45% of SA’s small businesses expect cash flow challenge in the next few months - survey
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DURBAN - Facebook has published the Global State of Small Business Report which highlights the challenges small businesses are facing during the Covid-19 pandemic as well as understands their ongoing challenges and areas for further support.
Compiled in partnership with the World Bank and the OECD, it surveyed over 30,000 small business owners and employees from around the world in over 50 countries.
In South Africa, the survey reveals that despite the challenges, SMBs are telling us they’re optimistic, but that there is a long-term jobs crisis on our hands.
Over 44 percent of operational SMBs on Facebook feel optimistic about the future of their business, with 42 percent of female led SMBs on Facebook (and 66 percent of male led SMBs) currently operational or engaging in revenue led activities. However, among operational South African small businesses (SMBs) on Facebook, 45 percent expect cash flow to be a challenge in the next few months, whilst the same amount having had to reduce the number of employees/workers as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic. Of those that are operational, 67 percent reported that their sales this year were lower than last year.
Digital continues to play a key part in the economic recovery of these businesses, with 59 percent of operational SMBs on Facebook reporting 25 percent or more of their sales were made digitally in the past month.
“Small businesses are the heart of our communities, but we know they are facing the challenge of a lifetime. These survey results further highlight what we are already seeing, that the Covid-19 pandemic isn’t just a public health emergency, but also an economic crisis that is hitting SMBs exceptionally hard, and one that collectively as a community we need to urgently address.” said Nunu Ntshingila, Regional Director, Facebook Africa.
The global survey also highlights that globally the tourism and hospitality sector worldwide has borne the brunt of Covid-19 Smaller businesses, those owned and operated by one person, have seen these closures at a greater rate than others, with globally 26 percent of SMBs reported that they had closed between January and May 2020 - over 50 percent in some countries.
Ntshingila added: “Globally more than 160 million businesses use Facebook, Instagram, Messenger, or WhatsApp every month to reach their customers, sell their products or services and ultimately to grow. They are the heartbeat of Facebook’s community and since the early days of the pandemic we have taken steps to help them weather the storm.
Here are some tools that Facebook and Facebook owned apps like WhatsApp and Instagram:
Gift Cards - The new gift card feature for South African businesses available on Facebook and Instagram to allows people to support local businesses in their communities. Instagram also launched Food Orders, making it easier for businesses to get support from their customers through food orders on Instagram.
Facebook Shops - Facebook launched shops to make it easy for businesses to set up a single online store for customers to access on both Facebook and Instagram.
Business Resource Hub - created the hub to support business affected indirectly or directly by the pandemic. It's where SMBs can get training, advice, and information – including from healthcare experts.
Businesses can also make use of the WhatsApp Business App, which is free to download, built with the small business owner in mind. The app enables businesses to create a catalog to showcase their products and services. Connect with their customers easily by using tools to automate, sort and quickly respond to messages.
Facebook also offers SMB training programmes including:
It is an opportunity for learning and skills development for entrepreneurs, including small businesses, job seekers, and other community leaders, allowing them to find the resources and training they need to thrive in the digital economy.
The Boost with Facebook website for South Africans has been developed to help businesses, job-seekers, developers and community leaders find the local and online training they need to develop their businesses and networks.
Last year, Facebook launched the #SheMeansBusiness Program in South Africa, a programme that provides support to thousands of female business owners in South Africa and Nigeria.
The programme was launched in partnership with UN Women and a local public-benefit organization, Siyafunda Community Technology Centers. Facebook trained over 6,500 female entrepreneurs, start-ups and SMBs in all the nine provinces, hosting over 150 training sessions.
BUSINESS REPORT ONLINE