This month we are excited to announce the findings from our first SME Index survey; we feature two inspiring women entrepreneurs, Annelene van Wyk and Lorraine Chitate, in our success stories; we discuss the launch of Business Mechanics™; and our property managers offer some advice on whether you should rent or buy your business premise.
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SME Business Bang
August 2012   |   Volume 4.5

News: New index launched to measure SME confidence levels

2nd Quarter results reveal SMEs bullish on business prospects

The inaugural quarterly Business Partners Limited SME Index (BPLSI), which aims to measure attitudes and confidence levels amongst the Small and Medium Enterprises (SME) industry in South Africa on various issues, revealed that business owners are surprisingly bullish around the growth prospects for their businesses over the next 12 months.

The 2012 Quarter 2 BPLSI revealed that the more than 350 business owners surveyed displayed a 72% average confidence level that their business will grow over the next year.

According to Nazeem Martin, Managing Director of Business Partners Limited, although this significant level of confidence may come as a bit of a surprise, given the current state of the world economy, it gives us an indication of the resilience of SMEs that have survived the past four years. “SMEs which have survived thus far, through arguably the longest period of economic turmoil, have proven their resilience. It would appear that those that have survived have positioned their businesses to negotiate, and even thrive, amidst tough trading conditions.”

Success story:
Graduating from a life of learning

Most business owners have to build their enterprises from scratch. The same goes for Anelene van Wyk, except that her 14-room guest-house business in Springbok in the Northern Cape is merely the culmination of an entire life built out of nothing.

At the age of 17, she was orphaned when her mother died in a fire that gutted the family home in Nababeep. Her father had died when she was six. She had no choice but to leave school with only a Standard 7 (Grade 9), and started working as a shelf packer in the local Metro Cash & Carry.

Success story:
Riding the business roller coaster

Lorraine Chitate couldn’t have asked for a better start of her Zamani Lodge in Polokwane. She opened the doors of her six-room guest house at the time of the watershed ANC conference held in the city in November 2007, and the guests came streaming in.

It was an exhilarating time which confirmed her firm belief in the future success of her business. All the estimates pointed to a huge market opportunity: Polokwane, the economic hub of Limpopo, needed about 20 000 beds for temporary accommodation to house business ...

News: Innovative online platform launched to aid SA’s vital SME sector

In an effort to boost entrepreneurship and reduce the small business failure rate in South Africa, Business Partners Limited, a specialist risk finance company for formal small and medium enterprises (SMEs), launched Business Mechanics™, a free online resource portal designed to provide vital business support to local entrepreneurs and SME owners.

According to Gerrie van Biljon, Executive Director at Business Partners Limited, one of the major challenges facing South African entrepreneurs is a lack of access to SME information, resources and support, and this issue is currently having a negative effect on the development and growth of this sector.

He says that according to the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor, South Africa’s Total Entrepreneurial Activity (TEA) rate is still far below average when compared to similar economies around the world, and while this remains a matter of grave concern for South Africa, there is hope for the industry, if the correct resources and support can be supplied.

Property advice: Buying vs renting

Many small businesses are successfully started and run from home. But as the business grows, or if you intend to open a shop, then you will have to look at commercial property. And that opens up an interesting debate - do you rent, or do you buy?

There are distinct pros and cons to each, depending on what kind of business you will be running. So the first thing to do is look at your business plan and try to ascertain what kind of commercial property will be perfect for you.

If you are opening a shop you will obviously need somewhere with planning permission for retail and good access for customers. But do you need a lot of space to show off your wares, or a basic retail booth?
Got a burning business question? Ask the experts at Business Mechanics.
Poll results Do you think the economy will recover in the next
6 months?
  • There's no way: 41%
  • Maybe: 32%
  • Definitely: 27%
View previous polls on Business Mechanics™
Enter the on-a-budget marketing tips competition on Business Mechanics.
SME Index
Winner of the Montblanc pen announced.

Business Partners Limited successfully launched its SME Index and we want to take this opportunity to thank everybody who participated in the survey.

We will be doing another survey by the end of 2012 and we hope to receive more valuable input from all of you. We are only able to change the SME landscape through dialogue with clients, role players and government and our aim is to regularly access the challenges and the opportunities for entrepreneurs through this initiative.

Congratulations to Gugu Mnguni from Dowhile Creative Media Solutions. You are the winner of the Mont Blanc pen to the value of R3,000.
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