of Starde manufactures and sells hair dye in two main colours, red and the company’s biggest seller, black. These are most convenient to use in the ethnic hair market, as they utilise a spray technology.

Starde is sitting with about 100 000 Facebook followers. If the business uses social media cleverly – especially Facebook and Instagram - it can ignite the consumer environment and in turn motivate the retailers to start stocking the product.

Pavlo Phitidis, Business growth specialist

Listen to the rest of the interview with Lebogang Morule

7. Build compliance, capacity, capability, and confidence in your offerings

Dynamic Propshafts and CV Joints is a specialist company focused on the repair, balancing, servicing and manufacturing of propshafts and driveshafts. In addition, it also provides customers with a 24-hour breakdown service.

It takes a couple of things to crack the corporate code. Firstly you need to be capable and compliant. Then you need to sell confidence – it takes about 30 or 40 knocks to get into the corporate supply chain. Then the quality of your website is important, especially for a service company – it is the door or shop window. You also need to be versatile in the different languages of selling – including transformation, financial etc.

Pavlo Phitidis, Business growth specialist

To listen to the rest of the interview with Deon Labaschagne

8. Mine the human talent that you have, to develop a niche within a niche and become expert at it

Africa People Mover provides the missing link in intercity bus transport – delivering a safe, reliable and punctual service that is also very affordable. APM has found its niche by providing quality service, affordable fares, reliable coaches, personal safety, a convenient and reliable timetable and a punctual service.

A lot of the customers utilising these services aren’t used to incredible customer experiences. And a customer experience has to extend beyond buying a ticket, riding a bus and reaching a destination. There’s an opportunity for Tumisang to build his customer engagement processes on a cellphone, as opposed to a ticketing office where it’s about pushing volumes; so that he can get rated directly and create power through data collected, in order to improve customer experience.

Pavlo Phitidis, Business growth specialist

Listen to the rest of the interview with Tumisang Kgaboesele

9. Work with agents to grow your distribution base

The Herbal Pet provide pet supplements for horses, dogs, and cats, including The Herbal Horse, which provides natural supplements for horses, including calm mix (a kind of anti-depressant) and mare mix (for horsey PMS). What started out as an interest by founder, Beryl Shuttleworth is now in 14 different countries.

Beryl must continue to do market development and work on getting agents, including outlets and pet shops. If she creates a good incentive for an agent to position her product on their shelf, it will fall off the shelf into the customer’s basket. Pick your agents with care, they need to be excited to have it and as worried to lose it as well as you are to have them as an agent – a good toolkit for an agent-driven business like this one.

Pavlo Phitidis, Business growth specialist

Listen to the rest of the interview with Beryl Shuttleworth

10. Take advantage of a bad economy and provide a lean and mean cost structure

Lynne Scullard's motorcycle training company, Scully Scooters, runs a range of programmes designed to encourage people and companies to make use of these freewheeling vehicles, while at the same time reducing the ridiculously high number of road accidents in the country.

In light of a tough economy, where businesses need to be lean and mean in their costs structures. Lynne needs to sell her business on the accredited scooters and drivers and provide a service that says you can, as in an Uber service, hire a driver for an hour, a moment or a parcel. This provides a good scope for the well-established courier businesses to enjoy a service as and when needed; at the same time create a good link for youngster trained in this service to access economic opportunities.

Pavlo Phitidis, Business growth specialist

Listen to the rest of the interview with Lynne Scullard

Visit the 702 Nedbank Business Accelerator page for more information, stories and tips.

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