Failure by SMME's to adapt to changing business environment will result in imminent death

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Small, Medium and Micro-sized Enterprises (SMMEs) are earmarked as the future of the economy, representing about 40% of all business in South Africa.

The National Development Plan estimates that by 2030, 90% of all new jobs will be seated within SMMEs. However, despite being the driving force behind the economy, this sector is continuously facing challenges to reach its full potential. 

In last week’s budget speech, Finance Minister Tito Mboweni allocated R481.6 million to the Small Enterprise Development Agency (SEDA) to expand the small business incubation programme. This is another positive step for stimulating entrepreneurship in the country and increasing chances of survival for SMMEs. Another R3,2 billion were also allocated for the small business and innovation fund to assist entrepreneurs.

However, serial entrepreneur, Arnoux Maré, believes business owners cannot only rely on government to create a conducive environment; entrepreneurs should contribute to creating their own entrepreneurial ecosystem that will allow them not only to survive but to thrive.

“For any organisation to guarantee its longevity it needs to satisfy various criteria, the crucial one being an organisation’s ability to adapt to the continuously changing business landscape. Failing to do so will result in the imminent death of the said company,” Maré says.

Maré is the CEO of Innovative Solutions Group TM, a Pretoria-based company with strong roots in the outsourcing industry. The company has grown to over R1-billion per annum turn over within less than 8 years and employs more than 12,500 permanent staff. Maré has a number of crucial tips for businesses owners to ensure success.

The fourth industrial revolution is here.

The advancement of technology and public access to it has led to an increase in innovations. Businesses need to leverage these technologies if they wish to remain relevant. A study by Twinword found that collectively, 30% of the world’s population spends 35 billion hours a month online or the equivalent of 3,9 million years. Any entity that is not utilising social and digital media to interact with its customers- current and prospective, is missing out on a huge chunk of business. Online consumers share with you in real-time their sentiments about your products and if your company is not there, it will lose their client base to the competition, who are on social media.

 

Employ a holistic view.

As a business owner you need to pay attention to trends, but not only of those in your industry. Employers need to be aware of what legislation is being drafted and how these laws will impact their businesses. They need to be aware of technological advancement made by their suppliers. What universities are teaching their graduates.  Having an understanding of what is trending can allow your organisation to position itself well ahead of the curve and instead of being overwhelmed by the changes, can take advantage and grow.

 

Skill upskill and reskill.

In today’s forever changing business landscape, skills go beyond simply having an understanding and ability to deliver on your mandate. According to a survey conducted by the National Association of Colleges and Employers, effective employees possess a multitude of skills which allows them to be transmuted from one department to another without needing extra training. Profitable organisations require both employees and employers to be flexible and well versed in more than one thing. If you studied IT ten years ago, most of the cutting-edge advancements you learnt have become either outdated or a staple by now. Skills can and do become obsolete.  Always keep yourself well informed.   The more you know how to do and the more current your skills and your ability to apply them effectively, the more valuable you are as an organisation.

 

Maintain an entrepreneurial mindset.

Business leaders should always think about how they can better their service offerings, even when the business is at the top of its game. Entrepreneurs are entrepreneurs because they discovered or created a service that no one else was offering. Organisations need to continuously innovate if they wish to remain relevant. Employers must find ways of streamlining the business so resources dedicated to fostering innovation, growth and efficiency are readily available. Being enthusiastic about change and embracing it with novelty will yield better results than trying to avoid change.

 

Outsource non-core business.

Outsourcing the non-core aspects of the business allows employers to focus on creating strategies which will grow the business. A company whose business is not in the IT space should not be burdened with managing IT related queries or trying to anticipate what the next wave in the IT space is. Organisations with a focus on their core mandate are not only well suited to react to change but can be proactive, leveraging on new technologies and driving innovation in their relative industry.  

 

If businesses shy away from change or are ill-prepared for it, they will sooner or later face extinction. For businesses to thrive they have to be flexible, adaptive, well-versed in digital and social media. Businesses must be willing to innovate and learn to embrace uncertainty. Today’s harsh business landscape requires entrepreneurs to be agile and free of any unnecessary administrative burdens, allowing them to proactively steer their organisation towards relevance and profitability, Maré concludes.

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