Business Maverick

Business Maverick

SME Toolkit Thursday, 25 June 2020

Daily Maverick

“When obstacles arise, you change your direction to reach your goal; you do not change your decision to get there.”
Zig Ziglar

Pargo partners with the V&A Waterfront to offer a click and collect service. New sales channels are popping up everywhere in these tough times. Picture: Supplied.

Dear SME Warrior

A natural reaction to a global pandemic is for consumers to spend less, tighten their budgets and cut out the luxuries they once enjoyed. This means that many businesses are watching their customers cancel orders, pause subscriptions and stop spending.

Don’t stand idly by as if you were passively watching the film! Rewrite the script – now is not the time to stand still. Yes, your existing customer base may be tightening their belts but there are many others who may be interested in buying what you’re selling – it’s a case of finding them.

And yes the landscape has changed. In this world of Zoom and Microsoft Teams it’s one thing to communicate regularly with existing customers, but how to find and establish a rapport with new customers may be more difficult.

I know it’s impossible to read the label from inside of the bottle so this week’s SME Toolkit aims to help you with new ideas for sales channels, as well as providing other tools and tips that you may not have thought about or haven’t tried yet.

I’d love to hear about any interesting sales channels that have been working for you recently so please, hit reply and tell me your sales or business development stories.

Nic Haralambous
Ask more questions of yourself and others.


Sanlam Investments plans a R7-billion Covid-19 support fund

Without the help of the long-term savings industry, South Africa will lose a chunk of its productive capacity and with it jobs. Slowly the industry is seeing that it has a responsibility to step up.

Read more

After a sluggish start, applications for a slice of the R200-billion Covid-19 bank guarantee fund are starting to take off

It seemed at first that the take-up of the national Covid-19 guarantee fund, which allows local businesses with an annual turnover of up to R300-million to apply for government-backed Covid-19 loans from South Africa’s commercial banks, was going to be a dud. But now that the paperwork is getting processed, loans are mounting up fast. It’s still too early to tell whether the full R200-billion will be utilised.

Read more

Government must come up with more effective ways of supporting small scale farmers

While the country faces a looming food crisis, what is happening to those who received farms through land reform? And what needs to be done to support them so they can continue producing food and generating incomes?

Read more



Sell More

It may sound crazy, but “sell more” is the best sales advice I’ve ever received. If you think you’re selling enough, double your efforts. Sales and business development are both mathematical problems. We think of them as soft skills that require finesse and that’s true to a point but really it’s about numbers. How many people or businesses are in your pipeline? Are you actively hunting new leads or are you passively waiting for them to find you?

Assess Existing Channels

Every sales channel that you are using right now needs to be evaluated on a revenue basis. Is the channel still serving its purpose and generating income? If you are spending on Instagram, Facebook or Google search ads, are they all converting at the rate you want them to? If you have a salesperson or team, are they converting at the rate you need them to? If you outsource sales would that make a difference?

Your Team

Your team are your brand ambassadors. If you look after them and they believe in what they are selling, they will communicate positively about your brand and business at every opportunity. Ensure you have their buy-in – and make it easy for people to find them online. 

Your Existing Customers

Don’t ignore the people who have been loyal to you. Embrace them and help them as much as you can. Then engage with them and find ways to make them your most vocal brand ambassadors. The time of micro-influence is upon us. You know that customer with 500 followers on Instagram? If they love you, they’re going to post about you and convert their friends. Secure their loyalty with incredible service and kind communication. 

Different Kinds of Meetings

The era of a coffee introduction is gone. Sure, we all love coffee but an in-person meeting is inefficient as a first engagement. Embrace the digital meeting, keep it short, send an agenda and get right to the point. I like to start with a 15-minute introductory call. 


Have you always wanted to work with a specific brand or business? Now is the time to reach out to them and pitch something amazing. Find businesses with a similar customer profile and suggest a joint competition or marketing promotion. Add their products to your newsletters, create a collaborative product that you can jointly promote or get together and do something to help your customers together. 


Growing and owning a database of relevant people is an important method of lead nurturing. People love to enter competitions and there are tools like ViralSweep, Gleam and others that help you to grow your entries and reward customers. 

Add Value

Selling your features is a pre-Covid-19 tactic. Today, the best way to find new clients is to add value to the community you are trying to serve. Join Facebook groups, LinkedIn groups, head to Reddit and find a relevant subreddit that your customers might be interacting with, engage with people on Quora and answer questions because you’re an expert.

Landing Page Optimisation

Local entrepreneur Rob Hope has put together 100 landing page tips that are digestible over 100 days. Every day you will get one actionable nugget to implement on your landing pages. Signup and start receiving one tip every day over email. 

Manage Your Pipeline

It’s time to become more precise about your sales and business development. The most affordable and straightforward way to manage your pipeline has to be Google Sheets or Excel. But Salesflare has a useful free template that you can download to get you started.  Or, if you are willing to pay a small monthly fee for your sales management and online hosting, there are other options including Pipedrive,, Insightly



If you’re looking to learn sales tactics from the best then start with these incredible podcasts.   
  • How I Built This – NPR’s incredible podcast talks with founders about how they built their businesses – from hot dog carts to wine farms – and gained their first sales.  
  • So Money – So Money brings candid conversations about money with the world’s top business minds, authors and influencers including Arianna Huffington, Tim Ferriss, Gretchen Rubin, Seth Godin, Robert Kiyosaki, Jim Cramer, Margaret Cho and many others.
  • Smart Marketing Podcast – Listen to Jason and Justin discuss digital marketing ideas and tips. Short, sharp and effective. 
  • The Bill Caskey Podcast – Self described as ‘A podcast to help you dramatically improve your results in your business’. Need I say more?
  • James Altucher – Not specifically a sales podcast but Altucher’s show is bound to help you rethink your approach to the world, including how you approach sales. 




The graph of the week comes to us from Yoco’s COVID-19 recovery monitor.

At 66% the turnover index indicates that the small business sector is trading up by 8% from last week’s 58% and 1% up from the previous week’s 65%.



Futuregrowth Asset Management via its Futuregrowth Development Equity Fund (DEF) has invested in LifeCheq, a local, online personal finance business that aims to make expert advice accessible to professionals and entrepreneurs who feel they are not well served by the existing financial advice industry.


Pargo, the parcel collection and delivery company is now offering customers the option of collecting their online shopping at their local Pargo point. It has partnered with the V&A Waterfront to offer shoppers this handy alternative.
Find a full list of participating stores here.

SweepSouth Connect

From plumbers to psychiatrists, white-collar to blue-collar –  people are signing up in their droves to SweepSouth’s new marketplace SweepSouth Connect which connects vetted professionals to people needing those services in their local area.

Launched only weeks ago, thousands have signed up and are using the app to market their services and generate income. The app’s founders say the response has been so overwhelming that they are adding new service categories almost daily.



Yoco Meets: Social Media Marketing 
When: Jun 26, 2020, 6:00 PM
Cost: Free
Registration link

The Start Something Show with Xola Nouse, CEO of Odd Number
When: Jun 23, 2020, 4:00 PM
Cost: Free
Registration link

Salesforce Free Webinars
When: Ongoing
Cost: Free
Registration Link

Why Some Sales Videos Win and Others Fail: Lessons from 20,000,000 One-to-One Videos
When: June 24, 2020, 11;30am
Cost: Free
Registration Link

If you missed last week’s edition of the SME Toolkit, click here


Nic Haralambous is an obsessive entrepreneur, published author and keynote speaker. For more from Nic find him on LinkedIn or his website.


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