Finding your leverage and using it to your advantage when starting a business is one of the key elements to any successful business.
However, this has been a big challenge for most entrepreneurs especially the small to medium scale ones, who end up being thrown out of business most of the times.
Zambian small to medium entrepreneurs (SMEs) have for quite some time complained of numerous challenges to doing business in the country, challenges which government has not addressed.
Some of these challenges include the high cost of electricity, transportation, high bank interest rates for capital borrowing and unfair competition from foreign companies, who are well established financially.
But Retunes Limited proprietor, Steven Mwale, strongly believes that Zambian entrepreneurs can rise above these challenges and make a break through in business unlike continuing to beg government to put measures aimed at protecting them.
Mr. Mwale, a young entrepreneur running one of the largest music websites in Zambia, Retunes, stressed that aggressive marketing strategies beats the challenges posed by policy and economic factors.
He singles out social media as one of the leading marketing magical tools that entrepreneurs should make use of to get their businesses known and generate money, and consequently be able to compete favourably with foreign companies.
The young enterprenuer gives his insight and what he calls one of the key secrets to his success in business.
“Social media has become a phenomenon amongst people of all walks of life in our society today, with billions of users surfing the internet. This means of communication is one of the cheapest and most easily accessible platforms for businesses and entrepreneurs to market, advertise and simply start up a business,” Mr. Mwale said.
Social media allows an interpersonal type of communication where you as an entrepreneur are able to get feedback immediately and then use that feedback to improve promote your brand further.
He advised that when creating an online business, it is important that one considers giving it a face, which will help the business stand out in the marketplace.
“If you have a website for your business, using platforms like Facebook, Twitter or other platforms will enable you to get known. And once you are known, you will need to devise mechanisms that will help your brand to stay afloat amid competition.
“As more people get to know about your product, always stay innovative and keep on securing new followers, you need to make sure that your old clients stay loyal to you and to constantly introduce new products and reinventing yourself to captivate your audience,” he explained.
Mr. Mwale furthers shared how his business was started.
“We used to sell clothes on the site. I remember having just about 10 T-shirts on the site, shirts which were, the the way, of poor quality. But despite all that, we continued working on our marketing strategies and eventually improved,” he recalled.
“Being an electronic business owner in a country like Zambia where only about 800,000 people are visa card holders out of 16 million of the population poses challenges in that very few card holders know how to buy items online and of the few that do know not all are interested in the product,” he noted.
He, however, commended banks and mobile networks on their mobile banking transaction options because they broaden the means of payment stating that they are less complicated for the average Zambian.
Mr. Mwale noted that having an online business may, just like running any other business, be difficult, but it calls for creativity on how to earn money and how you build a clientele.
So, if you are looking to start up a business online, some of the key elements that might help you are: Seek as much counsel from people on how to go about setting up a system for your business, find your leverage and use it to your advantage, and, with regard to translating your business idea into a tangible business, Mr. Tembo says, “Just start, as long as you start somewhere.”