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Being smarter, not just smaller

Posted on February 17, 2016 by admin

Over the last couple of decades, few things have changed the landscape for small businesses as much as the advent of huge megastores. Small businesses now need to get consumers to understand the importance and benefit of buying local; to recognise the ripple effect on the entire community that local purchases and local businesses have on the economy and what happens when those close.

Small, local businesses also need to get smarter. It is not just enough to complain about supersized stores, you have to beat them. While it’s difficult to survive in today’s retail environment, it’s not hopeless, and many small companies are managing to thrive. Here’s what the survivors are doing:

Specialise
Big stores aim at big markets; they can’t afford to market to and serve niche markets. You can. Identify a segment of the market with special needs and tailor your offerings and service for them.

Compete on your terms, not theirs
You won’t be the low-price leader; they will. So don’t try. Instead, clearly differentiate yourself from them. Make the experience of doing business with you as different as possible from going to a superstore. That means you’ll have to be more convenient, more service-oriented, more responsive.

Differentiate what you sell
Offer a mix of products and services that are clearly distinct from the big competitors. Make it hard for a shopper to find the exact same thing elsewhere.

Outsmart them
Big businesses move slowly; you can adapt to new trends and market developments more quickly. Stay abreast of industry and market trends and keep informed. You can’t just take care of day-to-day business; you have to plan a strategy for even the smallest company.

Use inexpensive marketing approaches
Big businesses have to spend a fortune on marketing. Keep your marketing costs low by using approaches such as trade shows, public relations, customer retention and referral programs.

Improve employee training
Megastores often provide better training — at least in sales techniques — to their workers. Small companies often neglect to train their workers adequately. Make sure they know the products and know how to interact positively with customers.

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Tips for incorporating career mentoring into your business

Posted on February 28, 2020 by admin

A career mentorship program involves partnerships between employees to develop professional skills and gain industry knowledge. Due to their requirement for a collaborative effort, career mentoring programs are often seen as powerful development tools for cultivating both leaders and employees within a business.

Whether you are a small business owner or a multinational corporate leader, the implementation of a mentorship program will always be profitable for businesses as not only does it create a harmonious workplace culture, it also helps to attract and retain employees.

As straight-forward as career mentoring sounds, there are a few key tips to keep in mind when building a mentorship program for your business:

Make sure your mentoring program is clearly defined:
To create a successful mentoring program, both mentors and mentees should have a concise understanding of their roles and what they would like to gain from the mentorship. By succinctly outlining the purpose of the mentoring program, mentors and mentees are more likely to keep organised and communicate respectfully with the guarantee of mutual rewards.

There should also be short-term and long-term goals established for all parties involved, including the business. These goals could be the narrowing of particular skill gaps or creating a more open workplace culture. By having these goals set in stone, both mentors and mentees and have a clear direction to work towards.

Personalise the match-making process:
Often times, businesses will match a mentor and mentee together depending on their skill-set and position within the company. While on paper, this may appear to be an efficient process, but the lack of chemistry between a mentor and mentee may prove to be devastating for the workplace environment.

As a result, be sure to involve both mentors and mentees in the match-making process and take into account personality traits. You could do this by asking employees to take a personality test to ensure compatibility in career goals, personal interests and preferred communication methods.

Be involved as a third-party:
Lastly, it is the responsibility of the business to check-in on the progress of mentorship programs in order to understand how mentors and mentees can grow together and what improvements can be made to the program. Remember to always refer back to the long-term goals established and consider the feedback provided by mentors and mentees from the program.

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