An interview with BaseKit Sales Director – Ryan Jones
Since starting out in the comms industry almost 30 years ago I’ve worked for a wide range of business types, from large corporate entities to value-add resellers, to owning my own reseller business.
During that time, I’ve tussled with a significant and common challenge – the phobia which many micro business owners have of the digital world.
Maybe phobia is too strong a word but it’s certainly an opportunity frequently missed. It often stems from entrepreneurs being awesome at what they do, however not so great when it comes to keeping up with the pulse of modern sales and marketing techniques.
That’s also a matter of communication and perception, of a culture of willingness to be bold and think outside the box. What if there were potential for change here? How fantastic an opportunity would it be to change lives and remove this struggle?
Today, this issue is more relevant than ever. In the age of a fast growing digital economy, post-Covid, the opportunity exists for us to empower millions of micro businesses around the world to achieve success. What might that look like?
Imagine if we could reduce by 10 per cent the 70 per cent of small businesses which fail within a decade of being set up. Bearing in mind that there are an estimated 400 million small businesses worldwide, a 10% shift would positively impact over 40 million lives.
And for the larger corporate entities in this equation, given global on-line retail sales are projected to grow from $4.9 trillion today, to $7.9 trillion by 2025, this presents an opportunity to support micro business communities and provide the platforms and systems they need to facilitate growth.
What micro business owners want
Joining the team at BaseKit has empowered me to help millions of micro business owners around the globe rather than the comparative few I could facilitate through my own training consultancy.
During my time running my own business I engaged with thousands of micro business owners across the UK, Europe and the US – to better understand their major objectives and challenges. These fell into three common categories.
Time. Almost every business owner I ever spoke to wanted more time. There were never enough hours in the day, and most spent their time working in the business, not on the business. This restricted growth, meant long working days and an extremely poor work/life balance.
Control. For many, owning a business was supposed to give them control in life. No need to answer to anyone, working the hours they wanted, enjoying a fantastic work/life balance, and providing options for their future by way of selling the business or taking a back seat while others run the business for them. I would estimate I witnessed only 5% of the business owners I engaged with ever achieving this.
Financial security. Owning a business was perceived by many as a ticket to wealth, financial security, the ability to re-invest in their communities and support their loved ones. Ironic when the reality is most suffer from major cash flow challenges, desperate sales tactics and worrying how they will pay the bills at the end of each month. They weren’t living the dream, they were simply surviving each day after what was often a sleepless night.
So how to help?
It’s certainly true that lack of cash flow, ineffective management, inflexibility, poor location or bad business planning, alongside a lack of demand from the market, are the common factors which see businesses falling by the wayside.
Assuming that the need for the product or service is there, all of the other reasons for failure that I have mentioned above can be tackled by good tech. Even geography ceases to be an issue when the penny drops that modern business – even for the smallest company – can increasingly be done in a global marketplace.
That’s why products which address these issues are, we feel, vital to unlocking the potential of the global micro business tech democracy. These are web platforms, booking systems and e-commerce solutions which are simple, intuitive, seamless and efficient.
Most micro business owners are in a whirlwind of distraction and admin. Tech solutions which can help them will, therefore, all need to come from one place, removing the need to deal with multiple suppliers, costs, relationships, budgets and communications. That’s a huge time saving.
The issue over control is that most micro businesses owners think they can only sell to customers on their doorsteps, to the detriment of their potential national or international audience. Great systems open doors to a wider global footprint, empowering outside the box realities.
Cash flow. Digital tech can enable micro businesses to make money all day long, all year round, often with cash paid up front before products or services are exchanged. I recall the occasions in my consultancy when I woke up in the morning to be greeted by the news I had sold and been paid for my products, while I was asleep. What better way to start your day as a micro business owner? Contrast this back to the sleepless nights over unpaid invoices, and transition it into a reliable cash flow driving the control you desire and empowering success in life.
The benefits for resellers
In discussions with our partners, a big and common concern is how to improve customer loyalty among their small business customer base.
What better way to add immense value and drive customer loyalty than to support micro businesses and help them overcome the most significant challenges they face. Tech can categorically deliver time, control and financial security for the micro business owner.
Resellers need to connect with their audience on a deeper level – resonate with them on matters that are real and all consuming – that way they have the power to solve problems, change lives with many happy, loyal customers for life.
Working at BaseKit I see this mission as almost a moral duty – to help many millions of entrepreneurs to realise their potential, bring prosperity to their communities and, who knows, maybe establish the next generation of exciting future global brands.