How an online presence can boost your business’s cash flow

One of the greatest challenges businesses face when selling products and services – and making a profit – is managing their cash flow so that their expenditure isn’t higher than their profit. In fact, the Sage Foundation found that 36% of female entrepreneurs who responded to its SA Women in Business research report cited cash flow problems as one of their biggest challenges when it came to running their start-up businesses.

Cash flow forecasting is one way to navigate this. It means mapping out estimates of the money coming into and going out of your business over a period of time. You then make adjustments where necessary in order to avoid insolvency in future.

When it comes to ensuring your business has a steady cash flow, establishing and maintaining your online presence is crucial.

If you’re not online, you don’t exist 

Whether or not your business sells its services online, a website and social media presence is an absolute must. In 2019, it’s safe to assume that no one is thumbing through their Yellow Pages to find your business.

Customers like to compare what’s out there before making any buying decisions. To do that, they turn to the Internet. It’s also your safest bet when it comes to expanding both locally and internationally, and helps you engage with your customers in a more meaningful and personal way.

You have to be seen to make money 

The easiest way to make money is to earn it while you sleep – your digital presence and e-commerce website is the best way to do this. It allows your customers to see what you offer, and then follow through with their purchase easily and quickly. By making it simple for your customers to pay for your product or service, and by accepting different payment methods (be it EFT, card, mobile wallet, cash on delivery, or even cryptocurrency), you’ll increase the cash flow coming into your business.

It might seem daunting to set up a website and online store, but it really isn’t. With options such as Sage Online Tools, it’s safe, affordable, and simple to take your business transactions online, and to increase your profit while reaching more customers.

When you also incorporate social media and SEO into your business’s digital marketing strategy, you’ll likely see a bigger boost in website traffic and sales. This is where your Sage accounting software comes in handy. To keep your operation running smoothly, you’ll need to be able to update your pricing in a heartbeat, and check your inventory levels and product data in real-time.

At the end of the day, you can’t make money if no one knows where to find you, what you offer, or how easily they can pay for your products and services. Being online means ensuring you’re never invisible, and this means constantly breathing fresh life into your cash flow.

Flexibility: The myth of female entrepreneurship

It’s understandable that some women leave the corporate world behind to pursue an entrepreneurial career. The possibility of doing what you truly love, investing your skills and time into your own business instead of someone else’s, and having the freedom to pick your child up from netball practice twice a week is indeed tempting. But the truth is, that the beginning stages of becoming an entrepreneur offer very little of the attraction that drew you to it in the first place: time.

In our recent research report, carried out with Living Facts, Fostering Female Entrepreneurship, 59% of women interviewed said flexibility was their main reason for starting their own business. While the initial slog will eventually come to an end, time poverty is a common reason why many women return to the corporate world. It seems hard to believe, but our research found that as much as 19% of women believe that the corporate world gave them more flexibility than running their own business.

On the bright side, the business owners who stuck with it during those first few difficult, crucial years said they were happy they did. The flexibility they’d dreamed of might not have been there initially, but a few years down the line, they had it, and so much more: financial independence and the opportunity to empower other women.

So what set these entrepreneurs apart from the rest? They had their priorities in order and knew how to carve out the time they needed for crucial tasks. Focusing on purely the core aspects of your business can only be done if all other tasks are being handled too. This is why delegation and outsourcing are a non-negotiable.

Another way to free up your limited time and allocate it where it counts most, is by automating the business processes that drain your time. Why stress over your billing and accounts receivable when your accounting can be streamlined securely online with solutions like Sage?

In the same way you’re helping yourself by optimising your business processes, don’t forget to get help in your personal life too. Whether it’s a carpool for the kids, or getting your partner to make dinner for the week, don’t forget that your support system cares about you and your success, and they’re there to help you.

While you won’t have the flexible hours you dreamed of for a while, it’s important to remember the other reasons you took the leap into entrepreneurship in the first place. When your hard work starts coming to fruition and you have a minute to revel in what you’ve built, it will be worth every hour spent getting there.

Stop manually balancing your books

Seasoned accountants will remember sitting with a bank statement printout and manually entering each transaction into the accounting system, crossing each one off with a pen and ruler as they went along. Mistakes often crept in, although this was only noticed when the books didn’t balance at the end of the month.

Then things got fancy. Accounting systems evolved, with the ability to import bank statements and automatically capture transactions. There was still some manual work involved: accountants had to assign each transaction to an account and make everything was accounted for. But errors still slipped through.

