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Marketing is not sales!

 

Many businesses often confuse Marketing with the Sales side of business because of their close relationship.  Marketing by definition of its primary purpose takes a far longer term view and focuses on driving consumer demand though public relations, packaging, advertising and promotional programmes which include Sales as an entity. Marketing operates at a much higher level in an organisation. Sales on the other hand takes a much shorter term view and focuses on satisfying the demand created by marketing campaigns.  Sales forms part of the Promotions element of Marketing  and takes place at a much lower level than marketing which overarches this discipline

In its simplest form the Marketing Mix consists of the 4 P’S viz: -Product- Price – Place and Promotion. All of these depend on the business’s ability to identify its Target Market accurately and to sell and deliver their goods through the correct distribution channels (Place), which in turn serve the consumers you are targeting.

With the level of competition today it is almost impossible to gain market share without first finding the growth segments within a specific product category. Market segmentation is a complex exercise but is an absolute essential part of creating a successful business. Take restaurants as an example there are approximately 65 Food retail outlets in the Ballito catchment area, most of whom struggle because they lack critical mass and do not have a clearly defined position in the market place and attempt to be “a jack of all trade and master of none”.

A start up business needs to focus on its core deliverables i.e. what it does best!  It has to have a unique quality whether it is a product or service that can set it apart from competitors and which is attractive to its target market. Many failures are “me-two” products just offering the same fare offered by existing well established competitors. Businesses that dominate their chosen market are profitable while those at the end of the food chain battle to survive.

Building a product difference into your consumer proposition can take many forms. These vary from unique formulae to great packaging, inspirational branding and creative but purposeful advertising. Marketers have a wide range of differentiating tools at their disposal but it usually depends on the uniqueness of the product idea or concept and the resources available to compete effectively in a chosen market niche or segment

Distribution/location or “Place “as it’s referred to in the marketing mix creates problems for many entrepreneurs.  An example being:-A retailer located in a high traffic area does not normally have to commit large sums of money to advertising as the passing traffic generates sufficient trade to offset the comparatively high rental costs. Low foot traffic sites on the other hand usually offer much cheaper accommodation with little exposure and therefore need expensive advertising to attract customers. The closer you can get to an anchor tenant’s entrance the higher the rental but your prime location almost guarantees exposure and thereby offsets the need for adverting investment.

Very few truly unique products are available to start a business and many failed attempts are due to an over traded market or lack of a strong consumer proposition or differentiator and a lack of marketing skills. Do not try to develop your own product corporate identity rather bite the bullet and engage a professional with the expertise to package and present a public face which enhances your product’s chances of success. Everyone has a computer and can make up a business card letterhead or possibly a web-site but do they know how or what drives consumer behaviour? A good creative marketing professional does!

 Visual identity includes the design of specific elements that support your brand’s positioning and story. These include the primary logo, the colour palette, and secondary applications such as custom font-shapes-patterns-icons. Visual identity also extends to the layout/design styling for your in-store and online brand (commonly the packaging/merchandising, and website). Creating a unique viz Visual identity includes the design of specific elements that support your brand’s positioning and story. These include the primary logo, the colour palette, and secondary applications such as custom font-shapes-patterns-icons. Visual identity also extends to the layout/design styling for your in-store and online brand (commonly the packaging/merchandising, and website). Creating a unique visual identity, then developing a consistent style across media, will result in a strong brand image.
 

Written by Micky Duncan, ICCIT Business Mentor. For further guidelines and template worksheet from Micky Duncan's presenation CLICK HERE

Journey to success begins for the finalists

 

The Top 30 semi-finalist entrepreneurs begin their journey to success

 

This year’s Entrepreneur competition received over 200 quality entries from micro and small business owners all eager to prove their business worthy of a chance to succeed and to share in the R320 000 prize money.

 “Although there were slightly fewer entries than last year, the mentors felt that the caliber and quality of the entrants was much better” said Chamber CEO, Trenley Tilbrook.

 

The mentorship panel spent a considerable amount of time reviewing and discussing the merits of each individual application, which included a rigorous screening process and scored on the following criteria; the candidates track record, ie. their experience and length of time the business has been operational; the niche market for their product or service; the future growth & job creation potential; the long term sustainability of the business model; the ability for the training and mentorship programme to add value to the business and; the consideration by the mentors if they would personally invest in such a business.

The top 30 successful candidates were notified and now go through to the semi-finals round which includes an eight week programme of free business training and mentorship.

The programme will cover all aspects of putting together and fine-tuning their individual business plans including; outline and strategy; marketing and sales planning; operational planning; staffing; financial planning and presentation skills.

The first session which took place at the ICCIT offices on Saturday 25th August saw all 30 semi-finalists coming together to meet each other and the mentors, and to find out what lies ahead in the coming weeks of the competition.

 

The entrepreneurs were inspired by Neil de Beer, a Dale Carnegie facilitator, who gave a motivational talk on the 5 key principals of success, ie. confidence, people skills, communication, leadership and the ability to cope with stress when working under pressure.

