marketing

Formulating a Marketing Plan for your Startup

A marketing plan is a document outlining the market strategies of a business and how to implement them.

This is done through a market analysis which is the future characteristics, behaviours and trends in your target market.

Historical data is used to make informed estimates that are predictive in determining the direction of future trends.

Tips on how to formulate your business marketing plan

Set your marketing goals

It is wise to have SMART marketing goals as a startup. These plans allow you to plan activities around community events that are in line with your marketing goals. A good way to define your market is to separate them into categories: these are immediate, short-term and long-term categories.

The marketing goals could aim at increasing your income, expand your client base, discourage competition, improve your brand image, promote your existing and new products and services and gaining or retain market share.

Conduct a market audit

This is the review of all marketing activities that have occurred in your market segment over the past; such as in the last six months, one year or two.

Make effort to review all adverts conducted, marketing emails sent to your clients, marketing calls done, brochures and any other form of marketing that you have done to bring traction to your business.

A clear market plan is developed through a thorough business and market analysis.

Conduct market research

The purpose of market research is to draw a realistic picture of your product or service to your current and target market share.

In doing the research, it is possible to forecast future growth for your target market, know your competitors and explore other market niches available in the market segment.

Market research is a hectic process yet very crucial. It calls for a dedicated team to come with detailed and useful research.

Market planning through analysis of the research

The marketing department can draw meaningful information from the analysed data, collected from the market research. Through analysis, the business will be able to understand the market needs and wants of its target clients.

Once the analysis has been done, the startup will be able to align itself with providing products and services that meet the needs of the customers. Additionally, a research analysis will guide the marketing team in understanding the marketing strategy that fits best.

The findings from the research may prompt the business to modify some of its goals to fit the market trends. 

Identify your target audience

Market planning involves identifying and understanding your target audience to direct your market efforts.

Focus on your market segment’s demographics, geographic and psychographic details and how effectively you can plan your market approach to fit them.

Determine a Budget

The business should allocate a budget to the marketing plan in consideration of the business goals. For a Start-up, it is good to know that there exist marketing strategies very cheap to implement. Strategies like customer referrals are very effective yet they cost nothing. A memorable customer experience is all you ought to do.  

Develop market strategy

A concrete market strategy is drafted for the market research done. These strategies should be related to a specific goal and should have numerous action points.

Create an implementation timetable

Create a schedule that shows the systematic marketing activities to be undertaken and its team players. It should include the timelines and specific activities to be done.

Outsourcing of competent skills or retraining of marketing employees would be necessary for successful strategy implementation.

Evaluation plan

Successful marketing plans depends on effective implementation. This is possible through continuous monitoring and evaluation of the bit by bit strategies implementation. It is advisable to have proper monitoring and evaluation strategies in the marketing plan.

A good marketing plan is a key to the success of any startup. Some of the parting shots include; a commitment to the implementation plan, a timely allocation of adequate resources, flexibility to inevitable changes, actively and frankly brainstorming with your staff on the milestones and setbacks encountered along the way.

accounting-1928237_1920

Financial planning and budgeting for your Start-up

Financial planning and budgeting are some of the oldest terms that we have ever heard in the business world. You may be tempted to ask yourself, “What is the difference?” Let’s look at these terms.

Financial planning is simply a long term, strategic road map of your business that tracks your progress annually, semi-annually or quarterly. 

Budgeting is a short term money management plan that tracks key incomes and expenses. This is done on a daily, weekly or monthly basis.

Regular creation and tracking of your budgets will help you realize your financial plan for your startup.

How to prepare a financial plan for your Start-up

Counter checking your strategic plan

Financial planning is dependent on the long-term strategic plan set by the business. This is the roadmap to which the business will take shape.

These strategic plans include expansion strategies such as acquiring operation machines and equipment and recruitment of more staff.

Determining the finance channels to acquire capital is also crucial in reviewing your strategic plan.

Financial planning entails preparing financial projections

A financial projection is a foreshadow of where a business plans to see itself in a specified period. This can be quarterly, semi-annually or annually. It is an educated guess based on past data recorded by the business. 

Key incomes and expenses are used to prepare projected income statements and balance sheets made by the business both recurrent and one-time expenses.

You will get better vision of the projected health of your business.

Financing 

A good financial projection is a leeway to convincing your lenders of your repayment capability. Consulting a financial expert can be a great way to ensure you are taking the right direction.

True financial projections ensure your business avoids crisis when it comes to repayment. This is so since the records are a true reflection of your business at that period.

