SMEs can weather the storm of uncertainty

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Dennis Isaacs

Business is not as usual in our current economy and financial institutions should support Namibia’s Small and Medium Enterprise (SME) sector to weather the storm of uncertainty.
As part of their vital role to the economy, Namibia needs SMEs and we want them to emerge better, stronger and wiser on the other side.

Economic times are tough and like any other sectors SME’s are also feeling the pinch. Not only attaining the much-needed start-up capital is an ongoing challenge for small businesses, but also getting that foot in the door with an affordable loan that can help them grow their businesses further.

Although dealing with unfavourable environments like these can be part of the challenge, one needs to remain focussed and determined to know how to weather the storm.
One thing is certain, you cannot continue doing business the same way when times were good and business came easily. You have to do things differently to get different results and its advisable to make these decisions sooner rather than later.

Small businesses should look out for mechanisms and tools that they can use to grow into larger enterprises.

It is about making business leaner and more efficient in its operating model, while identifying your core business areas, see where you can get more value for your business through meaningful partnerships, networking and continuously strive on effective ways of doing business.

For instance, instead of focussing too heavily on the current challenges, look at the opportunities of growth and empowering yourself with financial knowledge and seek financial or business advice as this will empower you to make the right decisions during challenging times. By doing this self-reflection process it will in fact make you realise why you didn’t do business like this all along.

At the same time look for a virtual way of banking your business, as electronic transactability makes money easily transferrable and get in touch with doing business with your clients through self-service banking channels like Internet Banking, Mobile Banking, Smart Banking and getting an appropriate App for your tablet. The benefit of this way of banking is that online transactions are predominantly provide a secure and convenient enabling environment for your business to grow.

Grow your money faster with a business savings account, as interest earned on a such an account is higher than on a regular business current account. At the same time, you can also have immediate access to your funds when you need it while attracting monthly interest.

Look out for loans that can support your business in achieving long-term financial goals. Also ensure that your monthly instalments are aligned to your business cash flow and that your loan funds can be linked electronically to your business account, so you can transfer funds electronically from your current account.

In a nutshell, there are usually two reasons why businesses don’t succeed. Either they do the same thing or they only do new things. A successful business keeps a healthy balance of both sides by harvesting your crops and planting new seeds of opportunities.
In tough times take a look at which lines of business are most successful and those which are not. Seek a financial partner that understands your business, gives appropriate advice, connects you to the right opportunities, enables you to make and receive payments with ease and is always available and easily accessible.

The lifeblood of all entrepreneurial businesses is about thinking innovative and to weather the storm by adjusting your gear differently in order to get back on your feet again.
* Dennis Isaacs is Standard Bank’s head of enterprise banking.

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