GrowMe to host workshop on getting businesses exhibition-ready

With exhibition season around the corner, GrowMe, a catalyst for change in Middle East & Africa’s business world, today announced that it is hosting a workshop for small and medium businesses to help them prepare for the exhibition season. The four-hour workshop, entitled “Exhibition Ready aims to equip small businesses, especially start-ups with the right strategy to make the most of their participation.

Maria Pearson, co-Founder of GrowMe, said, “Most businesses are so focused on what they are doing at work that they lose opportunities that come their way at exhibition by not preparing themselves well enough to make the most of their participation.”

According to Pearson, while most will have an idea of why they are at a particular exhibition (like the tech businesses at Gitex Future Stars). “Most will not have a strategy and plan in place to prepare for, manage and follow up on their presence,” she added.

The workshop, primarily aimed at start-ups is scheduled for Wednesday, 12 September 2018, in the afternoon at In5 Tech. It will take the attendees through the planning, tools and tricks to ensure they get the ROI from their participation including help with creating the look, feel and follow up to convert the audience to leads and customers.

The workshop will:

  • Set goals for exhibition outcomes
  • Design key messages for target segments
  • Identified lead generation capture & follow up strategies
  • Created a to do and next steps checklist

For details on the event and to register, visit the event page.

When Digital Goes Wrong

Our co-founder, Maria Pearson, wrote a small piece for Small Enterprise. If you are still in the process of creating or fine-tuning your digital strategy, take a bit of time to read this here or go to the Small Enterprise website.

For small businesses and start-ups, in particular, the digital world is a boon: agile, affordable, and easily managed if set up correctly. Surprisingly (or not), there are still a lot of organisations (and people) with a small digital footprint. Depending on your point of view, that could be a good thing. But whether you like it or not, you need to have a digital strategy if you want to survive in this century and beyond. But, learning from the recent Sondos (a swift search on the Internet will throw up background) crisis that hit the region, this needs to be carefully planned and agile in its implementation.

Planning a Strategy
First, this strategy needs to encompass all your operations (internal and external), across various departments. This plan must include assessing risks and its likely repercussions as well as a communications and crisis plan in place for unforeseen consequences including affiliation with brands and influencers. A clear process has to be set in place with clear allocation of responsibilities and tasks.

Look at your processes and have checks and balances in place, with input from all the stakeholders including the more conservative ones. Its fine to be gung-ho about going digital and embracing new technology, but make sure it’s the right one for your business and not just because it’s a fad. Put simply – to do the right things the right way for the right reasons try and avoid accidental (unforeseen) mistakes like putting outdated information on the web site or not doing enough search.

Security and privacy is now very much in the forefront when it comes to data and personal information. While this is crucial to an effective digital strategy to deliver the right level of service to your customers and your ecosystem, make sure that there are safeguards in place to flag potential for errors and mistakes, and prevent these from going further.

If for some reason, things escalate, have a clear communications strategy in place. In this digital age, it doesn’t help to have a “head in the sand” approach. Take control of the message, don’t hide. Be transparent but share solutions so that your ecosystem is aware and your stakeholders know they can trust you to take care of THEIR best interests not just yours.

People and Soft Skills
Whatever your strategy, you need to build your team to manage and execute not just your strategy but to help you create the operational and capability of managing all of its facets. They need to have the skills to keep the customer engaged: personal attitude to attend to the customer without playing the blame game, and the thinking style to look forward and anticipate the possible impact of issues.

Whatever the digital strategy – it needs to be backed up by the right level of human skills to help you manage when mistakes occur.

Thank you Small Enterprise for the support and look forward to more collaborations.

Alpha test – #TiEDubai

Winning in the market place takes a lot more than having a product.  Come test your skills and decision making – can you be Alpha in the market?

We were in the news

Thanks to Entrepreneur Middle East  … they published one of our thought pieces.

If you need to kick start your business, then start with looking at the fundamentals. Here is the extract from the article:

Sustainability is not a buzzword. You need to feed it with balanced values for your business to survive. In an article in Entrepreneur in early 2017, Patrick Henry pointed out the high failure rate (75%) and “Why Some Startups Succeed (and Why Most Fail).”

So, if you (as a business) are floundering, the chances are that you are not addressing relevant customer needs with your products and services, which can result in the potential loss of business to competitors, and missing opportunities for revenue growth. Quite often, in playing the competitive game, you also end up eroding margins, and losing the balance between value created and value captured.

So, what should you consider? How do you add value?

1. Evaluate your ecosystem  When we talk about a business ecosystem, it includes everyone in your team from your suppliers to your customers. At every stage, you need to understand not just what you want but what each of them wants and balance it against a sustainable business model. This process starts with validating what your customers need, the market fit for your product/service, how you are packaging and pricing them. It’s always a good idea to work collaboratively with your ecosystem, rather than dictate your requirements.

2. Evaluate your business model Whether you are a small business or still at a startup stage, take another look at your business model. Begin by identifying your competition or, if you think you are unique, who could be perceived as your competition by your customers. Once you identify them, compare your USPs against them and measure the effectiveness of your marketing. Take the time to evaluate your sales processes, capabilities and execution, and validate your pricing and commercial terms.

3. Evaluate your cost of sales and general cost of doing business Once you have evaluated your business model, you then need to assess your operational processes and identify areas for improvement and cost reduction. This means you need to focus on real costs of doing business. Identify the value proposition for your customers, your suppliers, your team and yourself. Furthermore, you need to look at your products and services and identify areas for improvements. Evaluate your relationships with your suppliers and discuss with them the strategy that helps you both. These negotiations need not be just about cost but could be about payment terms, about long-term associations and partnerships, especially if your business strategy relies on these suppliers. Is it a benefit you can pass on to your customer? It could help in cases when you need to have a conversation with your customers.

4. Value proposition The final piece of the value game are the people on your team. A turnover (or a reduced team) could result in a drop in the quality of your product or service and affect the sustainability of your business. Your team is the voice and face of your company and if you face a staff turnover, then perhaps you need to evaluate your value proposition for them. Explore the reasons behind people leaving or not performing. Identify areas of unfair treatment, imbalance in payments and incentives, or perhaps it could be as simple as a lack of resources and leadership- are your people getting what they need to be successful in their jobs?

The bottom line is that it is always about the value proposition. Not just yours, but of your complete business ecosystem.

Read the article on Entrepreneur Middle East:

We will be speaking at WOMENSME in Oct

WOMENSME conference will not only unite the most powerful ladies of the region but will showcase their great achievements. A film about Women who lives in UAE and do their work with Love will be shown.

According to the Kaufmann Foundation, a US$2 billion private US non-profit focusing on education and entrepreneurship, women are only a third as likely to get access to equity financing through angel investments or venture capital.

The International Finance Corporation estimates that leaves a financing gap for women-owned SMEs in developing countries of $285bn.

You want to do something good for economy? Invest in WomenSME.

Gone are the days when MENA women worked only at education institutes, hospitals and government institutions. MENA women of today have assumed prominent roles as decision-makers, bankers, journalists, judges, lawyers, media figures and scientific researchers. In fact, the number of women holding ministerial-level positions and other roles in public life has increased significantly in the last decade.

Within MENA, women from the UAE seem to have achieved the most. Nearly one-fourth of the 100 most powerful Arab women listed by Arabian Business consisted of Emiratis. They were followed by women from Kuwait, Lebanon and Saudi Arabia.

Women in the UAE and elsewhere around the region are an unshakeable economic force, with assets worth $385 billion (Dh1.4 trillion) managed by female-led small and medium enterprises.