There comes a time when many entrepreneurs and small business owners have to be realistic and ask themselves if it is time to give up. One of the hardest things an entrepreneur or small business owner will ever have to do is close a business that they inspired.
“When you put your heart and soul into your work, it can be very hard to let go.” – Richard Branson
If you take a step back and take a good honest look at the health of your business, on analysis, you might not have to throw in the white towel. Rather, you realize that all you need is business facelift. In order to arrive at this place, it is important to ask the right questions.
Has your product/service changed – Is your product / service still relevant and filling the current market demands. Perhaps outdated because the market has changed and now it is time to evaluate which direction you want your business to follow.
Blank stares when giving your elevator speech – If you have tried to explain to people what your business is all about only to be greeted with blank confused expression in their faces. If your elevator speech is confusing, then it may be too complicated for customers and investors to support.
Failing to reach financial goals – With all your business plans, projected cash flows, goals, and anticipating problems; it is your financial projections that your creditors will follow most closely. If you notice you might miss your goals then you should make the right strategy changes.
Revenues start to decline – One of the easiest ways to know how you doing is to look at the financial health of the business. Take a look at your financial ratios and see if your revenue is declining.
Market competition is increasing – Competition is good for any market. One it tells that there is a market for your product or service, but it also keeps you on your toes to provide the best product or service available. It is always a good idea to perform a Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats analysis relative to your competitors.
Your website needs a facelift – Today websites are essential for any business. A well designed website will give your business creditability. Make sure that your website is mobile responsive/adaptive, not in Flash as phones can’t read, loads as fast as possible, always updated, with fresh web design, copyright dates, and easy to manage content.
Has the product market changed – Has the demographics of your market changed? Have the needs and wants of your customers changed? If your product or service is no longer relevant then it is time to take a step back and do some research and find out who your target audience is and how to reach them.
Is your production process efficient – Are you producing your product at the lowest possible cost and in the most effective way. Are there new technologies to lower your cost of production and make your production process more efficient.
Your business name is outdated – Make sure your business name expresses and reflect the products and services you offer.
You are not converting sales leads – If you see that you are not covering your leads, then it is time to do a little homework and analysis to understand why this is happening. It could be product price, sales team performance, product or service is outdated, or possible marketing failures.
Are you meeting goals and objectives on-time – If you notice that you keep on missing important goals and objectives, then you need to analyze the problem and come up with ways to get back on track. Even if it means changing the business plan.
Is your accounting system right for you – Ledgers and spreadsheets are a thing of the past. There are a number of Accounting software that can streamline your accounting system and save costs.
Entrepreneurship continues to be the most effective solutions to give a boost to job creation, Deputy Trade and Industry (dti) Minister Elizabeth Thabethe says.
Giving a presentation at a “Taking the dti to the people” outreach campaign in Douglas in the Northern Cape, Thabethe explained to small business owners that entrepreneurship can assist government achieve its target of creating five million jobs by 2020.
The campaign is designed to bolster government’s dedication to empowering rural and peri-urban communities to fast-track job creation.
She called on small business owners to register their businesses in an attempt to allow it to be simplier and easier for government to empower communities.
“Registering and formalising of businesses is the only route to obtain help from government and as much as registering of businesses is essential, I also need to stress that you need to safeguard against fraudsters masquerading as the dti agents. To be able to register your company you don’t need a middle man and it does not amount to the exorbitant fees that you are being charged by unscrupulous people posing as agents of the dti,” she said.
The department said it was enthusiastic to educate small business owners together with those aspiring to be entrepreneurs about business opportunities, products and responsibilities.
At the promotional event small business owners and entrepreneurs received training seminars on how to start, grow and sustain their businesses.
President Jacob Zuma revealed a range of campaigns to further improve job creation, along with the creation of a R9-billion job opportunities fund, when he declared that 2011 will be South Africa’s “year of job creation” as part of his State of the Nation address in Parliament.
