Texting is today the most direct and most popular means to keep in touch with your contacts. Just like any other relationship, your relationship with your customers needs to be maintained through some form of communication be it email, social media, or more directly, a text. Hence the importance of customer relationship management (CRM) systems.
No matter the size of your business, simple innovations will push you forward and gain you the much needed growth in today’s highly competitive business environment. How about collecting customer details through a well organised database every time they have a car wash for example? Then use those details to market new products added to your business line. For instance, as a car wash you might bring in a new line of income by selling paint protect products. This can be marketed to your customer database once available thereby getting instant potential customers for your new product line. Your business need not be a big corporate to take advantage of such simple innovations.
According to the Zambia Information and Communications Technology Authority (ZICTA), mobile phone subscribers in Zambia have grown at a rate of 19.5% per annum in the last 8 years. Latest figures for mobile phone subscribers in Zambia stand at about 11.6 million people out of about 15 million Zambians. Clearly this trend is something to look seriously at for any business that is serious about growth.
So what exactly is text message marketing you might ask…
Text Message Marketing (also known as SMS Marketing) is simply a method of communication that sends text between cell phones, or from a computer (or tablet) to a cell phone number. This is from one source to many recipients that opt in to get communication from the sender. Text messaging is arguably the most popular and effective form of marketing because it does exactly what it is supposed to do. You can achieve great return on investment (ROI) doing nothing more than occasionally texting your customers with product/service notices, reminders and special offers. More than 95% of texts are read within 5 minutes of receipt. If you have established good relations with your contacts, they will want to hear from you whenever they see a text from you.
More engagement with your contacts means potentially new customers as your current contacts will be talking about you more as you are practically in their faces…Gain more referrals, and sell more to existing customers. Business needs a proactive approach, don’t be reactive. Try text marketing today, it is easier than you think to run your own system. If your business currently runs email marketing campaigns, text marketing will significantly increase your email campaigns open rates. Through text marketing, you can remind your subscribers when you send email hence increase your email open rate. Event reminders, conference reminders, and other notifications are all examples of activities that benefit from text marketing.
Several systems exist to help you do this. For an easy-to-use system, we recommend TextLocal, a UK based company with text marketing for international clients. Most companies offering text marketing online solutions will have limited international coverage. Hence it is important to check your preferred solution provider’s capability before you sign up. Cost is another plus for TextLocal, for first time sign-ups, you get 10 FREE texts, so you can test the system without paying any money at all.
Why not see for yourself how TextLocal can help your business through text marketing today.
Need a complete system set-up on your behalf? Get in touch with BCA Services and start using SMS to promote your business!
When it comes to business, efficiency and time management are competing factors that can aid your success. Various services are available through the use of ICTs to help your business achieve optimal use of time and resources.
Any business that participates in tenders through provision of services or products will of course dedicate a significant amount of time looking for potential business through newspapers and various other sources for tender notices. For instance, construction firms typically seek tender notices and submit bids for most of their business. For Zambian tenders, you would need to search in about three of the leading newspapers for tenders published in the press and also spend time looking on various company websites for tenders if any. How inefficient is that? Your total cost here should include the time lost to such activity, not forgetting the money you will have to spend in acquiring all the necessary newspapers every day. There has to be a better way, more efficient and better use of time!
The simple answer? Tender Portals! A portal refers to a website that offers a broad array of resources and services that may include services such as email, forums, search engines and online shopping. It is an organized gateway that helps to configure the access to information found on the website. Simply put, a portal is a special kind of website that allows user access to resources gathered from various sources.
A Tender Portal is thus a website portal with resources and information on various tenders collected from various sources such as the internet, newspapers, and organisations that publish their tender notices directly to the portal. This information is then organised into specific categories based on sector, country, date, and other categories to help users find specifically what they are looking to find. In addition, most tender portals will have the added service of sending users email alerts when tenders come up in line with their specific requirements. Further, SMS texts may be an added service in most cases.
With access to a tender portal, you have access to opportunities as and when they arise. Since, all the work of looking for tender notices is done for you by the administrators of the tender portal, you spend your time on your core business activities rather than wasting time looking for business. Simply get the tenders you want via email and submit your bid documents to more tender alerts. Maximum participation in tenders means maximum potential business.
Clearly newspapers are much more costly both in money terms and time. Why not try out the efficiency of a tender portal today and see for yourself how much your business will benefit from such a service. Looking for tender portals for Zambian and African business alerts? No worry here, we have you covered for all Zambian tenders and African tenders as well. Sign up today for FREE on www.zambia.tendertiger.com, refer a business colleague and get a 10% discount for a limited time only on your selected subscription plan to our service. Sign up today and call to learn more about how we can help improve your business prospects. Time to start being more efficient and manage your time better for increased business profit.
