By Wilma Bedford
It remains sad to see a young entrepreneur’s good ideas and intentions fail due to basic principles not being followed. To be a successful entrepreneur, you have to take ownership of your business and work toward a purpose.
Your market: Identify a market that resonates with you and empower yourself with knowledge about your product. Insufficient knowledge leads to uncertainty and radiates negativity. Your client picks this up immediately and will reject it either politely or brutally, based on his personality.
Supplier: If you want to market a product that is already being manufactured, do your homework well. Do an investigation of the premises and make sure the product complies with all the safety measures and has SABS approval. Procure the safety date report and directions to submit to your potential clients for inspection.
Supplies: Make sufficient provision so that you have enough suppies at all times to provide your existing clients. Build a good relationship with the supplies officer, and place your order timeously to ensure sufficient available supplies. If possible, arrange that a 20% surplus is available on short notice at all times.
Planning: Plan your route every month so as not to waste unnecessary fuel. Get your orders in ahead of time as far as possible so as to load the correct supplies, with 25% additional supplies that you can deliver to new clients immediately. Pay follow-up visits to existing and potential clients on your route to maintain visual contact, even if they should not require new supplies immediately.
New business: Schedule at least two new visiting points when planning your route. Should the decision-maker not be available, leave your business card with the responsible person and get the decision-maker’s contact details to arrange for a future appointment during your next visit to that area.
Demonstration: At all times make sure that you have enough material at your disposal to be able to deliver an excellent demonstration. First impressions are lasting and with supplies on hand it could lead to an immediate order. Provide your client wit the necessary safety data reports immediately and go through it thoroughly with the responsible person. Provide him with your business card should he need you on short notice.
Follow-up: Contact clients within a few days after delivery to make sure your client is satisfied with your product. If he hasn’t used it yet, find out why not, and encourage him to do so as soon as possible. Also mention that you will contact him again soon to make sure everything is in order.
Competition: Never bad-mouth your opposition’s product to a new client, but rather concentrate on your product’s plus points and financial savings. There is no better way to motivate it than by an outstanding demonstration. To convince a new client to switch from his existing supplier to you requires a positive attitude and mind. Sell yourself first and win his trust, and the transaction is halfway there.
Costs: Keep a daily record of all expenditures, such as fuel, wear and tear, meals and accommodation so as to monitor each day. Sometimes the small things cause the most damage and devour your profit.
Good luck with the challenge, as it requires a lot of discipline and willpower to persevere. Remember, every new business only truly starts paying dividends after 18-24 months, if you give it everything you have.
Marius Becker. EMSCOR Bemarking firstname.lastname@example.org