“Our goal is crystal clear,” Zuma said in Cape Town last Thursday. “All of us are looking for a nation whereby millions more South Africans have decent employment opportunities, which includes a modern national infrastructure in addition to a vibrant economy, and additionally in which the quality of life is high.
“All of us have a responsibility and obligation to work hard in order to make this a reality.”
The campaigns Zuma mentioned made it easy to flesh out the government’s New Growth Path, made available the later part of last year, which is designed to create five million employment opportunities by 2020 in addition to bring South Africa’s unemployment rate right down to 15%.
The nation’s unemployment rate decreased marginally during the final quarter of 2010, from 25.3% in last year’s third quarter to 24%.
Six priority areas
In accordance with the New Growth Path, Zuma proclaimed six priority areas are going to be targeted in an attempt to generate significantly more jobs, including: infrastructure development, agriculture, mining and beneficiation, manufacturing, the “green” economy, and tourism.
He was quoted saying that the private sector would definitely be essential in the country’s endeavours to provide considerably more jobs and also that business, labour and communities would need to interact with each other to conquer unemployment.
The R9-billion jobs fund would finance new job-creation projects over a three-year period and additionally is going to be complemented as a result of an amount of R10-billion to be earmarked through the Industrial Development Corporation (IDC) over the upcoming five years intended for investment in projects that have high job-creation potential.
R20bn in regulations and tax breaks for manufacturing
Zuma at the same time declared R20-billion in tax allowances along with tax breaks to encourage investment opportunities, expansions and improvements in South Africa’s manufacturing sector.
The Department of Trade and Industry showcased the particular initiative late last year.
For a project to be able to be eligible, the minimum investment is required to be R200-million for brand new projects, and R30-million intended for expansion and upgrades, he explained. The programme will offer an allowance up to R900-million in tax-deductible allowances for first time investors and R550-million for upgrades and expansions.
Small business support
To further improve help and support to small businesses, the government is likely to have a look at combining three of their monetary funds that focused on small businesses – Khula, the SA Micro-Finance Apex Fund (Samaf), and the IDC’s small business funding activities – into a single unit.
This certainly will make it possible for the government to prevent duplication of financial support, reduce administrative costs in addition to bolster the readily available investment capital for small enterprises, Zuma pointed out.
He went ahead and added the fact that the government campaign to pay small businesses in a timely manner – within 30 days – was indeed proceeding well, adding that during the last financial year the SMME Hotline had received more than 20 000 telephone calls and additionally facilitated about R210-million in payments.
He at the same time added that several other departments had their own unique campaigns, such as the Department of Public Works’ Re Ya Patala (We Pay) initiative.
The government would definitely carry on with legislative reforms in order to make it simpler to register businesses, as well as improve the Competition Act to open the marketplace to new participants.
Zuma pointed out South Africa’s Expanded Public Works Programme intended to generate 4.5-million job opportunities, and remarked that over a million opportunities have already been created since the beginning of phase 2 of the programme.
The programme concentrates on repairing the country’s roads networks; additionally , the government would definitely furthermore develop national infrastructure to enhance the agricultural sector. Zuma mentioned water reservoirs, windmills and irrigation schemes are going to be rehabilitated.
“These types of projects will certainly boost food security as well as create work opportunities for many people, specifically women in rural areas,” he explained.
He pointed out the the conversion process associated with the country’s television and radio signals from an analogue platform to a digital signal would undoubtedly create many employment opportunities in manufacturing, packaging, distribution and installation.
Zuma pointed out the government’s job creation initiative would undoubtedly at the same time greatly enhance youth development.
“The National Youth Development agency is in discussion together with state organs and the private sector to mainstream youth development in public sector programmes as well as to boost youth enterprises and cooperatives,” he was quoted saying.
He explained the government had in addition established the National Rural Youth Service Corps programme to help and assist youth in rural areas. Up to now, in excess of 7 000 young individuals have already been employed in the programme.
