How communication can help grow your small business

By Editorial team 

If you log on to the Biz4Afrika online platform, you will see a pop-up for a brand new, downloadable eBooklet: Getting started with PR & Communications.

Microsoft 4Afrika together with communication experts recently put this online toolkit together, to assist African startups on a small budget with their communications strategies.

We spoke to Annette Mutuku, Communications Lead at Microsoft 4Afrika, to get her insights on exactly why and how you should use this toolkit to grow your business in 2016.

Q: Why is Public Relations (PR) and communications so vital for small to medium enterprises (SMEs)?

A: Communication is an important element of your business strategy, the same as your go-to-market or sales strategy. While many entrepreneurs in Africa and other emerging markets have great solutions, they often don’t know how to communicate their story to their target audience. Those that do often lack the budget and human resources to implement an effective communications strategy.

An effective communications strategy helps you to develop and share your story, build an expert voice in the industry and attract customers, or even potential investors. And it can be done cost effectively. When we put this toolkit together, we spoke to entrepreneurs across Africa to find out exactly what their communication needs and challenges are, and what format they would best like the toolkit in. This informed the creation of the toolkit, to help SMEs on a budget think about incorporating PR into their businesses at its early stages.

Q: Are there any success stories of SMEs successfully implementing PR?
A: A good example of how PR can impact on your business is ClinicCommunicator, founded by access. mobile CEO, Kaakpema Yelpaala. The startup has taken a targeted approach to PR, telling their story consistently across multiple platforms such as events, social media, and traditional media positioning themselves as a thought leader in health technology. In one of the cases, as part of a health conference, Kaakpema participated in a radio discussion about how leapfrog innovations in health technology in Africa can be relevant to the USA. Following the discussion, they published the story online resulting to more enquires about their solution. As Kaakpema’ s business continues to expand, they have realised the vital role strategic communication plays, leading to increased awareness, business opportunities and partnerships.

Q: How will this toolkit help my business grow?
A: This toolkit will help you, as an entrepreneur, to question why your business exist, craft a powerful story and strategy to share that story with your internal and external audiences across multiple platforms until it becomes part of your organisation’s DNA. As your business grows, your PR function can grow and adapt as you scale your business accordingly.

Communication (PR) continues to evolve from traditional media to the online and digital space, and from being a mere support function, to becoming a core business focus area. This transition brings many opportunities for SMEs to reach their target audience beyond just media, to customers, partners and investors, in a timely and more interactive manner. This will help them to grow, diversify, and improve their profits.

To learn more about how PR can help grow business and to download the toolkit, click here.
Look out for our Marketing Toolkit soon!

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