File picture: Alex Grimm

Many small businesses fail to reach their full potential for numerous reasons – and the struggle is only compounded by a tough South African economic climate that only grew by 0.8% in 2018, and is expected to increase by less than 1.3% this year. 

The combined result is that the majority of full-time entrepreneurs in South Africa are not yet earning revenue.

This is according to Gugu Mjadu, spokesperson for the 2019 Entrepreneur of the Year Competition sponsored by Sanlam and BUSINESS/PARTNERS, who points to a recent survey conducted by Seed Academy around the state of entrepreneurship in the country. 

“The study reveals that around 60% of entrepreneurs and business owners are full-time entrepreneurs who are not yet earning revenue. Added to this, only around 5% of businesses that are post-revenue, have a turnover that exceeds R5m per annum.”

Mjadu says that these facts support the harsh reality that South African entrepreneurs have to work much harder and smarter than ever before to ensure that their businesses take off and achieve real, sustainable growth over the long-term. She offers a few tried-and-trusted tips to help entrepreneurs kick-start revenue generation:

You can’t improve what you can’t measure

It is near impossible to turn a business around if you can’t measure the company’s success or failure. As an entrepreneur, Mjadu believes that you need clear financial and operational goals, and the tools in place to gauge the status of achieving these. 

“This can take the form of assessing the number of customer queries you receive; the number of complaints; the percentage of first-time customers that return; changes in operating costs; and the number or products or services sold. All of these are crucial to understanding the state of your business.

“You can track the success of your company by setting up key performance indicators (KPI) and in addition to determining how you will achieve these KPIs, deciding on the ways in which you will measure them. It is imperative to define your business goals and track your KPIs to see if your efforts are successful,” says Mjadu. 

PERSONAL FINANCE