SMEs have the potential to fire up economic growth in South Africa, but at the moment they are struggling with financially stressed consumers and rising operating costs.
This is according to Bridgit Evans, Director of the SAB Foundation – an independent trust focused on promoting entrepreneurship in South Africa.
“It’s been a tough year with the current economic climate causing consumers to keep a tight hold on their purse strings. This has a negative impact on small, medium and micro-sized enterprises (SMEs), the very sector that could throw us all a lifeline.
Luckily, the South African public can help set local entrepreneurs on stronger footing,” says Evans.
Evans urges South Africans to make supporting small businesses their top resolution for the coming year and lays out a few tips for those who want to lend a hand:
Shop small – Instead of heading to your nearest supermarket, shopping mall or restaurant chain, try something new. Explore local markets and independent stores, restaurants or coffee houses. Small businesses offer unique character and charm which is often missing in larger chains. They are also more dependent on your individual contribution, which is expressed in better customer service.
Spread the word – Whether it’s the corner food truck with the mouth-watering burritos, the mechanic who can be relied upon for a fair quote and a speedy turnaround, or the hairdresser who makes you feel at home and look fantastic – we all know a great little place where we love to go. When this is the case, make sure you spread the word.
Sharing is caring – Social media is a simple and extremely effective mechanism for endorsing a business and recommending it to your network. Be sure to follow your favourite small businesses and like or share their posts. If you’re at your favourite artisanal coffee shop, upload a picture and be sure to tag the venue as well as using hashtags to increase their searchability.
Pay timeously – Small businesses often have limited cash reserves and are reliant on a regular, predictable income to pay their operational costs. These businesses have a tendency to overextend themselves in order to service valuable new clients. Failure to pay invoices on time could result in them being unable to pay staff salaries, utility bills, rent and other essential costs.