JOHANNESBURG – Even with the hint of a recession, one needs to remain optimistic through these challenging times because we can clearly see there is a lot of investment going into businesses and into infrastructure. There is no reason to panic yet.
Cabinet's economic stimulus package that is set to be released shortly will hopefully give the economy a much-needed boost. It should also address current challenges in the mining, telecommunications, tourism and transport industries.
The large number of new major developments in and around most major centres is promising. A good example is the Sandton Gated precinct, a new R3 billion eco-friendly smart mini-city that will serve as a commercial and residential hub.
There is even a 10-storey, 128-unit apartment block going up in Hillbrow, an investment of some R40 million. It’s clear that there are many savvy developers who are investing in major inner-city developments, refurbishing buildings and establishing neighbourhood improvement districts.
This shows it is business as usual for local entrepreneurs, always finding ways to take advantage of the many opportunities that challenging economic conditions offer. By understanding the local economy and business environment, they know how to turn tough times into big wins.
Business leaders cannot control the economy but they can certainly position themselves to survive and even thrive in challenging times. Multinationals normally suffer most in difficult times whilst local businesses are more likely to survive and often flourish in tougher economic conditions.
However, local businesses must realise the easy days are over, they need to start doing what they say because in the Internet age, the truth is quickly revealed. They must realise that first customer contact has significant influence on customer acquisition and retention.
Ethical transparent brands have begun to gain favour with consumers and this trend will continue to gain traction and momentum. The greatest brands of the future will be the ethical brands that deliver on what they promise.
Advertising and marketing can no longer be designed to trick the consumer into buying something, but instead should tell them the truth about the offering and let them choose it. When this occurs, the brand has won a new customer and a brand ambassador at the same time.
The key to survive is to find ways for the business to save money. They can do this by investing in cloud-based IT services from reputable providers. Enterprise class business cloud services remove complexities, automate processes and simplify everything. This allows businesses to focus on their core service offering instead of their IT infrastructure.
The business telephone system is the perfect example, it’s the lifeblood of any business and it has a significant influence on customer acquisition and retention. Businesses need to choose and invest in a professional, all-inclusive telephony system that can provide a reliable and high-tech communication infrastructure.
Always consider proudly South African companies because they are more likely to be 100% committed to building a brighter future. They are in it for the long haul and will continue to innovate as they move forward.
John Woollam is Euphoria Telecom director.
The views expressed here are not necessarily those of Independent Media.