This was followed by a presentation on the benefits of using social media as a marketing tool for business, and Meshach Reddy from Suite One helped to set up Facebook and Twitter accounts for all the contestants, which was kindly sponsored by Secrets Day Spa in Ballito.  These accounts will link to The Entrepreneur social media platforms and the contestants will actively use these tools to gain exposure and the votes or ‘LIKES’ of the public, during the competition.

“The excitement and passion of the entrepreneurs was so contagious” commented one of the mentors, and everyone in the group left feeling motivated and ready to take on the challenges and join in the fun and rivalry during the final weeks of the competition.

Writing a Business Plan - your roadmap to entrepreneurial success

 

Writing a business plan – your roadmap to entrepreneurial success

 

Like most things in life, having a plan and a goal to guide us, usually means that we can get where we want to go quicker and more efficiently.   Think about planning a holiday to a destination you have never been before.  If you want to enjoy a well organized and hassle-free holiday, you will need to do a little research and a lot of planning before you go. How far is it and how will you get there? What season will it be when you travel and what clothes or equipment will you need?  What do you wish to see and do once you have arrived at your destination? And importantly, how much is it going to cost and how are you going to budget for it?

The same principle can be applied to your business.  An idea may sound great in your mind, but when you put down the details and numbers, it may fall apart. Your business plan acts as a reflection that you have thought things through and that you know all aspects of your business. It helps you to navigate the roadblocks along the journey and allows you re-think and make changes when necessary.  A business plan is a living document, and business planning is a process that never ends.

 

 

Before sitting down and putting pen to paper, you need to consider the reason why you are writing it and who is going to read it.  Over the next 10 weeks, with the guidance and advice of our chamber mentors, we will be helping you to prepare and populate a business plan template, which you will be able to use as a roadmap for your own business journey.  Now, we are not referring to a daunting 35 page document that might end up gathering dust in your bank manager’s draw, but rather a short 5 to 6 page summary which will help you to focus your efforts on the 80/20 principle and set your business on course for success.

 

 

We will be asking basic questions and providing practical examples which will assist you in identifying your target market;  completing a competitor and product analysis; putting together and sales and marketing plan; analyzing your supplies, systems and staffing needs; working out your cash flow and finally communicating and presenting your business initiative.

 

Watch this space for more on entrepreneurship and writing a business plan.

 

Restructuring of the Electricity Distribution Industry (EDI)

Public Hearings on Restructuring of the Electricity Distribution Industry (EDI)
• The Portfolio Committee on Energy and the Portfolio Committee on Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs on 25 and 26 July, held public hearings on the restructuring of the Electricity Distribution Industry.
• Electricity distribution is the final but equally crucial stage in the delivery supply chain of electricity to end-users. Electricity distribution is undertaken by Eskom, 187 municipalities and a few private distributors under distribution license, issued by the National Energy Regulator of SA (NERSA). Municipalities take account for approximately 40 percent of sales revenue and approximately 60 percent of the customer base, with Eskom taking up the remainder. The Electricity Distribution Industry (EDI) is, by its nature, an asset centric business with a replacement asset value, estimated at R260bn (2008 values). While pockets of good performance in the current EDI are recognised, the viability of the industry is under risk, amongst others, due to the under-investment in infrastructure. The current backlog on rehabilitation of the aging infrastructure warrants urgent attention.

To view presentation with some interesting fact & figures from these public hearings, please go to the DOWNLOADS page and look under the 'Restructuring of the Electricity Distribution Industry (EDI)' category.

Local businessman steps forward and sponsors prizes to the value of over R 100 000

Recent discussions between the iLembe Chamber and local businessman Tyronne Nel of Phezulu Business Management (PTY) Ltd, regarding the formation of a new business support centre focusing on assisting local entrepreneurs, led to a unexpected and motivating sponsorship of prizes to the value of over R 100 000 for the winners of the 2012 Entrepreneur competition!

Tyronne’s passion is to support local entrepreneurs to reach their fullest potential, and he was inspired by the potential and opportunities which The Entrepreneur competition offers to small businesses in the area.

Phezulu Business Management (PTY) Ltd was established with the sole aim of assisting Small, Micro and Medium Enterprises (SMME’s) to build stable and sustainable businesses, by offering a one-stop business service centre, performing all back office functions, so that you can do out and do what you do best – run your business.

Each of the top 5 winners in this year’s competition will receive a 12 month contract for an all-inclusive business service, including Business Planning, Mentoring and Marketing; Bookkeeping, Monthly and Year End Financials, Tax Planning, BEE advisory and Administration. This incredibly generous prize is valued at R20 520.00 each, and is bound to give successful candidates a massive helping hand to develop and grow their enterprise.

If you have an existing small or micro business and would like to take advantage of this fantastic opportunity, go to www.ilembechamber.co.za or call 087 727 8630 for more details. For more information on Phezulu call Tyronne on 086 174 3985 or visit www.phezulucapital.co.za

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