The Small Business Growth Conference, held in March at the CTICC, brought together small business owners for advice from some of the best small business experts in the country. The focus? Exploring the key areas small businesses need to invest in to grow their business.
The keynote speakers each spoke about a topic in their area of expertise: business strategy, finance, operations and logistics as well as promotions.
An added bonus was the Consultation Station, sponsored by Santam. The Consultation Station gave delegates the chance to book a 15-minute, one-on-one slot with their chosen business expert at no cost. Each session gave business owners a chance to engage with professional consultants and experts to explore their most challenging business obstacle.
Highlights from the conference speakers included practical advice targeted at all types of small businesses. Here is what stood out for us:
Business Lesson #1: Don't just advertise. Inspire.
Mike Joubert: Chief Executive Officer, The Brandsrock Group
People respond to experiences that stimulate, entertain, inspire or educate them. If your communication isn't doing this, your advertising message has a slim chance of success.
Business Lesson #2: There's nothing wrong with some personal TLC.
Catherine Wijnberg: Founder and Director, Fetola
Focus on more than just your business, you also need to focus on your personal well-being. In order for a business to be healthy, you have to be healthy. Since, especially in the start-up stage when resources are scarce, you are your business. Take good care of yourself, so you can take good care of your business.
Business Lesson #3: Your employees are your business.
Kgomotso More: Principle Consultant, Change Tactics
There are various steps you can take to inspire a culture of go-getters. Start with induction programmes for newbies. Use the 90-day probation period to iron out issues and encourage solution-focused thinking.
Business Lesson #4: Just because your website is pretty, doesn't mean it works.
Leon Lategan: Founder, Conversion Camel
Your website landing page should have a clear call to action. Don't hide the message behind fancy fonts and pretty pictures. Include the must-know details upfront: telephone numbers, contact details, product info and price, store location, etc. The same goes for email marketing. Your newsletter subject line is what convinces someone to open your e-mail. In fact, 80% of your newsletter's effectiveness lies in the subject line. If it's boring, consider it destined for the trash folder.