In his maiden State of the Nation speech, the recently-appointed president of our country Cyril Ramaphosa, said the following with regards to the development of small businesses (SMBs):
“Ultimately, the growth of our economy will be sustained by small businesses, as is the case in many countries. It is our shared responsibility to grow this vital sector of the economy. We will work with our social partners to build a small business support ecosystem that assists, nourishes and promotes entrepreneurs. We will continue to invest in small business incubation. We encourage businesses to do the same.”
I could not have said it better; small businesses are an important part of our economy because they allow for the creation of jobs, which are absolutely essential as our unemployment rate has been very high in recent years.
Big businesses at the moment are either downsizing, halting recruitment and in some instances even closing shop altogether, which highlights the urgent need for business to receive proper support in order for our economy to grow. So, apart from the private sector, SMBs present a wealth of economic opportunities.
Success in potentia
We receive, on a daily basis, requests from customers wanting to register with Tarsus in order to become dealers; these vary from one-man shows to quite sizeable companies. They all have the potential to be successful if they have the right network of contacts. Most of them are already listed as suppliers on the Government tenders and have opportunities to win tenders based on their diversity, flexibility and requirements from the various departments.
We cannot ignore the role that technology plays in the development of small businesses (because funding alone cannot grow a business); therefore, the right infrastructure amongst others factors, is equally important.
The right stuff
What would it mean for small businesses to have the right technology?
Well take, for instance, the rate at which marketing has developed. Gone are the days where printed publications are the main source of advertising; in today’s world of digital marketing and better-informed audiences, small business could reach more potential customers if they had the right tools – internet-connected tablets, smartphones, or laptops, for example.
These devices serve a dual purpose as they can also be used to enable mobile offices. Imagine the cost of owning an office as a small business; mobile offices eliminate the stress of balancing expenses when it comes to keeping the lights on.
Online is Essential
Speaking of expenses, there are numerous online applications available for small businesses to keep track of their financial performance.
It’s a business chain reaction if you ask me.
A practical example of the importance of technology and the supporting infrastructure in our business is our online portal – the Tarsus Distribution Portal. It allows customers to purchase from our warehouse 24/7 from anywhere in the country, and we have a healthy number of customers from the SMB market who make use of our portal. What this has enabled them to do is be more efficient when purchasing and delivering goods for their end users.
Where to from here?
So where to from here?
Private companies and government need to engage SMB/SMME’s in order to upskill them for big business opportunities. At the centre of this engagement needs to be technology, because it plays such a vital role in the rapid growth of these businesses.
If the funding (which would enable small businesses to purchase the right technology infrastructure) is made available through the “small business fund” to these entities then it will enable them to grow and develop.
Eve Duron is the Sales Manager: SMB/SMME Reseller for Tarsus Distribution.