Recruitment consultant and entrepreneur Cikizwa Nqolobe cut her teeth in Woolworths’ HR department, and then in 2006 took the plunge to start her own business, Indima Recruitment. She was appointed as a preferred supplier to Woolworths and identified as one of the company’s enterprise development programme beneficiaries. Here she shares some of the savings tips learnt on her way to building a financially sustainable business:
1. Don’t over-employ. Follow a strategic plan. If you’re unsure, employ on a temp/contract basis until there is clear direction. It is important to draw up job descriptions prior to recruiting to ensure you recruit at the right level. As a small business it is good to employ multi-talented individuals and remunerate them accordingly. Introduce low basic, high commission pay structures.
2. Valuable staff yield good results. Less valuable staff constantly cause strife and affect morale negatively. Small business owners need to focus on their bottom line and seldom have the time to performance manage individuals. An option is to make use of consultants to fill the gap for specialised needs.
3. Be prepared for the good months and the bad. Indima Recruitment has experienced good months and during those times I realised it was important to save for potential “rainy days”. We’ve felt the recession, but fortunately we haven’t had to close our doors. As a business owner, you need to be involved and physically engaged in the day-to-day running of the business. This means being involved in the mundane tasks yourself; this way you will not feel the pinch. Also consider partnering with other businesses to see where you can cut costs. Use this time to get closer to your clients. Another lesson I’ve learnt during this recession is that whilst business is quiet, you can engage in philanthropic work. This helps towards a good business journey.
4. Every cent saved goes a long way. Focus on your company’s policies and procedures to ensure that everyone is working towards the same goals. From a cost saving perspective, I’ve found that “shopping around” is crucial. Consider your pocket before buying anything. In our business, for example, we manage approximately 30 contractors for Woolworths and have opted to use a payroll company, which proved cheaper than taking on someone to manage this full-time in the business.
5. Find a financial advisor. If you aren’t an expert in a specific area, look for help, specifically when it comes to your business finances.
6. Invest your surplus cash. Investing your surplus cash is the way to go. Look for opportunities that yield healthy interest. It is important to also ensure that when needed these funds are available.
7. Don’t diversify too soon. Focus on the business at hand and making a success of it before exploring other ventures.