Now, there’s been another advancement in accounting integration technology: Bank Feeds make bank reconciliation even faster. While pulling information from your bank account into your accounting system multiple times a day is not necessarily new, few accountants and businesses are benefiting from the time-saving and accuracy this automated approach offers.

Bank Feeds makes capturing and processing of recurring transactions as easy as logging onto an Internet banking profile. All in real-time and secured by a third-party financial services provider.

How it works

Most accounting solutions support Bank Feeds functionality.

Once activated, you can link directly with most large banks and financial institutions globally. After you’ve entered your Internet banking details, you’ll need to give the service provider permission to access your banking account. Now, every time you log into your accounting system, Bank Feeds screen scrapes your statement and automatically imports new transactions.

To allocate recurring transactions to an account or customer with no future manual intervention, simply create rules to map them. For example, payments to staff accounts can be mapped to register under the payroll line item. You only need to create the rule once and, if anything in the payment reference changes, the system will alert you to the change, as well as to any transactions that have not been assigned rules.

Here are some compelling reasons to active Bank Feeds today:

  • It makes bank reconciliation quick and easy;
  • You’ll buy time by assigning rules to focus on better serving customers, improving efficiencies, or growing your business;
  • Errors are drastically reduced – possibly eliminated – giving you peace of mind that your books will balance at the end of every month;
  • Since Bank Feeds pulls transactions into your accounting system every time you log on, you’ll have a real-time view into your business’s finances;
  • It’s completely secure, since you only need to provide your Internet banking details to the third-party service provider.

With one less thing to worry about, Bank Feeds empowers accountants to focus on becoming business advisors and consultants to their clients. They can add true value by helping clients with their financial strategy, business development, and forecasting, while also growing their own revenue.

Why Gen Z isn’t clicking on your job ad

As a recruiter, you have less than 10 seconds to catch and hold the attention of Generation Z, the next wave of people entering the workplace. Not only do they have shorter attention spans than the Millennials that came before them, but it’s expected that they’ll shake things up even more than Millennials ever did. 

Who are Gen Z, exactly? 

Generation Z was born between 1995 and 2014. Besides the shorter attention spans, they also prefer communicating through technology than face-to-face. They believe that tech is key to productivity and problem-solving, and are masterful researchers and networkers. And, at a time when business is moving at the speed of light, these are valuable traits to have.

While Gen Z’s attention is worth having, it’s not easy to get. As a generation inundated with an endless stream of content, a long, complex job description isn’t going to do you any favours. So think beyond the traditional job ad: keep it succinct and make sure it packs a punch.

Here are three things to remember when writing job descriptions targeted at Generation Z: 

  1. Speak their language

A Gen Z candidate wants to know how he or she will fit into the day-to-day culture of a company and within a particular role. Does your job description discuss the culture, initiatives, salary, and opportunities for growth?

Rather than rambling on about the company in general, ask someone who’s in the advertised role for input on the write-up, and answer the questions a Gen Z candidate will inevitably have. Remember, this is likely their first job, so avoid industry jargon, if you can. 

  1. Don’t underestimate the power of visuals

More can be communicated through a picture than reams of text – just look at Instagram. Rather than boring candidates with a long description on a job site, and talking about your company’s values and every responsibility included in the role, brainstorm ways to reach them where they already are – like Twitter and Snapchat.

Before posting anything, ask a young team member to read through the ad. They can tell you if it will resonate with your target audience or if it misses the mark. 

  1. Be clear, concise, and transparent

Don’t oversell the position because Gen Z will catch you out. Before an application reaches your inbox, it’s safe to assume that the candidate has done his or her research, and they’ll expect you to deliver on what you sold them. Be clear about the experience required, what the role entails, how success is defined, and how performance is measured.

Generation Z has a wealth of skills to offer, and while we might not fully understand them yet, there’s no denying that they have the potential to make a massive impact on how work gets done.

Debunking small business money-saving myths

While you might not have the savings you wish you did to grow your business, one thing you probably do have in abundance, is money advice. It can be hard to know what to accept and what to ignore.

Here are five common myths about saving money as a small business:

Myth 1: I can’t save until my revenue increases 

Put plainly, saving money every month is a non-negotiable. While it’s tempting to wait until your turnover improves before putting money away, this is an excuse that could hold you back forever. Because where one excuse ends, another begins. If you can’t prioritise saving now, you might never.

