Welcome to the first of our 2013 Business Partners Limited Business Bang Newsletters. This month we look at what lies ahead for entrepreneurs in 2013 and share some tips on marketing your business in the new year.
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January 2013   |   Volume 5.1

2013: A lucky year ahead for those who work at it!

It is good that South African entrepreneurs are not a superstitious bunch; otherwise the 13 in 2013 may have cast a gloom over the year ahead, especially since it follows four extremely tough years since the start of the Great Recession and recent shocks such as Marikana.

How could they possibly be superstitious? Over the years, South African entrepreneurs and business owner-managers have proven the idea of making their own luck. For, they have lived the notion expressed by our legendary golfer Gary Player: “The harder I practice, the luckier I get.”

To be sure, 2013 is probably going to be another tough year in which business owners will have to work as hard as ever to make their own luck. The signs are that the global recovery will remain sluggish and vulnerable to shocks for the foreseeable future. And, even if it starts picking up sharply, it may still be a while before the positive effect is felt by most business owners on the ground.

Seeing the opportunities in 2013 will ‘depend on your attitude’

The year ahead will favour innovating businesses, specialist businesses and those who can keep themselves motivated in tough times, says Gerrie van Biljon, Business Partners Limited executive director, who predicts that consumer spending will remain lacklustre in 2013.

The flip side is that run-of-the-mill businesses offering ordinary products and services to the South African consumer are in for a very tough year. Part of the little consumer spending that there is remains characterised by extremely worrying trends in unsecured personal loans. Many consumers are borrowing to spend on daily expenses, predicting a difficult, problematic recovery.

This is bad news for any business relying on consumers’ discretionary spend. Luxury products or even relatively minor purchases such as eating out will remain under intense pressure. Businesses that sell essential items will be slightly better off, but not much. Even steady movers such as fuel are under pressure because consumers are more careful in planning trips and taking holidays closer to home, says Gerrie.

Advice: Ten tips for marketing your business in 2013

Marketing tends to be seen by many business owners as a soft function, one of the first spending areas to be cut when times are tough. But of course it is not only one of the most vital functions of a business, but, counter-intuitively, the slower the economy, the more your investment in your marketing effort needs to be.

Fortunately, the investment does not have to be cash – you can cut your marketing budget provided you increase your marketing effort in other ways such as increasing the focus of your team on marketing or spending more time on it yourself.

Here are ten ideas to help focus your marketing effort for 2013:

1. Cut the waste, but be careful not to over-prune

You can be pretty certain that the Pareto principle applies to marketing efforts that are left to sprawl. In other words, 80% of your successes come from only 20% of your marketing efforts. You therefore have lots of opportunity to cut activities that yield no results if you have not been pruning your marketing activities before.
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