Why you should evaluate the packaging of your value proposition

In a commoditised world it is becoming more challenging to differentiate your product or service from your competition, as technological advances make it possible to replicate a product or service in a relative short period of time.

Paying close attention to the packaging of your value proposition may contribute towards increased sales, because it has the following benefits: 

Brand and Product/Service Recognition
  • A unique colour, picture, or use of font in your text or slogan will enable your clients to recognise your brand above that of your competition.
  • Product-related information on the packaging provides useful information to clients, e.g.
    • User directions
    • Ingredients (for example – is the product biodegradable/healthy?)
    • Manufacturer’s address
    • Manufacturer’s contact details
    • ISO standard
    • Barcode – for easy stock-keeping and pricing.
Creating a brand that is trusted by clients
  • If they see your packaging, they know what they can expect:
    • A quality product or service
    • Satisfaction guarantee
    • An innovative/cutting-edge solution
    • Good value for money
    • Excellent service and after sales care
    • Knowledgeable staff.
Protection of products
  • If sufficiently isolated, it will limit damage to products to ensure that clients purchase a fully intact and undamaged product.
  • Prevents contamination
  • Keeps perishable goods fresh (A sell-by date is of paramount importance as part of the packaging.).
Product comparison
  • If your packaging is easily recognised by clients, it will help them to “find” your product, as they might already trust your business/brand.
  • Optimal packaging makes it easier to transport or store a physical product (think of cool drink crates – it protects the bottle and makes it easier to carry and store).
Your silent marketer
  • Good packaging can be an asset and may be used as an extension to increase the promotion and marketing reach of your marketing elements – i.e. clients will recognise your product when advertised.

“Nobody counts the number of ads you run; they just remember the impression you make.” – Bill Bernbach was an American advertising creative director.

It might just be worth the effort to reconsider the current packaging of your products to help vest a lasting positive association between your clients and your products/brand/business.

To support business owners with the important task of business planning, Sanlam gives you free access to the book Your Annual Business Game Plan for Success, which provides an easy and straightforward framework needed to draft a well-crafted game plan that will create the positive change and growth necessary for business success.

Go to www.sanlamgameplan.co.za to download your free copy.

Where is my business heading?

As business owners we are often so busy working in the business that we fail to work on the business. We are chasing the next transaction, dealing with a dissatisfied client, negotiating terms with a provider, or having problems trying to balance the cash flow.

Over the years I have learnt that one should put aside enough time to consider the business’ current results and where it is heading.

Benjamin Franklin was one of the founding fathers of the United States. Franklin, a renowned polymath and also a leading author, printer, political theorist, politician, postmaster, scientist, inventor, civic activist, statesman and diplomat once said that, if you “fail to plan, you plan to fail”.

In the modern idiom – we need the GPS coordinates to indicate the direction of future action.

There are three elements that need attention:

1. The Vision of my business – one productive method I use to help with this, is to ask:

“Within the next five years (the name of your business) will ………………………………… (articulate what you wish to achieve).”

Here is an example of a vision using these principles: “Within the next five years ABC Solar will be the leading provider of eco-friendly energy solutions for households in South Africa.”

Remember to measure your ‘new’ vision against the existing one.

The Mission of my business – a mission should answer the following questions:

  • Who are we?
  • What do we do?
  • How do we do it?
  • Whom do we do it for?
  • Does the mission fit in with the vision of my business?

Here is an example that links up with the ‘vision’ example above: “At ABC Solar we install eco-friendly energy solutions that keep track with the individually assessed energy requirements of our residential clients and that meet the generally accepted ISO standards.”

3. The goals of my business – For me, goals are the building blocks of success.

It may sound complicated, but it is simple to formulate goals if you apply the SMART principles:

  • Specific – right to the point
  • Measurable – nothing audacious
  • Appropriate – needs to “speak” to the specific role
  • Result or process goal – a “result-related” goal points to an end goal and a “process” goal to a continuous event – see the examples below
  • Time framed – has an end date by which the achievement should be reached
  • Start with a verb – action orientated

Examples of goals:

  • Realise a profit of R2,5 million by 28/02/2016 (result goal)
  • Develop 2 new product lines by 31/12/2016 (result goal)
  • Establish a new distribution channel by 30/09/2016 (result goal)
  • Identify 1 new way of marketing and selling my value proposition every month (process goal)
  • Do a monthly client service evaluation (process goal)
  • Identify 2 new clients by 31/10/2015 (result goal)

Note: Ensure that goals are created for all business areas.