The administration has also been taking a look at concentrating on the tourism market, where Zuma remarked that for every 16 tourists that visited the country, one job opportunity was created.
South Africa’s tourist arrivals happen to be up from 6.3-million in 2009 to 7.3-million during the past year.
The country would certainly develop already present market segments while exploring the up and coming economies, at the same time seeking to increase the quantity of international conferences and sports events the country hosts.
He said South Africa had presently secured 95 international meetings and conferences between 2010 and 2016.
The government would certainly at the same time take a look at flexible visa requirements, improved landing slots at foreign airports, combined with superior travel and leisure infrastructure.
Associated with tourism, the government will carry on to build up the cultural industries sector.
Social security reform
Zuma declared that while the government would certainly look for ways to enhance the standard of living of workers, as a result of reviewing the legislation relating to labour brokers, the government’s position paper on social security reform was likely to be unveiled this coming year for discussion.
“Concerns to be addressed range from the funding and nature of the National Social Security Fund, the way the private sector occupational and retirement funds will compliment the entire system, as well as the possible regulatory structure,” he explained.
He explained the government would definitely this coming year finalise and adopt its minerals beneficiation strategy to improve the overall economy.
The nation is abundant with mineral wealth, but the majority of of the mineral deposits mined happen to be subject to beneficiation beyond the borders of South Africa, robbing the country of business opportunities.
Zuma pointed out that ministers would have to detail their respective job targets when they tabled their budget vote speeches.
He said provincial and local governments have already been requested to align programmes together with the job creation imperative, and that state-owned entities and development finance institutions would certainly in addition bolster job-creation efforts.
Your BEE or Transformation Team Deserves a “Thank You!”
In most sectors, 2010 has been a tough year: the Soccer World Cup has come and gone, the effects of the global economic meltdown is still permeating our economy, the political landscape seems ever-changing, and the demands on our time and resources just continue to escalate …
In most industries, the BEE or Transformation Team has been hard at work this year formulating strategies, implementing initiatives, aligning multiple legislative requirements, gathering documentation, and doing their best to get your organisation as compliant as possible.
To strengthen their dynamics as a team, and build a formidable force for 2011, why not reward your BEE or Transformation Team with a unique experience to Constitutional Hill or Alexandra Township.
Constitutional Hill is the site of our Constitutional Court, the cornerstone of our new democracy, as well as the old prison that held both Madiba and Gandhi.
This environment acts as a palimpsest (a surface on which the original writing has been erased to make way for new writing, but upon which traces of the old writing remain visible). This juxtaposition of the past and the present can help us understand the possibilities of the future.
At Constitutional hill, walk through the old prison, go into the isolation cells in the women’s prison, spend time in Madiba’s cell, and go into the actual main court room, where our Constitutional court hearings are held.
Explore what race means in a society that strives to be non-racist, and place our history into context.
Experience first-hand one of the most vibrant, densely-populated places in South Africa!
Why did Alexandra Township survive during the forced removal policies of the National Party government, when District Six, Dukathole and Sophiatown did not? Alexandra’s journey from farmland to receiving a Scroll of Honour from the United Nations is a fascinating story of an unusual friendship, and the enduring spirit of a community to survive, against all odds.
Encounter the potential in people, by hearing the stories of small business owners who are making a tangible difference. These include small entrepreneurs who won the Standard Bank’s Entrepreneur awards for 2009, as well as an orphanage that does what it can to help those who are too small to help themselves.
Discover a part of Johannesburg you never knew existed, and which few people will experience!
Constitutional Hill – R 7 500 Excl VAT for in-house company groups up to 12 persons
Alexandra Township – R 9 500 Excl VAT for in-house company groups up to 12 persons
For groups larger than 12 persons, please enquire to Brian Hendrikz on 011 442 2433 or by e-mail on firstname.lastname@example.org
Do you want to experience these trips by yourself, or do you only have a few people in your team? No problem! Join an Immersion trip for only R 750 Excl VAT per person