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Sound business advice for SMMEs

Limited access to funding for Small, Medium and Micro Enterprises (SMMEs) is a definite barrier to the growth of a new or existing business. “Conventional banks tend to overlook this sector because of a perceived high risk of doing business with SMMEs. The lack of access to funding and access to markets is considered the biggest barrier to SMME growth,” explains Lynn Maggott, Interim Manager of the West Coast Business Development Centre (WCBDC).

The centre hosted a funding workshop on 24 October, which was attended by 33 entrepreneurs.

“This is indicative of the need for funding among many SMMEs,” Maggott pointed out. “Funding, in my view, is one of the many requirements to grow a business. However, there are several other requirements to grow a sustainable business.”

She shares the following tips with SMMEs to grow their businesses:

. Having an entrepreneurial mindset and being able to identify business opportunities is the most critical requirement. Being entrepreneurial means you’re always on the look out for new opportunities, thinking innovatively about doing things differently, and especially how your clients could gain value from your idea. . Another way to grow your business is to grow your networks and let people know about your business, making a point of attending networking events, inform at least three people about your business in one week, and then be able to convert those leads into business to grow your turnover.. Diversifying your customer base is critical to ensuring the risk of losing a single client is mitigated, being too dependent on a single client or on tenders is an impediment to business sustainability. . Being aware of who your competitors are and how your business can gain a competitive advantage.

Maggott further adds, to achieve success as a small business owner is extremely challenging, and one way is to develop strategies around how to build some of the above-mentioned items.

Firstly, think what could adversely grow your business, then design strategies around how you can mitigate against it, and keep those strategies in mind. Allow it to be part of your business to ensure that it doesn’t have a negative impact on your business. Be mindful of those mitigation strategies always, and spend one day of the week planning how to incorporate it into your business operations.

When one starts a business, the owner is generally the only person in the business and does everything, from being the salesman to the managing director and even being the cleaner. Often business owners are too focused on the business operations and tend to forget about the strategic issues that can either make or break your business. . The WCBDC will host a workshop on 20 November which will equip SMMEs with tools and strategies to assist it in developing an entrepreneurial mindset to facilitate business growth. To book your space, email reception@wcbdc.co.za at a cost of R120. The cost includes tea/coffee, training materials and a certificate.

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