I can’t change the direction of the wind, but I can adjust my sails to always reach my destination. (Jimmy Dean – USA businessman)

To support business owners with the important task of business planning, Sanlam gives you free access to the book Your Annual Business Game Plan for Success, which provides an easy and straightforward framework needed to draft a well-crafted game plan that will create the positive change and growth necessary for business success. Go to www.sanlam.co.za/gameplan to download your free copy.

Article written by Jannie Rossouw, Head: Sanlam Business Market

Leading player in SA’s animal health industry named as Innovator of the Year®


Having noticed a gap in the local market to offer innovative services to clients who required customised health options for their animals, Lorimer Gowar, founder of Larrem (Pty) Ltd, a leading player in South Africa’s Animal Health industry, has been named Innovator of the Year® in the 2014 Sanlam / Business Partners Entrepreneur of the Year® competition, which was held in Johannesburg on Wednesday, 3 September 2014.

Established in 1999, Larrem (Pty) Ltd specialises in the manufacturing of veterinary nutriceuticals, pharmaceuticals, feed additives and supplements, as well as raw material commodity sourcing. Its mission is to implement quality, niche products required to enhance health, production and efficiency in animals, as well as to guarantee product safety to its customers, their livestock, consumers and the environment.

According to Kobus Engelbrecht, a member of the 2014 Sanlam / Business Partners Entrepreneur of the Year® judging panel, Larrem’s ability to create new, profitable products to solve the problems of his customers contributed towards the business being recognised as Innovator of the Year®.

“Gowar has the ability to innovate his product offering to solve the needs of his clients in such a way that he has been able to profit from them. His ability to get to the core of the problem and to apply his knowledge and skill to solve the problem stands out. His innovations also have a positive social impact.”

He adds that Larrem is one of a few veterinary manufacturing companies in South Africa with an innovative Food and Health Management System and the only one with ISO 22000 accreditation.

Gowar, who has extensive experience in the South African farming arena, says that innovation goes hand-in-hand with market research. He believes that the secret to being a successful entrepreneur is the ability to change according to industry needs, and that this is one of the strongest attributes of Larrem, and what has led to the business’ success.

He explains that through its unique structure, the business has the advantage of continuously evolving its product lines to suit the needs of the industry and its clients – something that many corporate companies are not able to do. “To stay on top of market trends, genetic modification and climate change, I am equipped to develop and manufacture products in a relatively short turn-around time. My innovative range of products illustrates this aspect comprehensively – Larrem is known for its adaptability to change,” says Gowar.

All products developed and manufactured by Larrem aim to increase an animal’s genetic potential and the company has also recently expanded its product offering to include natural (Ayurvedic) medication as an alternative to antibiotics and chemicals. Following the popularity of its products, Larrem now also distributes its products throughout Africa, including countries such as Angola, Botswana, Mozambique, Namibia and Zimbabwe.

Gowar says that this award recognises the many years of dedicated work to all the processes and standards that Larrem has strived to achieve and present to its customers over the years. “It is also recognition for all the years of hard work to get to this stage. The experts in the different industries, from whom I have been learning for many years, will be delighted that their hours of patience in mentoring and aiding in all facets of my company’s divisions, has paid off.”

He adds that to be a part of such a prestigious award competition is the ultimate reward and motivation to his hard-working, dedicated staff. “With such a prestigious award, Larrem and its staff can grow taller, together,” concludes Gowar.

Visit www.larrem.co.za for more information on Larrem (Pty) Ltd.

One step at a time

EOY winner the embodiment of real entrepreneurship


Martin Beyers is no Richard Branson; he does not instantly draw you into his world with a wealth of charisma.

Neither is he a Steve Jobs; intent on taking over the world one iPod at a time.

He also does not remind you of Lakshmi Mittal; the creator of a global empire.

Yet, Beyers beat hundreds of South African business owners to win the 2010 Sanlam / Business Partners Entrepreneur of the Year ®.

The reason for his success in the competition – and in business – is clear within minutes of meeting the man: he is the embodiment of real entrepreneurship.

Vision, creativity, innovation, careful planning, passion and hard work are the best adjectives to use.