Start small, and save a small percentage of each invoice as soon as you’re paid. Then, pay your expenses with what’s left. This may require some budget-tweaking, but you should be reviewing your finances often anyway. Rather than dreading it, think of it as an investment in the future of your business.

Once you’ve made a habit of saving, you can increase the percentage. Remember: interest can’t start compounding until there’s money in your account.

Myth 2: I need something to save towards 

Sure, it’s important to save money for items that are integral to your business (think shop fittings or a delivery van), but saving for the unknown is just as important.

Setting money aside for this reason means you’ll be covered in instances such as needing to pay out an insurance excess, or paying salaries and suppliers when a corporate is behind on their payment.

Don’t wait for the unexpected to happen before learning this lesson – rather prepare for it from day one.

Myth 3: A traditional savings account is my only option 

The biggest benefit of saving with a bank may also be the biggest downfall. While it’s a simple and convenient way to keep an eye on your money and access it quickly, it also increases the chance that you’ll make financially risky and impulsive decisions – for the exact reason that it’s easily accessible. Not only that, but it’s not the best route if you’re hoping to earn interest.

Rather consider options like purchasing shares or putting your money into an investment account. You’ll see higher returns on your long-term savings, and won’t be tempted to spend impulsively.

Myth 4: I can start another day 

Despite how hard and unrewarding it can feel putting money aside every month, when the day inevitably comes that you need it for an emergency, you’ll be thankful that you did. You might be tempted to put off saving, but starting today means preventing the wild chase of trying to secure finance, or the crippling pressure of falling into debt, if something goes wrong.

You’ll always find an excuse not to save, and not one of them will ever be good enough. Set a reasonable financial goal, and start working towards it immediately.

Myth 5: The only way to save is by putting cash away 

If you’re not putting away as much as you wish you could, don’t feel like there’s nothing else you can do. Reducing the operating costs of your business is a smart way to free up money, which you can then invest.

Here are some things you can try:

  • Don’t pay for more office space than you need. Whether you share an office with other small businesses or adopt remote working policies, cutting back on rent is a great way to free up money each month.
  • The greener, the better (and cheaper). Consider the implications on your energy bill of everything from paper to lightbulbs. Buy energy-saving appliances and refurbished office furniture. Small things add up in a big way.
  • Use the cloud to your advantage. Why spend money on the skills and hardware needed to manage your business processes, when there are affordable cloud solutions that let you do it yourself? Cloud software lets you cut down on human error and operational costs by, for example, ensuring your money is never tied up in extra stock.
  • Stay on top of your invoices. Late payment fees are an unnecessary waste of money.
  • Freelancers first. Before hiring full-time staff, outsource work such as design or copywriting to freelancers, and take on interns who can assist with admin while they learn.

Money. It’s more complicated than simply knowing how to make it. You need to know how to save it, and how to grow it – and there’s no better time than today to set healthy savings habits.

Change is in the retail air

‘Change’ is commonly associated with the retail industry.

  • You get changed in a change room;
  • If you change your mind about something you bought, you can exchange it;
  • When you pay for something, you usually get some change; and
  • Charles Dickens famously used the word ‘Change to refer to the Royal Exchange, where merchants met to do business.

A lot has changed in the retail industry over the years, and there’s a lot more change coming, driven by consumers’ demand for instant gratification, which, in turn, is fed by new technologies and digital disruption. 

E-commerce explosion

According to Shopify, global e-commerce was responsible for around $2.3 trillion in sales in 2017 and is expected to hit $4.5 trillion in 2021 – that’s an astounding 246% increase. Mobile purchases accounted for 59% of 2017 sales, or $1.4 trillion.

South Africans were expected to spend R45 billion online in 2018, with R14.9 billion of that spend happening on mobile. Local online spend is forecast to rise to R61.9 billion by 2020, representing a ripe market for local retailers.

Here are more opportunities that retailers can exploit, which show just how much retail will change in the coming years:

  • Mobile first. If you don’t have a mobile app, you’re already falling behind. In the US, 71% of consumers have downloaded at least one shopping app. And, in South Africa, consumers were using double the number of shopping apps in 2018 than in 2017, and most have downloaded at least four retail apps.

