With the way the economy is (well in South Africa), it is getting tougher to make ends meet. So, much like my last article, some turn to a second income in the form of a side hustle or business, while others, run their side businesses out of passion and enjoyment and not necessarily for the income.
For those who do not have businesses up and running yet, it may seem like a daunting task to get started but it honestly isn’t – it just needs one to put on their admin hat and take it one step at a time. In this article, I will discuss how to kick-start your business in the South African context.
1. Register your company
In South Africa we use the CIPC, which reserves a company name for you as well register your company, doing both only costs you R175.
To register on the CIPC all you need is the amount, your ID number and your company’s name.
Once you create a customer account, you then move over to the TRANSACTION tab and click on “REGISTER A COMPANY”. From then on, it’s a walk in the park.
2. Get a logo
Others may not design a logo right away and I suppose that it is dependent on what you do, for example, if I am looking for a contractor to remodel my bathroom, I don’t really care for his logo.
On the other hand, businesses like clothing brand ’s will require a logo especially when it is needed for labels and packaging. I believe a simple design is always best for logos, it can stay with you for a long time, without having to rebrand.
3. Create Social Media Pages
This is easy to do and often helps get your brand out there. Social media is also helpful when you don’t yet have a website, they act as your point of contact when you cannot engage with potential customers face to face. The key rules for social media as I’ve learned are:
- Create engaging content, make your followers tag a friend, comment, rate or vote on something.
- Keep things short and simple on twitter and this is a great platform to engage/chat with followers.
- Instagram is visual, use beautiful and great quality images (also on all your other social media accounts).
- Facebook allows for more text and longer pieces.
- ALWAYS direct all social media posts to your website (if you have one) eg: “for more info, follow the link to read more about the other products that we sell”
When you’re getting started, social media and your friends and family will be your advertising. If your budget for paid advertising is low, you could offer your products/service to influential people at a discounted rate.
For example, if you want to start a branding company, find a company who you feel could really benefit from your services and offer your services at a lower rate. Another example, as a chef you could start selling your signature dishes at a food market or offer dinner dates for couples.
A makeup artist could offer to do school play’s cast to showcase your work. There is a world of ideas and opportunities to advertise and sell your products and services!
5. Create templates for your quotes, invoices etc
I cringe when people send their quotes as a text or in a poorly constructed Word document.
Some businesses allow you to have a standard price list, so if your prices never change, invest in a well-designed page, that has your logo, all your contact details, social media pages, price list, payment details, lead times and everything people normally ask for. Never mind being neat, it saves you time from having to type out your price list every time.
Never make your customers work for your details or to make their purchase/appointment, you have to make it as easy as possible! Chances are, they’re ready to make a purchase, don’t slow down the momentum by having them ask for payment options.
The greatest part of invoicing (especially when your customer base grows exponentially) is that the invoice numbers help you keep track of who has paid and who hasn’t, while a quote will explain what they will be paying for and what is and is not included.
6. Keep track of your product or service offering.
Returning customers are the best, if they aren’t happy – try to rectify it. The simplest way is a post-purchase survey, where they are not in front of you and have the freedom to critique you honestly. If it can be done anonymously, even better, but the option of leaving their names is useful, especially for those issues that you would like to address afterward.
A few questions could be sent out to clients or you could use ratings, I believe Facebook offers this, which also works to your advantage if the ratings are good. Never delete poor ratings, they bring an element of “realness” to the page.
Although kick-starting a side hustle may seem like a full-time job, it isn’t at all! If you plan and get used to the flow of things, it becomes clockwork, but if you ever feel overwhelmed or confused, have any ideas you’d like to discuss, questions, or would like advice, please click on my bio and reach out to me.
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