Businesses are operating in an era of accelerated change. The South African landscape is now more expansive, competitive and complex than ever before. The businesses that survive today realise one important fact: they have to constantly evolve, adapt and find new ways to operate more efficiently.
If you are surpassing supply and demand and your business growth warrants expansion, realise that it is possible to compete on the global stage. It can be done with the right tools, mindset and drive. SynergERP CEO Ashley Regenass looks at how recent government changes will affect local businesses that are looking to expand this year.
Our political landscape favours growth
There’s a renewed sense of optimism in the air amid a new political landscape in South Africa after the election of President Cyril Ramaphosa. According to eNCA, economists believe his Cabinet reshuffle on February 26 will positively impact on South Africa’s economic confidence this year. Already the Rand is at its strongest since 2015, trading at R11.79 against the US Dollar and another credit-ratings downgrade seems unlikely.
Ashley Regenass elaborated on why businesses in South Africa have reason to be more optimistic. “I am positive about the change in government and the newly appointed president because it is clear that he is prepared to make tough decisions – which is what South Africa needs right now. We need to reverse the damage caused to the South African economy.”
Another important fact emerging from government is the role small businesses will play in job creation. “Entrepreneurs contribute the most to job creation because they need people to grow their business,” says Regenass. Lending support to start-ups and small businesses emerged as a key government focus area in the 2018 budget speech, which is good news for local entrepreneurs.
Regenass has this advice for businesses that want to expand in 2018: “It doesn’t matter what business you’re in, technology is key because it makes you efficient and competitive. Technology used to be a differentiator, it’s now a baseline. We have clients with a minimum number of employees who operate as a global business, thanks to the use of technology.”
Have a long-term vision and a plan to achieve it
Before you expand unnecessarily, make sure that it’s worth your while. It’s foolish to pour money into expansion if there is no viability for it. Before expanding overseas, find out if there is a niche for your product or service in that market. There is no room for assumptions here, you need to conduct an on-the-ground investigation. Make the tough decisions now rather than later. South Africa’s VAT increase and cabinet reshuffle are examples of tough decisions that will impact the long-term growth of our country – businesses need to have the same mindset. Growth is easier to accomplish when you aren’t trying to fix a mistake and start from scratch. Improvisation may yield the results you’re after, but it’s not worth the risk.
Build a framework of goals and plans to guide the business. Micromax Informatics (an Indian consumer electronics business) seemed unstoppable in 2010. Its co-founders had brave ambitions to turn the business into a global leader with a new CEO and senior leaders from blue-chip firms. But the company lost momentum in 2011. Everything looked fine from the outside, but on further investigation, it was found that Micromax Informatics lacked strategic planning. Market and employee information was not readily available, so this could not be used to inform sales, operations or talent management decisions quick enough.
Implement trustworthy systems as soon as possible
Finances are the lifeblood of any business. Not having an accurate representation of the health of the business is risky, especially if you are expanding your business operations. If there are no proper reporting systems in place, it can cause catastrophic consequences.
Upgrade your business with a sophisticated ERP system that will track live financial data across all business divisions and get the facts on the overall performance of the business or drill down through the data of each division and department. The integration of departments allows users to track inefficiencies like overstocking or gain valuable insights like seeing a rise in sales in a particular month each year. A good example of a scalable ERP system is Sage X3.
Our client, Trefoil, initially required Sage X3 to help improve their transactional admin, but when they opened a Cape Town office, adding this company to their ERP environment was simple, allowing the company to double the business three times in six months. So much potential has now been unlocked in the Cape Town business because all Trefoil processes can be applied from head office very quickly. Sage X3 lets you replicate the core business processes, you don’t need to go to Cape Town and design it from scratch. Having this system in place before expansion is a business asset.
Read our blog for more business tips and to gain further insight into how Sage X3 supports expansion.