Personal development is an important part of our daily life. Learning never ends, and it need not be only within your career of choice. Learn more about your personal interests like photography, cooking, blogging, investment and financial literacy. Two hours a week can add so much knowledge and help develop your general knowledge on a diverse number of life skills and interests. The internet is a library of information…but we need to collect and organise it in a usable manner that just doesn’t result in information overload. To do this would require so much time on our part doing all the research and collecting of new data from so many sources. Further, it would require our time to go further and check the validity and reliability of those sources. Few people will have both the time and expertise to do this on their own in an extensive and sufficient manner, hence the importance of online open courses for all.
Now you might be thinking online courses are often too expensive for the value they give you right? Well, that may be true to some extent, but the real value in online courses is in life time membership offer from the providers of these courses either as a family or group package. In this way, everyone finds something of interest to them from the courses on offer. No one online course provider will offer you a great value for money, most online courses are structured for the international market. They will therefore be priced according to international standards which in the case of Zambia and most other developing countries is often unrealistic to say the least. Take for instance the Diploma in Photography offered by the Shaw Academy at 395 euros (as of 01/07/2016), compared to locally available courses in photography this is at least 4 times more expensive on average. However, as a life time member of the Shaw Academy, you get all the courses for free, for the rest of the company’s existence. The Shaw Academy has been growing rapidly since its establishment and new course are being added regularly. Other courses on offer include financial literary, investment and diverse interest topics such as nutrition, cookery, health and fitness, mobile apps development, and trading. All these are available at discounted prices once you take a course to try out the services of the Shaw Academy. Special discounts are given from as low as 9 euros for some courses. Participants in the courses are then offered a lifetime membership discounted offer of 395 euros for life! Not bad for a group package that you can use as a group and learn your brains away in various interest topics of use to today’s society. A personal recommendation would be the Financial Trading Course and the Photography course. Other interest topics are available to suit diverse interests. Alternatives to the Shaw Academy do exist as well, these include Lynda.com, Alison, GoSkills, Virtual College, and Udemy. Detailed reviews of these will follow soon. In the meantime, have a look at some of the course by the Shaw Academy and sign up for one to try it out for yourself.
Click http://www.shawacademy.com/?a_aid=574df17bca35e for more details.
For years job seekers have blamed “the government” for the lack of jobs; the mindset being “education equals employment”. Perhaps that’s what we’ve been told for years by a generation that was scouted in school as early as 10th grade and went straight into a job upon completion with at least 2 other head hunters in tow. Is it any wonder that 2015 saw the “Zambian Jobless 6” trending in the media for weeks?
Education provides empowerment, empowerment equals creation. In the 21st century this is more accurate than ever. Being educated doesn’t guarantee finding a job for which one studied. Kudos to those for whom their college/university major became or will become their career, but how about those for whom that isn’t the case? Should they sit back jobless and wait for the government to create jobs? If education equaled employment perhaps that would be justifiable but allow me to reiterate- education equals empowerment, empowerment equals creation. By now you probably know where I’m going with this… It’s time that we became creators; we are empowered plenty after all. Those years of knowledge collection and mental testing surely can’t be for nothing. What is knowledge if it lies dormant?
Millions of people around the world have become successful and it came not from working for another thus enriching them, but by working for self and creating employment for others thus being enriched. With so many graduates each year, how can we afford to forget about our inherent talents that we didn’t even need to be taught and instead just wait for our zero experience CVs to be considered in a stack of hundreds of 5 years plus experience CVs with 10 extra-curricular activities showing how enterprising and self-motivated they are? Isn’t it time that we gave ourselves a chance in this world by believing in ourselves?
So you can dance, could marvel the “So You Think You can Dance” judges… How about a choreography service followed by a dance studio? Perhaps you possess the design gene, your designing and tailoring could give Project Runway designers a run for their money… How about fashion designing for profit? Dear baker, you bake cakes and other treats that would have you competing on the “Next Great Baker”… How about your own bakery?
Pause for a second… notice how the above shows are not local? You have the media creative gene… How about creating TV shows and giving our Zambian channels much needed content? Maybe you’ve had the opportunity to travel and see great things that Zambia lacks… How about taking steps to make those a reality here?
Perhaps for some of these examples you require further training along the way but it’s about time that we ditch the mindset that success only comes from being a doctor, lawyer, accountant… all great careers but this is not all it will take to develop our economy.
Consider your talents and all that you could do with them. We might be sitting on empires wrapped in our talents that we didn’t need 4 to 10 years to learn, but because we’re all waiting on the government, we don’t even realize it.
Now please don’t get me wrong, by all means do get that education because an educated person is a flame full of wisdom that cannot be snuffed out regardless of the path they take for a livelihood. Education kicks out ignorance… a whole lot of it, so get educated but while you’re at it, keep an open mind and do what you love because you might build an empire with your talent.
