Tip 1: Side-step Load shedding If your business is 100% dependent on electricity, consider some options to ensure you can trade when Eskom decide you shouldn’t. Solar panels are the obvious choice but can be expensive. For a smaller business, consider a mobile solar solution, often used by campers. This should have enough for your Point-of-Sale! Alternatively, consider a generator. Depending on your requirements, it could range from R2,500 to R 20,000 if you have refrigeration to consider. Another option is to invest in battery or power packs. The UPS system allows for up to 8 hours of energy, depending on the configuration and demand. Tip 2: Create a digital connection with your customers Harvard Business Review suggests it costs you 25 times more to gain new customers, than to resell to existing ones. Making use of digital marketing tools to keep your existing customers informed of your latest products/services & promotions is a key strategy to grow your business. A customer database with sales history, combined with reporting tool, promotional e-mails, instant messages forms the foundation of a digital marketing plan. For business with larger volumes, consider a mobile application, e-commerce and even a chatbot to support the digital growth of your business. Also make sure your after sales support, sales inquiries and referrals are responded to effectively. Tip 3: Account like a super-hero The financial health of your business and a strong financial future depends on effective record-keeping. This is not only monthly posting of transactions, but rather to be on top of exactly what is coming in and out of the bank account. This is a discipline that has saved many businesses by ensuring you have accurate data when making key strategic decisions. Don’t only do this when the bank manager wants to see your management accounts: you should have a monthly meeting with your accountant to discuss the financial health of your business and explore opportunities to save costs, optimise inventory and most effectively apply your working capital. Tip 4: Take time to give back Regardless of the size of your business, there are plenty opportunities to share your skill, knowledge and experience to help young South Africans become the future we all want to see. Government has several programs and tax breaks to enable entrepreneurs to invest in our future. Discuss these options with your accountant to see if and how you can implement these in your business. Tip 5: Incentivise your value chain Imagine if all your customers and suppliers are working for you, selling your special product or service! It is easier than you think. Create an incentive program that rewards individuals who introduce new clients to your business. Make sure you consider the details and only reward someone once the referral generates new revenue. Be clear on the conditions up front to make sure the process is fair. Tip 6: Consider flirting with likeminded businesses to deliver more value Put yourself in your customer’s shoes. What can you do, to enhance or improve their customer experience? Perhaps by forming a strategic partnership with another business and offering an improved customer experience will mean 1+1=3.