South African small businesses are under pressure. Our State of South African Small Business report reveals that 68% of small business owners believe economic volatility is their biggest challenge and 62% experienced a drop in consumer demand this year.
Despite their misgivings – and the country’s political maelstrom and lack of market confidence – small business owners remain positive. So much so that an impressive 40% expect to grow their business this year. To facilitate this growth without overextending themselves, small businesses are planning to invest in these five areas this year.
A hefty 36% of the respondents identified marketing as the main area they plan to invest in. This is interesting, rather than sitting tight, small businesses are actively trying to grow their customer base as consumer demand declines.
Access to the latest equipment and technology plays a crucial part in business growth and 23% of South Africa’s small businesses agree. If your competitors are all upgrading their equipment but you’re not, you’re very likely to fall behind. The right investment in this area can improve operational efficiency and help boost profits despite difficult economic conditions.
To stay on top of their game, 22% of small businesses plan to invest in product development. Consumers are fickle, their needs and desires frequently change. While some products are timeless, most need to be constantly upgraded and improved to stay relevant and keep people interested.
Given current market pressures and competition, business efficiency and productivity are key. The right technologies can help automate administrative tasks, for example, freeing up employees to focus on other business critical work like customer service. Which is why 18% of small businesses are going to focus their investment plans on this area of their businesses.
A further 18% of respondents intend to make customer service an investment priority. No matter how good the product, if customers don’t receive responsive and helpful service, they’ll go elsewhere. Business growth depends on positive customer engagement!
In order to understand where best to invest, if you’re a small business owner you need to have a full view of your company’s finances. Which aspects of the business have historically provided the best return on investment? How much cash do you have available? If you’re making an investment into marketing or product development, do you know exactly how and where you need to spend?
Online accounting software can provide real-time insights into the state of your business finances as well as analytics on previous periods. You can access a comprehensive financial overview, as and when you need it, from any device no matter where you are. With up-to-the minute information at the tip of your fingers, you can make much smarter and faster investment decisions. The right technology will inform your investment plans – and keep your business on solid ground.