Beyers studied ceramic technology and worked as a production manager and product developer for a large multinational.

He explains that in the ceramic industry, volumes and standardised products are the name of the game.

“My passion lies in product development and I realised that my interests were not aligned with that of a big firm.”

Because the industry is so specialised, most players know each other and partner Dave Kelly approached Beyers in 2000. Kelly operated as a ceramic reseller but saw the potential a production line offered.

Today, CERadvance is completely focussed on providing its client base with specialised ceramic solutions.

The Jet Park based business is a niche player in a market filled with large conglomerates and Beyers intimately understands the operation’s place in the food chain.


Beyers says that the ceramics industry largely focuses on the hardness aspect of their products to add value. But, ceramic is also a material that is extremely heat and corrosion resistant.

“It was only logical to focus on these elements. If you focus on solutions that are commonly available, you need to be volumes driven. This means that it is difficult to focus on niche products where you need to have a lot of interaction with the client. You only have one chance to prove yourself.

“There is space for both approaches in the market but they are extremely different.”

CERadvance acts as a technological partner to its clients where specific solutions are developed using ceramic technology. While this approach might take some time, the eventual solutions offer the client significant cost savings and improved efficiencies in the long run.

Beyers explains that the less often you have to replace a component through wear and tear, the less downtime you have in a production facility. It is this practical cost saving that allows the business to be a niche player in a standardised, volume-driven market.

“You need to understand your product and what it can do. Then, you need to able to look at specific applications. I was lucky in having clients who were hungry for better solutions and who essentially challenged us to come up with products.”

The proof is always in the pudding and CERadvance has managed to double its turnover in the last year to about R15 million.

Beyers explains that the business has grown exponentially in the last number of years as the recession has forced its clients to improve efficiencies.


For a small, niche player it always difficult to compete against large competitors. Beyers says that from day one, he attempted to provide CERadvance with a professional image that would instil confidence amongst clients.

This included ISO 9001:2000 certification, lecturing at local universities, being visible at seminars and expos and joining industry associations.

He explains that it was extremely important to let the market know that the business was not a fly by night and that their solutions were practical and offered direct value.

“No amount of marketing can beat offering value,” he says with a smile.

CERadvance finds itself in a Catch 22 situation when it comes to product development and capacity. Beyers explains that if a contract is secured, the business needs to be able to deliver immediately. But, this means investing in machinery and infrastructure when the contracts are not yet on the books.

“If you don’t take the risk you will never win. But there is a whole lot of educated guesses behind the decisions.”

This strategy has paid off over the years through continual reinvestment and at the moment, CERadvance’s factory is rapidly becoming too small for its 25 staff members and their production lines.

Hard work

Beyers’ solutions are unique to each client and he explains that you cannot implement a specific solution developed for one scenario in another.

This, to him, would be a dangerous move because he will be unable to completely guarantee the results his clients have come to expect.

But, this reality also means that there are a number of products being developed at any given time. The lead times range from a few weeks to a number of years.

“Some of our products have been in a constant state of development and improvement for six years. The secret is to have a number of products in the pipeline.”

Beyers expects that some products might become standardised as the business moves into a new era but he is quick to add that philosophy has always been “one client, one solution”.

He seems to take the pressure that comes with this business approach quite easily and the secret lies in the enjoyment received through successful product development.


“Creativity is close to everything I do. I think that if an artist does something (remarkable), it is called creativity and if an engineer does something (remarkable) it is called innovation. To me, it is the same thing.

“You don’t have to write a business plan that says: “we will innovate”. It comes to light through the daily operational processes; by finding solutions to problems as they arise…

“There are two parts to innovation. The first is to come up with an idea and the second is to pitch this idea in a way that it defends and sells itself.

“I think there is a shortage of people in South Africa who are able to successfully commercialise their ideas.”

Beyers has learnt to constantly revaluate himself and the business and this was one of the reasons for entering the Sanlam / Business Partners Entrepreneur of the Year ® competition.

He explains that the process allowed people outside of his daily reality – the judges – to enter the operation, identify shortcomings and successes and help him to improve.

“Winning acknowledges that there is a legitimacy to the business, that it adds value and that it is worthwhile. Entrepreneurs want to know that they are on the right path.

“You constantly have to revaluate yourself to ensure that you are on the right path because the small business reality constantly changes.”