Here’s to a successful year ahead | Advice | Small Business Connect

Christoff Oosthuysen

For most business, 2014 is likely to be a difficult year.

However, it is clear from the comments on the front page of the January edition of Small Business Connect (which is now on the streets) that entrepreneurs are thinking ahead and are not easily deterred. It’s as if the difficulties are there to switch them on to find better ways of doing things. It is as if they are made for overcoming such challenges.

Small business – like most others – are burdened by rising expenses and decreasing client spend. But, as they say, it is when the going gets tough, the tough gets going.

To run a successful small business, you have to be tough, resilient, persistent, resourceful, innovative, diligent, meticulous and keep the bigger picture of the fast changing world in mind too!

As quoted on the front page of the January edition, business owner Adrian Skea will aim to work more efficiently within the confines of the challenges enforced on him. Neil Hart, on the other hand, plans to capitalise on government incentives that he believes could help grow his business. But, he notes that the support from incentives can only work if he makes good business decisions!

Your ideas as owner of your own business may include one of the above, or combine them into a powerful plan, but it would be foolish to look towards government incentives as the “silver bullet” that will rescue struggling small businesses from ruin. It is true that programmes such as the Black Business Supplier Development Programme showed big increases and is likely to continue to do so (it went from R96.6 million in 2012 to R451.2 million in 2013) and it is true that the Export Marketing and Investment Assistance scheme showed growth (it increased to R70 million). But the important point to note in Hart’s comment is that these incentives will come to nothing if they are not supported by good decisions by the business beneficiaries. This is why an initiative like Small Business Connect, along with all the other entrepreneurship programmes in South Africa, are so important. These initiatives offer business owners opportunities to learn about good decision-making and planning.

I trust that we’ll deliver on our mandate in 2014 and help in contributing to your success!

Christoff Oosthuysen
Publisher, Small Business Connect