Before you launch an app, though, be sure to test it extensively, because 21% of shoppers will delete it immediately if it doesn’t work well. With hundreds of thousands of apps to choose from, it can be difficult convincing consumers to download yours. Give them a good reason to, like a discount on their first purchase made through the app.

  • Try before you buy. By the time a consumer buys something from you, you can assume that they’ve done some extensive research. You can now virtually view how a piece of furniture will look in your living room before buying it, and, if you like it, you can compare prices across thousands of stores before deciding who to give your money to. Technology has enabled entirely new shopping experiences, allowing us to try before we buy virtually anything. No pun intended.
  • Personal touch. Technology enables retailers to engage with customers on entirely new levels. Now, with geolocation, mapping, and beacon technology, retailers will know when a customer walks through the door – or even when they’re close by. They can push special offers straight to the consumers’ phones, enticing them inside to take advantage of their personalised offer. The key here is personalisation. Consumers don’t want the same offers as everyone else. They want to feel special and that the retailer knows exactly what they like.
  • Robotic retail. From chatbots to cobots, advances in machine learning and artificial intelligence let retailers better serve their customers by instantly answering queries and speeding up problem solving, like product exchange, handling returns, and letting customers know when there’s something new in store that they might love. According to the International Council of Shopping Centers, 37% of consumers used a digital assistant in 2017 to place orders and create shopping lists.
  • Varied payment preferences. Consumers expect businesses to offer a number of payment options, other than card or cash on delivery. More and more South African retailers are even accepting payment in cryptocurrencies and are starting to offer mobile loans.

Clearly, the biggest change that we see in retail is a shift to personal, on-demand experiences. Like walking into a store and being handed the exact dress we’re looking for, in the right colour, and right size, with recommended accessories thrown in for good measure. We’d be in and out and on our way again in minutes. Wouldn’t that be nice, for a change?

10 questions to ask when choosing accounting software

Admin is an unavoidable chore of doing business. Luckily, software is available to help you easily manage your accounts. But with so many options available, how do you choose the right business accounting software?

We’ve put together 10 questions that you should answer before making your decision. The questions and answers can be found in our 10 things to look for in small business accounting software guide.

The guide has more information about: 

  • What to ask your software vendor before you buy from them;
  • How to ensure the software will meet your current and future needs;
  • Evaluating whether the software will help you to comply with laws and regulations;
  • Ensuring the software benefits everyone in the business; and
  • Technology and technological terms, in plain language.

The guide looks at certain business requirements, like cash flow management and tax compliance, and explains how accounting software can address those needs.

It covers everything from accessing your business data and insights when you’re on the go, to what you can expect – and what support you might need – when implementing new software. Best of all, the advice is backed up by leading accountants and business coaches.

There are many good reasons for finding the right software, like:

  • Freeing up time to focus on your passion; and
  • Making it easier to run your business so that you can focus on the things that will help you grow.

Here’s an excerpt from the 10 things to look for in small business accounting software guide: 

  1. Are your data and insights available everywhere you are? 

Many of us are guilty of checking our email as soon as we wake up, thanks to mobile devices such as phones or tablets. Coupled with cloud technology that makes our data available anywhere we need it, mobile technology has massively expanded the way we access that personal data.

This same tech revolution has swept up businesses too. And why not? Why shouldn’t you be able to access your business data from a coffee shop, or on a train to see a client, thanks to the exact same mobile technology we use in our personal lives?

Whoever said the four walls of the office should be the only place where a business can exist? Who would even say you need an office to run a business nowadays?

Mobile phones, tablets and on any web browser – with the best cloud-enabled accounting software packages, your data is literally always at your fingertips. And don’t think you’re getting a cut-down experience.

With the best cloud accounting software, you can do the same tasks you’ve always done but in a fraction of the time, meaning you have more time to focus on growing your business.

Want to make a note of your expenses while on the road? No problem, just take a photo of a receipt and you’re done. You can even take care of your VAT return while grabbing a burger.

Yet it’s not just about the financial data, reports and dashboards being available anywhere. It’s about the data and insights you need being available at any time of the day.

Ok, so few of us want to be filing our year-ends just before nodding off to sleep, yet the ability to send an invoice or chase a payment while you’re on the train home, or in the dentist’s waiting room, means you save time and enhance your effectiveness.

This frees up time during the working day for you to be able to get on with the core tasks of your business – the very things that made you want to start your business in the first place.