Having a workable investment and repayment plan is worth discussing with your business team, prior to seeking funds from your prospective lenders.

Financial planning involves having emergency funds

Our lives are full of uncertainties and so is any business especially in this era. Unforeseen things could happen at an unexpected hour. For this reason, it is a good practice to have cash reserves or maintain a creditworthy profile, just in case you have to run to the banks for refuge.

Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E)

Regular monitoring of your budgets and financial plans sets a good basis to evaluate your financial status. Strategies to regularly reflect on your progress as a business in implementing your financial plan, help you to stick within the plan and do adjustments where necessary.  

A financial tool will be useful in actualizing this plan. Have a look at startup suite for proper financial planning and budgeting for your start-up. 

Mental health

Mental Health Awareness During The Covid-19 Pandemic.

Mental health awareness is crucial during this time of uncertainty.

Yay! It is the month of May where we dedicate it to create mental health awareness.

There have been increased cases of mental issues reported in the last year since the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Mental illnesses like depression, bipolar disorders, post-traumatic stress disorders, eating disorders, anxiety disorders and schizophrenia continue to be rampant in our society. 

The economic crisis posed by the Covid pandemic effects continues to be the leading cause of these illnesses. In addition to the crisis, people lack the mental capacity to tackle these adverse effects posed by Covid-19.

Mental health awareness

Ways to stay mentally healthy despite Covid-19 Related challenges

Acceptance of the changes brought by the Covid-19 pandemic

Mental health requires every one of us to accept the fact that the game of life has changed. The way of living has changed and we need to embrace reality. These changes could be ranging from a loss of a job, a loss of loved ones or the fact that we need to downgrade our lifestyles to cope with the financial uncertainties.

Acceptance improves your anxiety and stress level despite how the situation turns out thereafter. Our bodies release the Serotonin hormone that makes us feel calm and confident in our ability to prevail amidst adversity.

Once acceptance is attained, we proceed to the next step:

Adjustment is a step in achieving a healthy mental state

Adjustment calls for adaptation to the new reality by changing your expectations and attitude towards it. Ideally, we possess the power to control how we feel about our situations. Maintaining a positive attitude with gratitude is a great way to control the circumstances at hand.

Focusing on the bigger picture is also a good way to improve mental health. This will motivate you to be more optimistic.

After adjusting to the new reality is it wise to:

Obtain mental sanity by undergoing the advancement stage

Mental health is of paramount importance at this point in life. We have heard the saying when life gives you lemons make lemonade. This is a big indicator that however bad your situation is, celebrate your essence.

Every human being possesses the power to use their abilities to work in their favour.

Some of the ways to advance include:

Have a routine 

It is important to have a daily routine of activities that matter to you. Structure them in a way that there will be progress. Besides that, start following the routine today. This will help you build resilience and tenacity towards the circumstances at hand.

Be happy with the little achievements

Celebrate the little milestones achieved because they do count. Always seek to be happy. Be content with your little progress but watch out for complacency spirit.

Exercise as way to improve your mental health

Regular exercise eases muscle and brain tension. Find ways to have activities that are body involving such as workouts, dancing, yoga and other sporting activities. In fact, this is the perfect time to attain that perfect weight and shape.

This could take a few minutes every day, but the benefits are great.

Meditation is a great way to release mind pressure.

Regular breaks

Mental health calls for regular breaks to avoid burnout. It also improves your focus when working. Breaks from work or stressful activities could be a good time to connect with your family and loves ones hence, creating some meaningful bonds.  Creating time for the people you love, gives you a sense of belonging.

Have a confidant and support groups

No man is an island; we all need people as a ladder and support in pursuit of life goals. When things go out of control, we become demoralised. During such moments it is good to have someone we can talk to about it. It could be a best friend, a family member or a mentor.

When it seems to be beyond them, find a specialist such as a therapist, psychologist and any other specialized help.

Forgive a lot and let go of pain where possible

Offenders are all over and sometimes it is difficult to control other people’s annoying actions: choose to forgive. 

When hurt by people choose to let go of the pain. Further, if their offence is punishable by law, report them to appropriate authorities for them to be reprimanded.

In conclusion, one needs to seek good mental health amidst all situations by being flexible and controlling your emotions. Ultimately, life goes on!!!

Check out Getting Things Done for more insights on self and work management.

Blog 2

Benefits of Adopting Remote Working

Remote working has become a new norm since the attack of the Covid 19 pandemic in late 2019. Before the pandemic, the traditional office routine was the way of life for most employees in the Kenyan workforce.

The continual outbreak of coronavirus pandemic led companies to let their employees work from home.

