With South Africa’s economic outlook looking bleak – a result of loadshedding, rising interest rates, decreased consumer spending and a devalued rand – now, more than ever, businesses need to focus on upping efficiency and productivity and enhancing creativity and innovation if they’re to remain relevant. To help you do just that, we’ve put together a list of business hacks for every day of the week…
That you need to aggressively pursue a marketing strategy to grow, or even just maintain, your market share seems to be a no-brainer. Yet, it’s surprising how many small business owners have no such plan of action. Reports Bloomberg Business Network, the majority of small businesses take a haphazard approach to marketing, including:
- Not having a dedicated line item in their budgets for marketing
- Not breaking down that general marketing spend into targeted categories, such as advertising, website, social media, PR, e-commerce, events, and so on…
- Defining the audience they want to reach, including demographics such as age, gender, income, buying habits, brand attitudes, etc.
Don’t leave your marketing to chance! Set aside the first day of the week to work on your business, instead of just working in it. Work on:
- Analysing competitors
- Recording potential customers in a database
- Creating brand personas
- Cold calling
- Compiling and sending out marketing packs
- Blogging, updating your website and pushing content to your social media profiles
- Online and offline advertising and promotions.
Low Tech Tuesdays
Whilst social media can be enormously valuable when used wisely, both as a source of information and as a marketing tool, too much aimless browsing of content-flimsy newsfeeds can be counter-productive. In a recent study conducted by US email software provider harmon.ie, digital distractions – like cruising social networking sites, texting, instant messaging and apps – are costing business over $10 million per year! Stop the timeline time suck! Disengage from social media on this day to concentrate solely on project work, meeting with clients, admin tasks, and general running around. If you don’t have the discipline to lock yourself out, there’s an app for that! Try Anti-social or Cold Turkey.
This business hack comes courtesy of Facebook and Asana co-founder Dustin Moskovitz, who encourages entrepreneurs to repeat this mantra: I will not schedule meetings on Wednesday. No Meetings Wednesdays (NMW) works on one simple premise: meetings, even telephonic or Skype ones, cause an interruption in work flow. Moskovitz categorises the workforce into two entities – managers and makers. Managers, he says, are too hooked on meetings, and end up dragging the makers (those who actually do) with them down the rabbit hole. Points out Moskovitz, not only do the makers need time to focus on actually creating, but so too do the managers!
Good ideas don’t happen in a bubble. In fact, argues Madison, a US company which creates and markets social recognition programmes for corporations and academic institutions, ideas only become good when they’re shared, copied and adapted across an enterprise. Smart businesses take the time to uncover the good ideas lurking inside them, and provide a platform for them to be heard, discussed and given flight. On this day, host an open meeting where workers and management alike can throw ideas around. Brainstorming around a particular theme – like customer service, product development, marketing and sales, etc. – can help focus these weekly meetings. Provide coffee and snacks, plenty of whiteboards and coloured markers and be sure to encourage the free flow of ideas, great or small, without fear of judgement, ridicule or grandstanding for best effect.
Remember that marketing call you logged on Monday? Those tasks you delegated to your assistant and that request for payment on Tuesday? Good managers don’t micro-manage, but they certainly do keep a firm hand on the reins, so use this last day of the week to tie up loose ends and keep the show on the road. Schedule brief fifteen-minute meetings with individual members of staff to touch base, get status updates, iron out any challenges and set agendas for the coming week.
Bonus Hack: Free Food Friday
This article in Forbes reminds us that happy employees are the most productive. How about a dash of fun once monthly to keep spirits high? Free Food Fridays are a great way of showing your team how much you appreciate their efforts – order in the pizza or knock off a little early to enjoy a company barbecue, and reap the rewards!