Business startup coach, serial entrepreneur and author Caroline Baxter says: “Today’s fast-paced business environment means small business owners need access to information on the go – less time at the desk and more time getting accounting tasks done while on the move.

“With the ever-changing technology race, it is imperative for any business owner to use software that is user-friendly, easy to use on any device and portable – which is to say, in the cloud.”

Get your free guide: https://www.sage.com/en-gb/blog/smart-questions-accounting-software/

4 hacks to running a small business

The statistics of success for businesses are dismal. With 96% of small businesses failing within ten years, and between 70% and 80% of them going under within their first year, understanding why businesses fail is imperative. Contributing factors include lack of innovation, poor planning, and cash flow problems.

It’s not all doom and gloom, though. With the impact that digital tools are having on business owners’ productivity and the workplace in general, you have more access than ever before to the information, resources, and audience you need to join the ranks of the 20% to 30% of South African businesses that are thriving.

Here are four hurdles start-ups face and the hacks you need to overcome them.

  1. Getting customers

Challenge: It’s a safe assumption that, as the owner of a small business, you don’t have as much money to spend on marketing as a large company that’s competing for the same customers. Advertising methods such as radio and print are costly, and their effectiveness is hard to track.

Hack: Affordable advertising is more accessible than ever, thanks to platforms like Twitter and Facebook, and search engines like Google. Preventing overspend is simple because strict limits can be applied, and you’re able to target a specific audience based on their location, interests, and demographics – meaning you get more bang for your limited buck. What’s more, you can also track the effectiveness of your advertising, which enables you to optimise it. While social media is powerful, don’t neglect the importance of your offline connections. Networking is a great way of cultivating trusting relationships with people, which leads to referrals.

  1. Staying on top of paperwork

Challenge: Although you know that tracking your quotes, invoices, and payments on Excel is time-consuming, you might also be hesitant to invest in accounting software. Sure, you’ve heard good things – but you’re not familiar with the packages out there and aren’t prepared to spend money on one.

Hack: By researching your options, you’ll find that not all accounting software was created equally. Finding on-the-go software like Sage One Invoicing, which allows you to quote and invoice from your computer or mobile device, frees up your time to focus on what really matters: your customers. Whip up a professional, branded quote while you’re talking to a potential client, and send an invoice seamlessly once the job is done. You can also keep an eye on your business growth and easily track unpaid invoices. 

  1. Hiring people who fit your company culture

Challenge: When your company is ready to expand from more than one or two people, hiring the right team can take your business to the next level. Finding people who are cohesive with your culture is a must, which makes hunting for employees daunting in itself. Not only that, but they need to be willing to earn less than they might at a larger company.

Hack: Tap into your network by letting them know you’re on the hunt, and who you’re on the hunt for. People who know you and your business are more likely to recommend someone who is a good fit, and it saves you from having to publish an ad or spend money on a recruitment agency. While qualifications matter, attitude and determination are everything. Hire people who are passionate about being a part of the growth of the business. 

  1. Mastering the art of wearing multiple hats 

Challenge: As a small business owner, you’ll need to be prepared to take on roles you never anticipated. Whether it’s fixing a printer, figuring out how to work the new coffee machine, managing finances, or punting sales, the onus rests on you. While this will do the trick for a while, it’s only a matter of time before you need people who possess a very particular set of skills. But accountants, HR managers, marketing directors, and IT managers don’t come cheap.

Hack: Outsource to small agencies and freelancers who are familiar with your industry, and who have experience working with small businesses. Not only are they more affordable than full-time staff, but they’ll provide you with advice and a fresh perspective on things. Reducing your workload in this affordable way means you can spend more time on innovating and developing products.

Running a business is no small task. But by being smart with your time and resources, you can survive the first challenging year and make it to the exciting growth years.

How technology puts humanity back into HR

There are those who would have you believe that robots are a sure-fire way to put HR managers out of work. And while it can’t be denied that machine learning and artificial intelligence have lessened the load of repetitive HR duties, there are some things that humans can do that robots can’t – and may never.

Before we get into that, though, it’s worth looking at what the machines have done right. For the longest time, conversations about the role of tech in HR have focused on how mobile, social media, cloud, and analytics have improved productivity by:

  • Increasing job satisfaction and improving work-life balance by giving teams the means to be mobile;
  • Helping HR teams find candidates that are well-suited to the company through social media, as well as maintaining a level of engagement with current employees via the same channels;
  • Reducing admin, like leave and payroll, through automation and data analytics; and
  • Using cloud software to manage all of the above.