By Kuken’a Kanema
In the last couple of decades Africa has been hit by a strong wave of feminism. Everyone has something to say and do about the empowerment of the African girl child or woman. The African female has never experienced such feminist activism in her favour; exclusive schools, scholarships and jobs all catering to females only, but at what cost?
Feminism and the push to have women recognized has brought about the "see how great I have or can become" syndrome. Bringing it close to home, Zambian females are more than ever career driven than the baby boomer generation. They not only graduate from secondary school but they also have one of the highest percentages of Higher education graduation.
Our females have resolved that whatever the cost, they are going to 'make it' in life; cue in the 'sugar daddy' phenomenon. In their pursuit to drive flashy cars, rent lavish apartments and prove to the world that they truly are strong and capable, our women have started selling their bodies; but hush hush that is not prostitution at all.
Feminism is all about showing that women can work just as hard, if not harder than their male counterparts; that the female is equal to the male. But this pressure put on women to achieve all these grand things in a society that is still male dominated is causing more destruction than empowerment. The modern day feminists would rather save face than own up to the fact as much as times have changed, Zambian culture and traditions still take precedence over 'girl power' movements.
Hence, our so called career woman with the 'out of the show room, new car smell' Benz and expensive overseas vacations is just another girl being pimped or owned by the same person she is supposed to be proving her feminism to. At the end of the day the males or sugar daddies still win.
This poses a question, is empowering the Zambian female the answer to the inequality or should we start with changing the cultures and traditions first? Maybe fairness and not equality is something feminists should be fighting for.
By Kasali Kanika
Are numerous shopping malls the cake of development or the cherry on top? This question riddled with my mind for too long so I sought an answer.
A mall for each area is justified, in fact, brilliant, but is the concentration of malls in specific areas a sign of state growth? The saying goes “too much of anything is a bad thing”. Is it possible that too many malls are a bad thing?
Don’t get me wrong, I love malls and shopping, Who doesn’t like to walk into a beautiful building with an array of stores to choose from? And if not to shop in, perhaps just to look at the ‘priced to meet high rent’ merchandise and look forward to the day that money won’t be the issue and you won’t need to ask prices before even considering taking a closer look.
Perhaps the earlier generation gets the zest of the malls, the place where you go to spend hard earned money after working, creating, investing… living… with plenty leftover thereafter.
But what do malls mean to the younger generation? The generation that pseudo-reality television shows have influenced immensely, in whose hands the future belongs.
Truth is we aren’t living to our full potential; we are creating but only to let our ideas get taken because we aren’t protecting our creations – copyright, patents, anyone? Well that’s a story for another day.
We aren’t investing; ask the Lusaka Stock Exchange all the reasons why it’s in a pitiful state. We are eating more junk food and exercising less because pizza and ice cream at the mall is cooler than the limited range of fitness options. Few of us like to go to the quintessential gym, while some of us believe that pushing a trolley is as good as pushing weights.
Here is the thing – there is something about excess malls that makes us spend more than we intend, blow our budgets or wonder if we can get away with robbing a bank. Something that makes spending hours getting little for a lot more enticing than going back to our realities – studying, seeking jobs, creating jobs and selling our products or brands.
Cause and effect dictates that with malls mushrooming, these effects are increasing. With increased malls in the same areas, “mall hopping” is becoming a way of life. So we are doing less, spending more and leaving little to contribute to our cake of development.
Factoring in the fact that most stores are owned by foreign nationals, in short we are contributing more to other countries’ development than our own. Contributing is a good thing but can we make our cake too, contributing the excess to other nations?
As for tourism – let’s face it, tourists don’t come to see our malls. They have plenty, some even bigger.
This is probably not an exact science but:
Cultural institutions displaying our heritage – how’s that for homage?
“Plant a tree” initiative areas for us to plant unique, attractive trees and other plants that our children’s children will find – how’s that for generational living?
Art institutions for youths to express their creativity in music, dance, and anything else artsy – how’s that for extracurricular activities?
Fun fares with rides for children and adults alike – how’s that for family fun?
Fitness centers with indoor and outdoor equipment; obstacle courses, swimming pools, skating rinks, indoor rock climbing – how’s that for fitness?
Are numerous shopping malls the cake of development or the cherry on top? I’ll let you be the judge.
By Kuken’a Kanema
More and more Zambians are spending more and more time on social networking sites such as Facebook, Twitter, and so on. More Zambian companies are appreciating this fact. Some Companies are now actually setting up their social networking pages rather than having a website. But is this suitable for all? Well, we can only say, it depends. ..
The truth is, a Facebook Page might just be more effective for your business model in the early days than a website! Shocking? Not at all if you look at the numbers. With over 327,600 Facebook subscribers in Zambia (Dec 31/12, http://www.internetworldstats.com/africa.htm) it is easy to see why Facebook might be the right choice for your business in the early days. This goes of course with what kind of business you are into. If your business is primarily focused on the age groups of 18 to 34 years of age, you should be on Facebook doing all the marketing you can! this is the largest age group on Facebook in Zambia (http://www.socialbakers.com/facebook-statistics/zambia).
