SME Business in 2017 – The opportunities lie with you!
by Kevin Vlietman – Transaction Capital Business Solutions.
During the last quarter of 2016, news and prospects for business all spelt disaster and yet – you have survived this far. In fact, most SME businesses have weathered the volatile economy, lowered consumer confidence, and depreciating rand and, of course, as a new year dawns – we have to, as businesses, look at the positive, find the opportunities and drive forth solutions that will help us continue this sustainable trend. Sure, the predicted market for 2017 doesn’t look all that exciting from a financial perspective and yes, it is going to be tough but, it is through tough times that good businesses flourish. Innovation is bred not in easy markets, but in tough conditions and so, for 2017 we believe SME business have the opportunity to grow and succeed.
In fact, in a recent survey undertaken by Facebook, approximately 140 000 SME businesses in South Africa, new and existing, have witnessed a 40% increase in engagement since September 2016.
So, while maintaining profitability is one of the biggest challenges faced by SMEs, business confidence is high with 73% of respondents positive about the future.
This is no surprise, as 2017 holds a number of high profile business discussions that will include key strategies around SME support for the years to come.
Take a look at two prominent platforms that will garner support, and very potentially increase opportunity, for the SME market in 2017:
- National Budget address – In 2016 we witnessed the minister promising to ease regulatory burdens, provide access to further funds to support the sector, provide an adjustment of the tax free portion, maintain VAT contributions, and minimise red tape. This year, we expect the same type of focus on the National Budget address – which takes place later this month. With an economy that grew very slightly last year, and given that SMEs are the largest contributors to GDP, there is no doubt that the same focus will be applied to SMEs this year – especially if we consider the need for further GDP growth.
- World Economic Forum on Africa – The World Economic Forum on Africa takes place in May and, if 2016 was anything to go by, we can expect some strong support from African leaders in business. In fact, this forum encourages the investment by global and continent-based market players into SME businesses. And we expect this to be much the same in 2017, given that SMEs generate about 80%1 of Africa’s employment. Not only does such investment and commitment to growing the SME sector create further opportunities but it also ensures a new middle class which essentially drives higher demand for business.
So, as you head swiftly into 2017 remember that there is always an opportunity, a new way of doing things and that, just because you’re smaller, doesn’t mean you can’t deliver what the ‘big’ players do!