The Ghanaian economy is growing steadily and bustling with business opportunities. Those with the desire to impact in a unique way are drawn to such opportunities leading to regular spring up of businesses. A lot of such businesses operate from our local communities; offering range of unique and innovative products and services. Essential services such as graphic design & printing, office & home recruitment agencies, Interior & event decor, photography, cleaning and home tuition, just to name a few can be accessed from our high streets and local communities.
Certain critical issues come to play however; are the businesses noticed with ease and do they remain in the minds of their targets? I chose to write this article to draw attention to the CANKER OF OBSCURITY that most of such small businesses face. Some operate in the dark and are barely noticed by the people they seek to serve both in the localities and beyond. The Spintex road, where I live is home to numerous businesses; from small container shops to manufacturing giants, and service providers operating in several industries. The area has gradually evolved into a business hub, but what some of them offer is hardly ever known by the people who may require it. There have been times when I have needed a product or service, hoping to access it locally and not have a clue about local businesses that can help. You drive on the Spintex road and would come across businesses offering services which hitherto you have required but didn’t have knowledge of their existence. I’m certain some readers would identify with me. To the businesses in question, this is indirectly lost sale opportunities.
You’ve spent fortunes to invest in offices and outlets on popular high streets, hoping to meet peculiar needs and cannot afford to remain unnoticeable. You are not noticed because people barely know of your existence. Not getting noticed would eventually negatively impact your business viability. I’m aware of certain businesses on the same Spintex road that have had to fold up operations because of poor patronage.
Beyond embarking on publicity/ marketing drives that could cost you an arm and a leg, here a few tips on how to get your business on the radar of prominence. People easily become aware of your existence, and are familiar with the value of your products/ service. You obviously become the obvious choice; which implies increased customer patronage and loyalty.
Consider aggressive publicity to get the necessary patronage. In other countries where there is reliable and regularly updated online business registry, some businesses may afford to make less noise because prospective clients who require their services can get maximum information online. This is not the case in our system, and you ought to aggressively draw attention to yourself to stand out from the crowd.
We’re lucky to have social media as the new ‘kid on the block’. If you haven’t done so already, grab the opportunity to publicize your business on the different social media platforms. Seek expert advice on the platforms that will particularly suit your product/ service offering. A business offering photography services could consider extensive publicity on Instagram. Social media publicity extends beyond your immediate confines usually at little or no expense at all. But please engage the experts because you could allocate resources to social media and not make much impact.
Invest in attractive & informative flyers/ leaflets for onward distribution to target clients. Recruitment agencies for domestic workers could have flyers of the service distributed to residents in the local neighborhoods as an initial publicity tool. Referrals, as a result of good quality of service will subsequently extend your brand beyond the local community. Flyers have a way of creating awareness to prospective clients though it implies initial cost outlay. I had always wondered the possibility of getting good quality school shoes for my children without necessarily having to travel to a shopping mall. Recently I was handed a flier of a local children’s shop in my daughters’ school. I have since kept it safe and will contact the shop if the need arises. At least now I know where to go to in my neighborhood if I need to get school shoes for my children.
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Collect data of all your outlet visitors, including the people who enter may enter simply to enquire or to have a quick glance around. You can initially create a simple whatsapp broadcast list with contacts gathered. Send regular reminders of products/ services on offer to your broadcast list. Additional reminders such as new branch openings and store opening and closing times could be disseminated to a wider audience via social media. I recently bumped into a newly opened fresh plantain chips joint very close to my house. I’m familiar with a branch in East Legon but was totally unaware that I now have a branch very close to me. The story would have been different if they had sent notification of new branch to customers via a social media broadcast list.
These tips are simple and cost effective means for businesses to remain in the minds of target clients and survive on our high streets.
By Amma Adjeiwaa Antwi, (M-DoZ Consulting)
M-DoZ Consulting offers Organisational Development, Corporate Training and Retirement Planning Advisory Services. Our contacts are: Ph: +233247-247-200, +23320-1196-080,
E: firstname.lastname@example.org, W: www.m-doz.com & Facebook: mdozghana