Just remind yourself that eventually your business will still need a website for professionalism as you grow. In the meantime, if your business can do with just a Facebook Page, do it! Today! The Facebook Page you create today will bring and attract customers to your site when you are ready to go online with a website.
It's very easy to start a Facebook page for your business or organisation. You can practically google the process! The difficult part is managing and maintaining it. Here are some tips from businesses with long standing Facebook Pages:
Have a look at our Social Media in Zambia Infographic HERE.
After the hard work is done, a series of smart moves made, and a thousand courageous steps taken, it is often common that the entrepreneur finds taking the final step into the door frightening. The entrepreneur may get cold feet right at the door. Strange as it may be, it happens far too often. The thought of accomplishment after a long journey to success is often accompanied by ambivalence. A perfect mix of fear and satisfaction.
Fear, because the entrepreneur knows nothing of the new conquest. Satisfaction, because the entrepreneur finally has what was long sort for. A strange sense of joy and satisfaction coupled with emptiness is often the result. This short tendency to hold on to a comfort when it’s time to get more can sometimes hold the entrepreneur back. It is important to discipline ourselves to let go quickly and respond to change swiftly. In a capitalist economy, speed is often a plus. You never know what the next adventure holds unless you start the next adventure immediately you achieve your goal.
Take charge and stand out, no cold feet at the door, no hesitant thoughts when you have travelled far to get your goal or desire!
With the increasing trend towards the everyday use of mobile devices such as tablets, smartphones, and other hand held devices, it is important that your website is responsive. What’s a responsive website? In layman’s terms, this is just another way of describing a website with both a mobile and desktop view. Still lost? OK, so a responsive website will look differently on a mobile device and on your usual desktop or laptop computer. The major difference between the mobile view and the desktop view is that the mobile view may reduce the amount of unnecessary images for easier viewing. The mobile view is also usually designed for easier scrolling and browsing on a mobile device such as a table PC or smartphone. This mobile view has come to be known as “minimalist” or minimalist view because of its simplicity and basic style of design.
Tables, iPads, smartphones, etc. are all on the increase all over the world including Zambia! With such a trend, it has become imperative that your business’ online presence is “responsive”. Whether you are a start-up business or a well-established business house, your web presence can be a distinguishing factor even in lesser developed countries where internet use is still lagging behind significantly. A web presence online can set you apart, but a great responsive web presence simply puts you at the forefront of innovation in whatever industry you may be in.
A responsive website need not be costly, in fact, a website alone to start with need not cost you so much Kwacha. You can have an excellent website, responsive, and social-ready today for less than ZMW 2, 000! What value does it add? Well, think of this scenario, you in board room presenting your excellent business pitch and your client asks if you have a website already. What device(s) are they likely to put out to check on your web presence? More than likely, it will be a tablet PC, smartphone or other handheld device with internet capabilities. Just imagine the imagine you leave on your client when your website is fully responsive on each device? It speaks volumes about your forward thinking!
So you a Do-It-Yourself type? No problem...you can build your very own responsive website with many online website building services. A one-time expense for a business life time benefit! Not sure whether you can build your own website? Contact us today and have your responsive website...
System automation where necessary is key to innovation and efficiency in any organisation regardless of size. System automation includes enterprise management (EMP) systems, customer relationship management (CRM) systems, landing pages and email marketing automation systems.
It is far more than just IT for marketing, sales and customer management, it sets you apart from your competition and puts you in a league of your own. Even better than these benefits, it improves your productivity as a company. So what exactly in real terms can system automation do for your business?
Automation of your Customer relationship management (CRM) systems for instance, can significantly reduce costs of customer management and administration thereby increase profits. By focusing on customer satisfaction through a well organised, automated, time-efficient system, customer retention and referrals can be increased significantly! Automating business processes will help you nurture customer relations and loyalty. Imagine this scenario, your sales team have identified potential clients to sell to (leads), your company markets to these leads via email and telephone. Your team needs to collaborate and plan when next to talk to the same lead while at the same time chasing other leads, right? How about letting technology work for you here? With an automated system, your CRM system can work for you were necessary so your sales team can focus their attention at what’s important, selling! An automated system can email your leads as you set it to and give you reminders to follow up with visits, phone calls, etc. your system can help you sell more services or products to your existing customers. With an automated system, you are able to know more about your customers, hence find out more of what you can do for them!
Automation makes it easy for you and your organisation or business to centralise and share data, deliver better customer service and higher customer satisfaction, it will help improve your marketing efforts and bring in more profits.
Find out today, how we can be of help in this area…