While mobile, social, and cloud have their benefits, they aren’t considered business differentiators anymore. This is because each and every business should be utilising these tools in their daily decision-making, and to give their teams the freedom to leave their desks. What truly sets a business apart is their data and analytics.

More data, more freedom

An HR manager’s job description can lead them to feel as though their responsibilities are never-ending. From managing internal systems (e.g. payroll, leave, and performance reviews and management), to social media and external sources, the evolution of HR can only begin once all of the above is consolidated into an integrated database. Rather than your HR manager drowning under the weight of unread CVs when hunting for the perfect fit for your company, use tools like LinkedIn Recruiter and ZipRecruiter to scan them as well as various professional networks.

Before resisting the role of tech in HR, see it for what it is: an opportunity to put the humanity back into Human Resources, by allowing your team to do what they do best: focus on human connections.

Cultivating happiness where it matters most

The next time you’re pouring energy into understanding your customers through data analytics, ask yourself if you’re spending the same (if not more) amount of time on understanding your staff. Because, according to McKinsey, a phenomenal customer experience goes hand-in-hand with a motivated and engaged workforce.

You’ll never get to the crux of what matters and motivates your team without real and regular human interaction. There are those who would choose flexible hours over financial reward, and others who thrive within the confines of 9-5. Whoever the individual truly is, and whatever makes them tick, it can only be discovered through asking.

The true value of HR is invariable. It lies in connection, understanding, motivation, and growth. By embracing the technology that lightens the load of admin your HR team faces, they can focus on doing the things a robot never could: finding the right team and nurturing the right company culture.

This, in itself, makes an investment in technology worth it.

Beyond box-ticking – Giving meaning to CSR

Let’s face it, corporate social responsibility (CSR) programmes are often implemented on an ad hoc basis. And while they may have positive effects, these are often short-lived. Companies feel that they have to do something to give back, so they host a once-off event that is more about marketing the business in a positive light than it is about actually making a difference.

But this is no longer good enough. CSR needs to be seen as a contributor to profitability. To get this right, social responsibility efforts should be treated like any other business strategy – with a solid plan that outlines your goal, measures progress, and changes as the needs of your key stakeholders change. This kind of CSR is sustainable and has a measurable impact on society.

Paradigm shift

 Here are our top tips for improving your approach to CSR:

  • Satisfy all stakeholders. Be it your beneficiaries, colleagues, partners, customers, or prospects, the success of your CSR efforts depend on their support. Take time to think about how everyone will be affected by the decisions you make and involve them in each stage of the process. It is essential that your CSR strategy aligns with your business values.
  • Leverage your expertise and skills. If you run an IT business and you’re setting up a digital library at an underprivellged school, it makes sense to use your IT expertise to ensure that the project is a success. Use what you already know to make an impact. The private sector can help alleviate social problems if each business contributes their expertise and knowledge to a different cause.

At Sage, we contribute by creating products that make admin easier so that business owners have more time to focus on running their organisations. By donating our accounting and payroll products to NPOs, like we did for the Thope Foundation, we help them to increase their efficiency and, as a result, their impact.

  • Find your purpose. Want your CSR initiative to have an impact? You have to ensure it is purpose-driven. Try to align your efforts to a global cause. For example, if you’re commited to educating underprivileged children, your work aligns nicely with the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals, which aim to achieve inclusive and quality education for all.
  • Create a formal strategy. CSR must be treated like any other business initiative. This means having objectives and deliverables, and ensuring that all outcomes are measurable. In line with this, it’s important to regularly sit down and assess the impact and progress you’re making. This will allow you to address any problems and to make changes where necessary.
  • Communicate. Communicate. CSR is about building strong relationships with your stakeholders because they’re the people who ultimately care about the results. Communicate regularly and transparently with the executive board members to showcase how your efforts are impacting profit and/or public perception. Speak to your beneficiaries to understand their challenges and come up with strategies to help. Clearly communicate your strategy to your team and make sure that they understand their role in the process.

If a business is really serious about being a part of social development and economic growth, it needs to prioritise and strategise its CSR contributions.

The best way to do this is by being interactive, proactive, and reactive. This means engaging all stakeholders, aligning projects with business strategy/stakeholder needs, and communicating successes, while being willing to make changes where necessary.