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Navigating the waters to business success

It is said that success is no accident, and for entrepreneurs who plot the right destination and navigate their “seas” strategically, victory is sealed.

One navigation instrument that successful companies should use, is focusing on delivering customer value at their core. When leaders focus on customer value as a core strategy, delivered across their products, services, operations and people, they ensure happy, satisfied customers.

Two entrepreneurs, Warren Bonheim and Frank Mullen, the founders of Zinia, an established IT company and Managed Services Provider (MSP), have for over a decade applied their business acumen to navigate the tough waters of the South African landscape.

From their early days in business with a small customer base to today where many mid-sized and corporate companies trust them, their focus on customer value creation, branding, and investment in technology for operational efficiency, contributed to their success.

Warren as the Managing Director of Zinia shares their learnings and provides insights for leaders to navigate the choppy waters of business to long-term success.

Focus on delivering customer value

From the outset we knew that the customer had to be at the heart of our business. How do we deliver value not just in terms of the product but the entire value chain of the business? It is important for businesses to enhance the intersection points between their customers and the business. How can they make it easier, faster, better when doing business with them?

When we started in 2009 we understood the pain points of companies, and tackling these issues became our priority, and ofcourse delivering our products and services seamlessly, simply, and quickly.

A customer value strategy can become one of your key differentiators in a cut-throat industry.

In our experience, an unwavering dedication to a value proposition that puts a customer’s positive experience with your brand above all else, is the key to success.

This approach set us apart when we are up against larger companies, giving us an edge and reinforcing why customers should do business with us.  Leading with the customer need and creating everything to support this is a great business strategy.

Branding and marketing should always be a priority

We always invest in building a brand to match our reputation in the market. In a highly competitive market, companies must find ways to stand out from the crowd; and great branding gives an edge.

In tough times, don’t pull back on marketing spend, in fact we went on the offensive, to inspire confidence in our brand; while competitors are defensively hiding in tough times, our brand is out there.

Your branding elements – corporate identity, marketing and sales collateral, website, digital presence – should all align with your purpose and becomes a key component of your success.

We focused on developing our visual brand to speak directly to our target customers to ensure we get the message across with a succinct value proposition.

When you connect deeply with what the customer needs and align your brand to that, the customer understands what you stand for and what you do.

Technology empowers business

The ability of leaders to select and implement technology to ensure operational excellence, as well as future proofing the business, is critical.

We invest heavily in technology and systems, not only to drive efficiencies but also to improve our performance and delivery to customers.

It is key for your business systems to be setup with simple dashboards for management to know where you are tracking on goals, and how your teams are delivering on customer expectations.

We use leading technology systems internally to manage the business as well as externally to deliver services to customers.

Automation has also allowed us to be more productive and effective when delivering IT services. Every business can take advantage of simple or more complex automation technology to make their delivery more streamlined and efficient.

It is important for leaders to stay on top of trends not just to operate more efficiently but also to drive growth, and use technology to transform how they do business, ensuring they remain competitive in a fast-changing landscape.

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Warren is the quintessential self-made entrepreneur with the drive and humour of Richard Branson and the wisdom of Jack Welch. Despite multiple challenges over the years, his resilience and passion for constant improvement has led him to become the impressive leader he is today.

At 40 years of age Warren is the MD of Zinia, a highly profitable multi-million rand business that continues to grow year-on-year since its inception in 2009. Zinia is focused on delivering the best IT, Internet and voice solutions for business with an unparalleled service experience - a positioning which has resonated with the market, fueling the company’s growth even during tough market conditions.

When he started Zinia at the age of 29, his experiences as a twenty-something entrepreneur had matured and shaped his business acumen. Zinia from the outset was run like a big business with tight controls, a strong management team, statistics to inform decision-making and a process methodology that revolves around simplicity and innovation.

With a strong leadership team in place, Warren enjoys the freedom he has to develop and execute growth strategies for Zinia, which is a role that matches his energy and drive 100%. With a passion for seeking “what’s next” and constantly improving, Warren is the perfect leader to drive the future of Zinia.