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Five innovative business ideas the SME owner can't ignore

OB_BlogPost_02_5BusinessIdeas


Finding that killer opportunity to make a business out of is the first step in building your SME. The hard part really starts when you’ve got to maintain and grow that business, whilst keeping ahead of the competition. Ensuring that the day-to-day running of your business is watertight and flawless will guarantee success. Here are five business ideas to make this happen. 

1) Automate as many tasks as possible to save on overhead costs and admin.

One way to reduce your overheads is to automate tasks like  accounting, ordering and invoicing. Whatever you can do online, the better. You’ll reduce your workload, dissolving the need to employ an extra person. Compare being able to order items from your supplier in two minutes through their website to having to call them up and spend half an hour verbally relaying your order. Ordering online will make it much easier to keep track of what and how much you spend on too.

2) Making sure your business is listed in as any local business directories as possible may seem obvious, but it’ll make it easier for potential customers to find you.

It may sound like the most obvious of business ideas, but listing your company in several relevant business directories is a free, yet effective, way to increase your business’ visibility. Getting heard and seen in today’s marketplace is getting harder by the day. You, therefore, need to implement multiple strategies to make it easy for your audience to find you. Try the Western Cape Business Directory or the South African Small Business Directory, in addition to your social media, content strategy and other marketing initiatives.

3) Even the most intelligent and hardworking entrepreneur benefits from the support and business ideas a mentor can give.

Having a business mentor you can go to for advice, fresh perspectives, contacts and resources is one of the most valuable business ideas you can profit from. Not only can they provide you with the moral support you need in those times of doubt and trepidation, they can guide you in a way that helps you avoid costly errors. Sometimes working both on and in your business stops you from seeing the wood for the trees. A mentor will help you see the bigger picture and may even have some great business ideas, too. Before you go out and look for a mentor, make sure you have a clear idea of what exactly you need help with.

4) Create relationships with your suppliers that go over and above expectations.

Managing multiple suppliers is an everyday reality of every business owner. At times, it can get messy – simply because there are so many conflicting motives to manage resulting in crossed communication lines. That’s why it is better have great relationships with fewer suppliers. Go over and above what your supplier expects from you and add that personal touch by doing something to celebrate that one-year business anniversary – take them to the rugby or send them a pesonalised gift. Or you could organise an annual office Open Day and use it as a networking opportunity for suppliers and customers alike. 

5) You don’t need to employ an army: outsourcing only what you need is a better way to go.

Work practices are becoming more flexible with more work being done remotely. This has seen the freelance industry expand at a huge rate – as illustrated in Forbes’ article on the future of the freelance economy – as companies start to realise that they can hire higher skilled people for shorter periods, only when they need them. Outsourcing and hiring freelancers means you only pay for the work they do – rather than taking on someone full time and paying them a salary, whether you need them or not. Having a smaller permanent workforce will reduce overheads in the long run: smaller office space, lower energy bills. 

The relationship you have with your supplier determines how smoothly your operations and processes flow. Choosing a supplier committed to keeping ahead of technology and innovation enhances this. Contact OfficeBox today to find out about how we can help your business run more smoothly .

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David Adams
13 August 2015
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