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March 2, 2013

5 Ways to Expand Your Small Business in 2013

Business InvestmentStrategy #1: Expand by Contracting

While it may initially appear counterintuitive, for many small businesses, the best way to expand is to contract. The logic of this strategy is fairly straightforward when we recognize that the number one metric owners want to increase is profitability (as opposed to simply adding growth for growth sake), as additional sales can often be closed, but at the expense of margins.

Two of the ways that businesses can expand profitability include adding more high-profit work and subtracting more low-profit work. By reviewing their client base and actively pruning those projects which take up large amounts of resources yet yield a small amount of profit, firms can better optimize their workforce to pursue higher margin work and expand their profitability for 2013.

Strategy #2: Specialize

An off-shoot of Strategy #1, specialization challenges companies to narrow their brand messaging and business model to focus on going deeper within a specific domain, and thereby becoming more valuable and dominant in their sector. The proliferation of advanced technology, and a connected, worldwide workforce means that competition will only increase in intensity in the years to come. By choosing to double-down on specific verticals riddled with complexity, small business owners can increase barriers to entry for potential competitors and buttress their reputation within the industry.

The effective implementation of this strategy will initially involve entrepreneurs scrutinizing the current offerings of their firm, aligning them with the expected trajectory of the industry, and then making the tough decisions to refine the product mix from trying to be a “Jack of All Trades” towards becoming a highly specialized industry expert commanding top dollar. By applying the 80/20 Rule and determining which 20% of their clients are responsible for 80% of their financial success, small business owners can better customize their offerings, and selectively cater to the most profitable niche of their marketplace.

Strategy #3: Embrace Daily Deals

Over the past 24 months, there has been a meteoric rise and fall of the “Deal of the Day” or “Flash Sale” phenomenon. While the frenzied euphoria of this business model is now behind us, the measured and pragmatic benefits of a correctly applied Daily Deal approach can serve as a valuable arrow in the quiver of entrepreneurs seeking growth. Whereas earlier, small business owners would look at Daily Deals as a profit maker, today they are leveraging this model as an inventory management tool (facilitating rapid turnover of aging products to make way for new shipments), as well as utilizing the visibility of these deals to complement ongoing marketing initiatives and build brand awareness. While many firms still can and do generate profit from Daily Deals, the true business value of this marketing strategy must be taken in total with these other organizational benefits.

Strategy #4: Offer Self-Serve Options

For years, the Internet has offered individuals the opportunity to peruse and purchase products 24/7, yet many companies have still not structured their business to accommodate this environment. By designing a website and ecommerce system with a wealth of information on request, as well as FAQ’s and standardized order forms, businesses can leverage the power of automation to take some of the burden off of their staff using highly refined online content to advance prospects through the marketing funnel and engage them precisely at the critical time they are making a buying decision.

Strategy#5: Go Big or Go Home

While Strategies 1-4 provide solid expansion options for 2013, for those small business owners for whom incremental growth is just not enough, private equity funding is the way to go. By providing the founder with the security of cash in his pocket, plus sufficient capital to pay off all outstanding debts, expand internal systems and infrastructure, add more top leadership, and scale the organizational footprint to bigger markets, a private equity investment offers the fastest way to get there. By removing the month-to-month financial pressures of payroll and production costs, business owners can enjoy a renewed focus on making the strategic decisions that will position the firm for accelerated growth in 2013 and beyond.

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March 1, 2013

Reasons to consider Professional Investment Management

Investment ManagementWith any type of long or short-term investment, there are always a number of risks that will effect the success of your investment. If you put too much money into one particular investment, of course, you stand to lose a large sum. Likewise, if you are perhaps too hesitant, and do not invest enough, your savings may very well become eroded by inflation. By seeking professional Investment Management advice, you will ultimately minimise the risks of your investment and gain some degree of protection for your capital.

Listen to The voice of Experience

Investing is often a complicated and complex procedure, and understandably, you may be concerned that your lack of market knowledge will result in a potentially large loss of capital. Professional Investment Management firms however, are decidedly experienced in their field, and with a detailed understanding of the current market, will utilise the latest advances in investment theory in order to secure your investments.

Peace of Mind for the Present and Future

To succeed as an investor, you must be able to dedicate a considerable amount of time to evaluating the market and keeping track of your investments. This will involve ongoing personal dedication, and a sizeable amount of paperwork. By entrusting your financial investment to experienced Investment Management professionals, you are not only providing yourself with more time and space for the demands of the present, but you are also helping to secure a potentially stable life for yourself and your family in the future.

Empowering you as an Investor

The main reason why people chose to hand over the responsibility of their investments to Investment Management services is that it provides them with far greater security and far less risk than if they had overseen their investments personally. However, the more ethical and supportive Investment Management firms will actually offer services to support your own understanding of your investments, allowing you to eventually take control yourself. Such an approach will allow you to eventually take back full control of your investments, with a superior understanding of investment strategy and a greater financial return.

Ongoing Personal Support

Naturally, you will want to stay up-to-date with the progress of your investments and will desire ongoing support and perhaps reassurance from those who you are entrusting with handling your investments. Investment Management firms are very appreciative of this and accordingly, offer continual support via phone calls, face-to-face meetings, online webcam meetings and email. The very best Investment Management services will extend their support throughout the weekend, in the knowledge that your concerns may arise at any given time.

Tailored to Suit You

If you are seeking investment guidance from a professional firm, the chances are you do not understand which investment choices are most suitable for you and your specific needs. Of course, professional services such as the Investment Management from Sanlam have extensive experience with clients of all backgrounds and will have specific tailored advice based on your personal investment needs.

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