Pre­pare your busi­ness for this year

CHECKLIST: IT’S THE PER­FECT TIME TO RE-EX­AM­INE COM­PET­I­TIVE­NESS

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To re­main com­pet­i­tive, keep track of any on­com­ing trends that may im­pact your in­dus­try.

Jeremy Lang Busi­ness Part­ners

Also trou­bleshoot and stream­line sys­tems and pro­cesses.

While re­cent sta­tis­tics re­gard­ing South Africa’s econ­omy may be dis­cour­ag­ing, many lo­cal busi­ness own­ers re­main op­ti­mistic.

This is re­flected by the 74% who say they are con­fi­dent their busi­ness will grow in the next 12 months de­spite the chal­lenges, ac­cord­ing to the lat­est 2019 Busi­ness Part­ners Lim­ited SME In­dex.

Jeremy Lang, re­gional gen­eral man­ager at Busi­ness Part­ners Lim­ited – one of Africa’s lead­ing busi­ness loan and equity providers and 2019 Gold win­ner: SME bank of the year (Africa), be­lieves now is the per­fect time for these busi­nesses to re-ex­am­ine their com­pet­i­tive­ness and pre­pare for the year ahead.

“There is al­ways space for in­no­va­tion in a busi­ness. Even as con­sumers tighten their purs­es­trings, a stead­fast busi­ness­minded in­di­vid­ual will al­ways see a gap in the mar­ket.

"In many ways a tough econ­omy can ac­tu­ally of­fer up some valu­able lessons, and busi­nesses might even find them­selves evolv­ing into some­thing bet­ter as they are forced to adapt to sur­vive.”

In prepa­ra­tion for 2020, Lang ad­vises busi­ness own­ers to re­flect on the past 12 months and take note of lessons learnt.

“An­a­lyse the num­bers and make a record of any trends to pin­point what worked and what didn’t. It’s also a good time to trou­bleshoot, re­solv­ing any re­cur­ring chal­lenges and look­ing at ways to bet­ter stream­line in­ter­nal sys­tems and pro­cesses.”

When set­ting new goals, Lang be­lieves it’s best to be spe­cific and get all the stake­hold­ers on board ahead of time. “For ex­am­ple, con­sider new ways to boost busi­ness sales – whether it’s brush­ing up on your dig­i­tal pres­ence, fo­cus­ing on re­fin­ing your data­base, or re­assess­ing rates and pric­ing. Ask your­self whether your busi­ness model is still com­pelling enough to com­pete in a tough econ­omy.”

The be­gin­ning of a year is also an op­por­tu­nity to check in with staff to gauge their level of en­thu­si­asm and well­be­ing. It is also a good time to as­sess where new ap­point­ments should be made.

Lang rec­om­mends us­ing the new year to touch base with present and po­ten­tial clients, sup­pli­ers or part­ners and to im­ple­ment a chal­leng­ing project for your team.

“While it might seem te­dious, don’t ne­glect the busi­ness ad­min­is­tra­tion,” he adds. “Make sure to give your busi­ness a clean slate for 2020 by get­ting all pa­per­work in or­der. Get ev­ery­thing or­gan­ised and easy to lo­cate.”

To re­main com­pet­i­tive, Lang re­minds busi­ness own­ers to keep track of any on­com­ing trends that may im­pact their in­dus­try. “Some things to watch out for in 2020 in­clude a more per­son­alised cus­tomer ex­pe­ri­ence; the rise of the re­mote worker and the gig econ­omy; voice searches through the likes of Siri and Alexa; an in­creas­ing need for bet­ter cy­ber se­cu­rity; and the fur­ther adop­tion of mo­bile money in Africa.”

Pic­ture: iS­tock

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