- June 20, 2018
- Posted by: Koyona Duke
- Category: Company, Entrepreneurial Development, Learning, SME Support, Uncategorized
As a small business, you find that you need help in different aspects of your business life. From getting things done to meet orders, to getting important services. Unfortunately, most times these services or products are priced too high and that’s money your business cannot just afford to spend especially when operating in a country like Nigeria.
I find that for professionals even entrepreneurs and business owners, most of our solutions lie with our network. The problem is that we sit for too long with our issues instead of immediately looking around to see who can help us with them and how.
Here are 3 ways that you can get the help you need that will cost you a fraction of what others spend or nothing at all.
Bartering: This is the act of giving something to another person or business in exchange for what you need. If you need a service provided for you, and you find you cannot afford to pay for this service, instead of approaching someone an promising them exposure (a promise you may not be able to keep) for the service you require, get to know them first, think about a service you can provide for them that they can give you what you need in exchange. Starting out my business, I offered my time and consulting services in exchange for office space. There was no formal agreement but we both benefited.
Here is a process to help you get the best out of bartering;
- Write down the particular service you need help with examples could be things you spend time on that do not develop revenue for your business
- Write down the people who exist already in your network who provide this service or who it will cost less to do these things.
- Then write down the kind of service you could provide for them in exchange,( if you don’t know, then ask them).
- Reach out, when you reach out to them concerning your service let them know what you can do for them in return.
Using this process, your chances of getting an agreement is higher.
Collaboration: So many businesses ignore the potential gold mine that exists within a collaboration. We find most business people determined to be all things to all people, but this is not an effective strategy especially for a small business. My advice, collaborate. Reach out to people within your network who you would love to work with.
Benefits include; exposure to new networks, experience and opportunities to learn. However, it will be remiss of me not to mention that with collaborations, the possibility of one party getting more out of the relationship does exist so ensure you think of ways to protect yourself, but don’t be so afraid of being used that you don’t venture out at all. The benefits outweigh the risks.
Appeal: a few weeks ago I received an email from a business acquaintance whom I had worked with before, he was asking for help for a particular issue in his organisations. The message appealed to me both as a small business owner and a human being. I replied that I would help. Fortunately for me, this was a great learning experience and I took way more value from that then I would have gotten had I asked him to pay the usual fee. Now I am not asking you to make appealing for help with your business a regular thing, but often when you appeal, even if you cannot get the full service for free, the person you make an appeal to will be able to direct you to a solution you can afford or give you a more discounted form of help that takes you closer to a solution.
Running a small business can be tedious and expensive, but with simple tools like this, you are able to save money and time while keeping down your overheads a large percentage of our job as entrepreneurs are to find unconventional solutions to problems after all.
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