Started in 2012, ATE is a charity organisation with the goal to reduce, if not to eradicate, poverty in Lawra. A number of programs were strategically put in place in order to tackle this old and well known issue. Among the programs is the one we call BizATE which took off in November 2012 with just a few people among the lots when Sarah Gardner who is now the CEO, saw how badly off people are in Lawra and decided to do something about it. Praise to her! I joined far later. ATE has journeyed a bit in years today. Now we have lots of people who are sustainably making ends meet because a bold step was taken.
Hermas Welding and Fabrication business is one recent one that would leave you thankfully elated. We pronounced it a successful business after 12 months of intensive mentoring coupled with close monitoring.
Let’s get straight to the point – Hermas made profit ranging between Gh₵200.00 and Gh₵500.00 a month before we started with him. There were key areas that were considered and these without doubt are the driving forces of a successful business. Follow keenly as I keep you up to speed:
Increasing Customer Base
A business with a constant number of customers is assured of failure in the shortest possible future in our today’s competitive business world. In other words, a successful business has an increasing customer base. This is a tough one in our competitive world but quiet simple if the appropriate things are honoured better than your competitors. Hermas is such a star in this with his aggressive advertisements using social media and others, customer motivation and satisfaction. He very much aware and understand the common phrase, “The Customer Is The King”. You better listen to your customers. You never know who your customers know. There are examples of successes from this awareness that would inspire you. But one key thing Hermas achieved and is still achieving today is how he uses his existing customers to attract new ones. Satisfied customers multiply. Your customer is the best tool for your business growth. But many businesses, not just his competitors do not know this and so consumers would not recommend a business which does not know this to each other. Hermas knew exactly this and did not leave it to chance.
In our today’s competitive business world, doing the same thing year after year without any sort of dynamism would eventually leave you unattractive to customers. A better word would be ‘obsolete’, like an old product. Hermas was good at dealing with his customers with regards to their new ‘tastes’. He pays attention to the demands of his customers and also in search of developing new products. He is able to fabricate to the satisfaction of his customers. This is the advantage: many welders in Lawra are only able to do the work they have learnt to do from their masters.
Apart from accommodating the new tastes of his customers, in order for Hermas to boost his monthly profits, he amazingly created another sources of income within his business and this shot his profit up at once. If you are a literate business person you would quickly recall what this is. But if you are a serious business owner, you would do this without knowing the name. Hermas might not know the name but he sure knew what he did: that this would bring improvement to his profit every month.
Now talking about profits, it is time for me to pick up what I left at the beginning. Wherever you are, whatever you do and whatever means you use as a business person, the end is to make profit and be satisfied with your business and with your life. I am aware of the successes of a business which are not profit related such as a lifted team spirit which Hermas really knew how to do in his little welding shop with his apprentices. As for his profit, putting it photographically would best carry out my point;
The above demonstrates so well how Hermas is doing now profit-wise. This is the period we mentored him. 12 months. He was barely making some few cedis a month. That is about ₵200 to ₵500 as mentioned earlier. The graph is a prove that Hermas could be better than that. Today he is doing better. The trend line speaks of how his business is doing. A constantly growing business. Today his business profit limit is no longer the ₵500 but more than four times this amount.
That is how Hermas did it: customer focussed and innovativeness. You can call it knowledge and passion. This is just a tip of the iceberg of what ATE is doing. ATE (Action Through Enterprise) has done much and is still doing more. You might only have to look forward for more of these incredible works.
By Rexford Benon, ATE Administration and M&E Leader, and Gombile and Biro Hub Manager