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Sure ways to success for your small business

If you are looking for more profits from your small business than ever before, follow these tips to make it happen.

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Sure ways to success for your small business

Sometimes you feel as if you are treading water with your business and are not making sufficient inroads toward success. Many times you will find selecting business goals to be troublesome. All entrepreneurs are looking to be successful and run a profitable business. But sometimes the road to this target is not clear. If you are looking for more profits from your small business than ever before, follow these tips to make it happen. Keep in mind that building a successful business is not a sprint but a marathon.

1. Concentrate on customer service

Always remember that half the customers that had a bad experience with your company customer service will not come again to your company for business. Many studies have indicated that it takes many positive customer experience reports to build a good reputation but just a single bad one to spoil it. Although repeat customers are generally easier to sell to make customer service your top priority. Scrutinize the current customer service and make suitable changes to ensure that your business is providing superior service to that of the competitors. For achieving this, you may wish to invest in revamping your return policy, staff training, and make some fundamental improvements such as prompt responding to emails and voicemails from the clientele.

2. Develop a word of mouth campaign

When you are operating your small business within a small community or even when you are catering to a large urban center, word-of-mouth publicity is more significant than ever. Most people these days turn to the internet for searching the reviews of the business they are interested in before they make an educated decision about where they will buy from. Therefore, building a top reputation is critical for the success of your small business. The next question is how to get the positive word to mouth campaign going? You need to provide professional customer service, build and monitor the business reputation online, and gain publicity by giving back to the community through sponsorships and support of local charities and organizations.

3. Expand the marketing efforts

Good impactful marketing is a key to raising your sales, however; there is no need to break your bank account for the promotions. There are several inexpensive ways of marketing the products and services such as,

  • Creation and use of promotional kits.
  • Sending out the promos with the invoices.
  • Joining pro organizations.
  • Getting the involvement of newspapers for your grand openings, charity events, and other moves.
  • Providing free classes or workshops about your products and services.
  • Creating business partnerships for cross-promotion with complementary businesses.
  • Cold calling.
  • Advertise the small business on your car by using vehicle wraps.

4. Using smart tools

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Sometimes the old techniques might not be useful while dealing with newer business challenges. Therefore, you need to change the strategies by implementing intelligent tools and technologies. As we are living in a digital era for doing business where the latest technologies are evolving at a terrific pace, entrepreneurs must keep themselves updated by using the best available tools. You must be aware of what tools are popular and which ones have generated success. For instance, transferring large files is more than necessary to make the working process easier. Some other smart tools that can be used effectively for small businesses are Salesmate, Mailchimp, Basecamp, Grammarly, Slack, Wufoo, and Google Analytics.

5. Cut the business costs

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It seems like the costs involved in running a business are always on the rise. Therefore, keeping them in check is a critical task for all business owners. However, keeping track of these expenses is tedious and time-consuming. Therefore it is a good idea to use technology wherever possible to simplify the jobs as much as possible. You can find several mobile apps for expenses tracking with many of them including cloud-based accounting capabilities. These tools allow you to automatically add the expenses to your accounting system. Perform annual or semi-annual reviews of all your major expenses such as business insurance, office space, vehicle expenses, and staffing. Find out where you can trim the expenses.

Conclusion

Remember, success is never given. If you are looking to make your small business more successful in the upcoming year you have to make certain necessary alterations to bring about the change. This may involve doing something simple such as investing in a new tool or something challenging such as changing your thinking about any of the business processes. Who knows, this year might just be the best one yet for your small business.

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About author

Rachel Eleza, Growth Marketing Director at UpSuite and a part-time writer.

Nairametrics frequently publishes articles from experts such as financial analysts, economists, researchers and investors. We also feature articles from guest writers and bloggers who wish to push their views and opinions through our platform.To get your articles on Nairametrics, kindly send an email to [email protected] and we will publish it within 24 hours of approval by our editorial team.

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Columnists

Biden tax opportunity for Nigeria

Nigeria should create a fiscal “Delaware” where any foreign incorporated company can open an office and pay zero taxes on imported capital, no need to be present in Nigeria.

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Biden's election is a reminder that democracy is the best form of government - Buhari

America is a nation of 50 states? No. America is a State with 50 nations.

Each of those nations has its fiscal policies and rules. Forty-five states in America charge a Sales Tax. Colorado has the lowest State Sales Tax at 2.9%, California has the highest States Sales Tax at 7.25%. The State with the highest tax burden to the taxpayer is New York which charges a total tax of 12.79%. The lowest tax burden State is Alaska.