Below are the benefits companies are enjoying by adopting remote working environments.

1. Remote working has reduced commute time and cost.

The first benefit of remote working is that it has made life bearable for low-income workers; since the commuter expenses and time have been reduced.

These workers are able to perform their work duties from the comfort of their homes and still keep secure their jobs.

2. Autonomy of work

The best gift to an adult is allowing them to have some control of their working habits with consideration to their Key Performance Index (KPI’s). Remote working has made this dream come true for many.

 Workers have control of their tasks and time. 

The supervisor assigns the employee their daily, weekly, or monthly tasks upon which the evaluation is based on the time frame. 

The employer provides the working resources and tasks the employee with the burden of meeting targets.

This kind of arrangement motivates employees are to give their best, unlike the on-premise where micromanagement and social loafing are common.

3. Reduced office costs

Office rent and associated bills have significantly reduced for businesses operating on the remote workspace, both partials and full-time. Many SMEs have been able to utilize remote software like Startup Suite, Microsoft Teams, and Google Workspace to run their digital office.

Remote working has seen the dreams of many entrepreneurs come to life; this is the dream to keep operational costs at a minimum while improving the profitability of the business. 

Furthermore, many businesses have improved their on through the adoption of modern technologies.

4. Increased flexibility for your team

Remote teams have more flexibility as compared to teams working from the premises daily. Businesses are able to outsource competent labour from anywhere in the globe. The SMEs are able to tap into global market labour despite their limited capital.

Another great benefit is workers can plan their time and even work for multiple companies simultaneously. This has improved their economic livelihood due to extra income from the side hustle while maintaining their main jobs. Do you love to work remotely? See Demo.

5. Increased productivity

Companies love to see the value of their payroll. Remote working has improved productivity. Employees can utilize their time effectively and efficiently within the comfort of their study rooms or their favourite restaurants.

Upskilling has also been evident among employees. Workers have extra time to enrol in online classes which improves their knowledge through studies.

6.Boosts work balance lifestyle

Over a century, working moms have been faced with the dilemma of balancing between work and family, this is due to the role they play in society.

Striking balance has been the most difficult thing to do, thus others gave up on their career.

Remote working has seen such women embark to career life while still fulfulling their family responsibilities.

Team Productivity

Team Productivity And Ways To Improve It

Team Productivity is the measure of the output of a group working together to accomplish a particular business goal. The success of a business is determined by the strategies laid by the business and the strength of the team that implements them.

The business may find it a challenge to rate its team productivity since close monitoring for remote teams could be hard. More so, business owners tend to find it hard to micromanage those teams.

Below are some of the ways to improve your Team Productivity

1. Company goals should be well defined

Smart goals tend to enable the teams to work effectively. Communicating the business goals to the teams in their frame of understanding, highlighting the benefits to them as individuals and the company at large makes them want to give their best.

Help your employees to understand their Key Performance Indicators (KPI’s) and keep the avenues of communication open when they require clarification. This is possible through regular analysis of their deliverables. 

2. Extension of company office culture to remote spaces.

Culture is an important part of an organization. Building relationships among employees is key in ensuring the working environment is conducive. Periodic face to face meetings for your teams enhances those corporate relationships.

Regular individual evaluations and recognition of employees performing well improves their quality of work delivery. Besides, get the right tools of communication for both formal and informal communication.

Emails remain the popular channel for formal communication while WhatsApp, Telegram, and Facebook are good for informal engagements.

3. Collaboration tools

Businesses operating remotely should ensure employees can interact just like a normal office. Platforms for the collaboration of colleagues and teams should be adopted to ensure employees do not feel “alone” when working.

In these modern days, a case in point is collaborating using video conferencing tools e.g. Zoom and  Microsoft Teams. The use of management software like Startup Suite ensures better capturing of tasks and record keeping. 

4. Provision of Infrastructure and technology

Companies should provide the tools necessary for their employees to execute their deliverables. These could be tools like computers and internet connection. This will

provide a functional environment for them to get work done. Software should be updated and licenses renewed as regularly.

5. Regular training

A competent workforce requires investments in terms of resources and efforts. It is the duty of the Human Resource (HR) team, head of departments, and supervisors to ensure that the junior employees acquire training on the job.

Regular mentorship should be given to these junior workforces. 

6. Flexibility

Keep your workforce productive by being flexible. Allow employees to work the way they feel is most productive as long as it does not interfere with the team’s output. 

Additionally, provided that employees can keep timelines and deliver the required result then the autonomy of work time should be left in their hands.