Diversify your business...

and get more bang for your buck!

Remember the old saying, “Don’t put all your eggs in one basket”? For many small businesses, this is advice that should be taken quite seriously, especially in the digital age when customer sensibilities change more quickly than the latest kwaito stars.

If you’re a tavern owner, you’re probably quite comfortable doing what you’ve always done. You service a select local market and get by just fine. But what is it about you and your business that sets you apart from everyone else? Maybe you’re thinking of attracting more customers, or perhaps you’d even like to reach a different market. You know you want to generate extra income, but you want to do it without significantly increasing your overheads. We have some ideas for you.

Plug in: In this smartphone age, you need to offer free Wi-Fi to your patrons. An ADSL connection is not as expensive as it used to be, and your customers are without a doubt accustomed to plugging into free Wi-Fi hotspots wherever they go. Make sure you have an uncapped contract though, so that you don’t get unexpected data charges at the end of the month.

Don’t put all your eggs in one basket. Here’s how to get with the times and diversify your business offerings.

Go prepaid: As an added convenience for your patrons, sell prepaid airtime – and even prepaid electricity – on your premises. Through People’s Prepaid (www.peoplesprepaid.co.za), you can install a dedicated prepaid device in your tavern that allows your customers to purchase their airtime requirements easily and conveniently.

Give them the royal treatment: Why not offer an added service to your patrons, such as a car-wash? If they can go to the mall and drop their car off for a wash, why not give them the same incentive to spend some time in your tavern, while outside their car is getting the royal treatment? With little overhead spend required to initiate this idea, you can give it a trial run on one day per week for a few weeks, and take it from there. Who knows? It might become so popular that you end up offering this service every day.

Pantry basics: Let’s say you get a lot of folks popping into your tavern on their way home from work. What will give them the incentive to stay for one more beer, if not two more? If you’re offering basic pantry necessities at your premises – such as bread and milk, for example – your customers won’t need to make another stop on their way home to buy their daily essentials, and will more than likely order another round.

Go arty: The tourist trade is growing at speed. Besides offering international visitors a ‘shebeen experience’, give them something to take home with them – local arts and crafts. If you take products on consignment from local crafters, this won’t cost you a cent, but will earn you commission. Hang the art on the walls, with visible prices.

There are many ways to diversify your business – from offering convenient services on the premises to shaking up your experience with ladies’ nights or even monthly wine tastings. Smart business owners place a high value on diversification. All it takes is a little bit of creative thinking on your part.