What a great year it could be for SMEs if they take the opportunities available! SMEs are the backbone of our country, and the R2.1 billion that has been allocated towards the funding of small businesses in the 2018 budget speech is testimony to this. Economic downgrades, VAT increases and general uncertainty about the future can, however, cast a shadow over the positive outlook this investment predicts. Four opportunities will make a difference!
It’s not all doom and gloom though; we have put together 4 opportunities that small businesses may like to look into this year:
- Give your business airtime. Creating awareness around your business is a key part of your success journey.
People need to know about your product or service, and by writing about it, on the right platforms, you are getting your message out there. By having a relevant Facebook page, writing blogs or sending newsletters on how to use your services, having an Instagram account with images of your products or even posting videos, you are creating the necessary awareness around your business offering and bagging the interest of potential consumers.
- Mobilise mobile and get onto Google’s search results page.
Customers could be searching on-the-move for a “handyman in Sandton”, and if you are one of the results that come up first, you can only benefit. Make sure that your website is able to be used by customers on mobile devices. By mobilising mobile, you are able to deliver your brand directly and fulfil their exact needs and also the Search Engine Optimization cannot be underestimated in the world of constant Googling. Pick up a book or head over to an online how-to-guide on SEO and make sure your site is primed for performance on search engines.
- Become ‘artificially intelligent’.
Artificial intelligence (AI) is when computer systems are able to perform tasks normally requiring human intelligence – it basically combines human planning and resourcefulness with improved processes. Some companies use telematics data to manage vehicles and fleets in order to help them manage risks and improve drivers’ behaviour on the road. AI doesn’t need to be expensive or time consuming to set up though – have a look at setting up a message to answer enquiries on your Facebook page while you’re not online.
- Have the necessary support in place.
Effective working capital forms the foundation of any business and having enough capital remains the number one challenge for SMEs. It is wise to calculate, monthly, how much capital you have at your disposal and how long it will last if your income wanes. Over and above protecting cash-flow, there are other key risks that business owners need to be covered for. As a boutique owner for example, you need to cover the goods you transport as well as the building or shop they will be sold in. Business insurance helps to protect the lender as well as the business owner should loss occur to the insured item.
Ahead of a new chapter, it is up to SMEs to drive opportunity, position your business effectively for success, and take the necessary steps to protecting it. Having business insurance is a step in the right direction and a trend that will not get old.