Five tips to help run a successful SME

Building a successful small business is very fulfilling but one needs to be armed with the right knowledge. / 123RF
Building a successful small business is very fulfilling but one needs to be armed with the right knowledge. / 123RF

Building a business is not a fairytale, but it can be one of the best journeys ever.

While it is often stressful, small businesses are crafted with a personal passion and, more often than not, they support families, making their success vital.

In its recent National Small Business Survey 2017, the NSBC shared the good, bad and forgotten tactics that small businesses reported.

Founder and chief executive of the NSBC, Mike Anderson, said that the most common area of activity needed, but also neglected, is marketing.

"Each year businesses need marketing, but lack the funds or the know-how. We hope to assist in this area, providing widespread advice and training. This area has also evolved immensely over the years due to the pervasiveness of technology, leaving small businesses lacking," Anderson said.

He said that technology is a double-edged sword in marketing as it can greatly help a business, but it can also create issues where there were none.

He shares five SME marketing tips for small businesses:

  • Awareness

As with all marketing tools, you need to be aware of your audience, what will resonate with them and what tools to use to do it successfully. Things change, and being vigilant of what is relevant and powerful in your business will help you select the appropriate tools.

  • Consistency

Regardless of the tools you use, consistency is the silver bullet. Whatever you choose to do, do it properly and often. If you are cash-strapped, choose one tool and use it as often as possible. It is common sense in essence, as you only remember something or someone if you are consistently exposed to it.

For example, if you choose to use social media, then post daily or weekly, depending on your target audience and product or service. Your brand also needs to be used consistently throughout all your marketing. Make sure your brand execution is exactly the same regardless of the platform or the tool.

  • Strategy

I can't stress enough that a strategy has to be a careful balance of dynamism and steadfastness. Be dynamic enough to change and evolve as your market does, but don't move too far away from your original strategy. Too many businesses panic and try to change course mid-strategy. Believe in your plan, stick to it, but find ways to ensure it is dynamic enough to survive market demands.

  • Story telling

Marketing, as a result of the harsh economy and business climate, has become more personable, meaning that your brand needs to resonate with people more deeply than ever before. You have to connect with people, telling them more about what your business is, what your values are and why they should support it. This is done via a PR campaign mostly as PR is where the content is written and shared, either via the media or through blogs, websites and social media.

  • Building your brand

Brand building does not need to be expensive or complicated. Again, choose an element and use it consistently. If you have chosen a heavy online strategy for example, then support it with banner advertising, blogging and website-driven tactics. Focus and drive awareness while the PR drives the content and storytelling.

The National Small Business Chamber (NSBC) is a nonprofit membership organisation