These tax rates that differ from state to state creates opportunities for legislation to be created by US State Houses of Assemblies to target and attract businesses to their state. Take Delaware, 66.8% of all Fortune 500 companies incorporate in Delarewe. Google and Coca-Cola are incorporated in Delaware, why? First, you don’t need to be resident in Delaware to incorporate a corporation in the State. Delaware will also not impose a state tax if you do not conduct business in the state.

Texas Vs California

The former Governor of Texas, Rick Perry conducted many “Business Recruitment Trips” to the State of California to lure jobs to Texas. Texas State ran radio ads in California to market Texas as a business destination. Chuck DeVore of the Texas Public Policy Foundation states, “job growth has been running 80% stronger in low tax states than in high tax states since the passage of the tax cuts Act of 2017. For California, the lost opportunity adds up to 153,000 positions since December 2017.” Elon Musk and Joe Rogan have all left California and moved to Texas. Apple, the largest company in America by capitalization is building a new campus in Austin Texas.

In 2020, For the first time, California has posted a population loss.

What about nations?

The data is not so direct when looking at nations.

Companies make decisions based on maximizing shareholder return on equity. If taxes are higher in one nation, then the cash will flow from that nation to another. When the US passed the tax cut legislation in 2017, it eliminated the tax obligation on repatriation of foreign profits. In response, more than $1 trillion flowed from foreign subsidiaries to their US HQ. These funds flowed from low-tax nations of Bermuda, Netherlands, and Ireland, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Biden Tax Proposal

President Biden seeks to raise taxes on American taxpayers to pay for a $3 trillion infrastructure plan. In summary, the plan will raise the corporate income tax from 21% to 28%. With a 15% corporate global tax on companies posting incomes above $100 million.

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President Biden knows that when taxes are hiked, American business will simply leave the profits earned outside the tax jurisdiction of the United States, e.g., Exxon Mobil will simply leave the cash it makes from the Nigerian Qua Iboe oil fields in banks in Ireland, rather than send them to banks in the US.

Hence the plan B for Biden is a global minimum tax that will tax all companies including US companies that do business globally. The Biden administration’s plan is simple, if the global tax equals or is less than what US companies pay in Ireland, then they will simply repatriate that cash back to the US and pay a lower tax.

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However there is one problem, why will Indonesia or Ireland tax ExxonMobil and lose revenues like California? They will not, thus Ireland will become the new Texas, as more American firms will site “international operations” HQ in Ireland, book profits, and accumulate cash offshore.

What should Nigeria do?

Nigeria should create a fiscal “Delaware” where any foreign incorporated company can open an office and pay zero taxes on imported capital, no need to be present in Nigeria. Nigeria can create and offer special $Eurobonds targeting liquidity. ExxonMobil can invest her crude oil sales JV profits with NNPC in $ denominated bonds held by Nigerian banks, shielded and excluded from all taxes and mandates from the CBN.

There will be American firms seeking to set up a manufacturing base outside the American continent (GE is already in Calabar). How about making that State a Special Economic Zone for only US business, no taxes, no import duties, no levies? What about the Yaba IT cluster? Mack Zuckerberg of Facebook and Jack Dorsey were also in Yaba, can Nigeria create an IT economic zone for services? China is far away and, in conflict with America’s geopolitical interest, Vietnam and the other Asian tigers have seen their wages rise, they are becoming uncompetitive in wage terms.

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Nigeria still has low wages and an English-speaking young population. This is a good time to fiscally reform. It will not be easy, Nigeria must change many rules, it must be more open, more transparent, and protective of international property rights, but this is an opportunity.

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Columnists

A typical football viewing centre experience in Nigeria

The centres are stadium-like atmosphere with banter, laughter, pre-match and post-match analysis that sometimes become heated.

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Nigerian Bars are killing the viewing centre business, further threatening MultiChoice 

It’s a hot Saturday afternoon in Lagos and as you drive down the narrow street lined with cars to attend the naming ceremony of your colleague’s newborn son, a horde of young men come rushing onto the street from a nondescript building at the corner.

Your first reaction is to slow down and watch their next move, another part of you wants to quickly get out of the way to avoid any untoward occurrence. There is a brief and palpable fear inside the car as you scan the faces of the crowd passing by, trying to make out their words and expressions. Suddenly, your eyes light up. Alas! The furore is a simple football banter.

Scenes such as the one described above are a regular occurrence in Lagos and most parts of Nigeria; welcome to the weekend ritual and the allure of the Football Viewing Centre.

From mid-day on weekends and some midweek evenings during the European football season, you will find young men crammed into halls, rooms, makeshift theatres, sports lounges and every available space to watch football, mainly the English Premier League (which is the most popular league), the Spanish La Liga and the UEFA Champions League. It is a thriving multi-million naira industry born of the love Nigerians have for football and the widely available broadcasts from Multichoice (DSTV) in Nigeria.

The public viewing of football matches taps into the communal nature of Nigerians that makes viewing matches alone uninteresting and very ‘unNigerian.’ The period of DSTV’s entry into Nigeria coincided with the peak of Nigerian football when the Super Eagles were African Champions and qualified for their first World Cup. Stadium attendance was very high. The public viewing centres became an extension of the Stadiums and sprung up in locations all over the nation.

A typical viewing centre is a bungalow-like structure or shed with rows of wooden benches arranged to face the different tv screens showing the matches on offer. Outside, a handwritten display on a chalkboard shows the scheduled matches and their viewing times for the information of the prospective attendees. To keep out the prying eyes of those who want to watch matches for free, a tarpaulin cover is installed around the structure to ensure only paying customers can watch the matches.

Consequently, giant fans are provided to ease the inevitable heat from a mass of bodies all crammed together. These days, UPS and Inverters are installed to keep the decoder running before the generator is put on; when the inevitable power cut occurs. This ensures the audience does not miss out on any exciting moments of the match while the decoder reboots after a power cut.

Payment is made at the entrance of the hall, most times per match but regular patrons are allowed to make payment ahead for the total number of matches they might wish to view. Patrons are handed a ticket as proof of payment and the cost of viewing a match on average is N100, while N200 is charged for matches showing simultaneously. Average occupancy is between 50 – 100 patrons and for eagerly anticipated matches, viewership can be even beyond the original occupancy levels of the centre. A typical Saturday line up in the EPL has the games scheduled one after the other and patrons are encouraged to pay a flat rate of N200 for 3 games in a row or pay N100 for each individual game. At the end of each game, the centre is emptied out and paid customers let back in before the commencement of a new game.

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Viewing centres have evolved over time from single-screen locations in the early 2000s to multi-screen locations, with some of them offering other forms of entertainment such as snooker tables and video games like PES and FIFA to maintain patronage. In the age of sports betting, many viewing centres have also incorporated betting shops as one of their offerings. People place their bets and are encouraged to stay behind to watch the games and see the progression of their betting tickets.

Once the patron has made the requisite payment and is allowed entry, he gets to sit in one of a row of seats (mostly wooden as rowdy fans have been known to occasionally destroy plastic chairs), usually seating up to 5 persons. The screens are arranged in a way to create the impression of being able to watch multiple matches at the same time; though, in time, the patron finds out that it is easier to focus on one match.

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It is a raucous, stadium-like atmosphere with banter, laughter, pre-match and post-match analysis that sometimes become heated. As is typical of any place where young Nigerians are gathered, there is always the inevitable shift to politics and other burning national issues.

Viewing centres do not sell alcoholic beverages but sell other kinds of drinks to provide refreshment to the patrons and act as a source of additional income for the owners. On a typical weekend in the thick of the Football Season, a regular-sized viewing centre that can sit between 50 – 100 people showing an average of 4 matches per day can rake in upwards of N56,000 over a busy weekend before deducting expenses and exclusive of income from drinks and other refreshments.

In most middle income / affluent neighbourhoods, sports lounges have emerged as both an alternative and another form of the viewing centre. The sports lounge is basically a watering hole that encompasses drinks, food and other edibles in a cool and comfortable environment. Here, the patrons do not have to pay an entry fee but are required to purchase drinks or food.

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The typical patron is a young, urbane and upwardly mobile professional looking for fun and an alternate way to unwind. The attraction for patrons is the ambience, comfort and the ability to mingle with friends while watching their favourite team play. Due to the availability of space, the arrangement of a sports lounge is markedly different from that of a viewing centre. The seats are plush and more comfortable and are arranged around tables in small clusters with a TV screen as a focal point.

The drinks are usually pricy with alcoholic beverages starting at N1000 per bottle and high-end spirits selling from as much as N16,000 per bottle. Due to the absence of a gate fee, the onus is on the operators of the sports lounge to find new innovative ways to attract more patronage and to increase the sale of their different offerings.

The key expenses for both the viewing centre and the sports lounge are the cost of subscription for DSTV, generator costs and rent. These costs differ substantially based on the location, availability of public power supply and any ancillary cost peculiar to the establishment. Power is an ever-present cost for any business operating in Nigeria and consists of both the cost of powering and maintaining a generator (either diesel or petrol) and payment for public power consumed (prepaid or postpaid).

All in all, the viewing centre business, though a cyclical one dependent on the Football season in Europe, is a lucrative one if well run and managed.

 

KEYSER SOZE…

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