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The looting of and damage to businesses in areas of Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal last month must feel like another nail in the coffin for many entrepreneurs and small business owners.
Rebuilding a business and starting from scratch is not easy, and it’s especially challenging during times of uncertainty and change. But there are ways that SMEs can find their feet and rebuild their businesses to be more relevant and resilient, particularly when they find community support.
In 1898 Henry Ford founded the Detroit Motor Company, which turned out to be a technical and commercial flop and was dissolved by January 1901. He persisted in refining his product, and by December that same year he had established what would go on to become the Ford Motor Company. By 1927, Ford had built more than 15-million vehicles. Last year the company sold more than 4.2-million vehicles alone.
Thomas Edison — the inventor of the light bulb (among other innovations) — was one of Ford’s contemporaries and one of his initial backers. Edison also had his fair share of setbacks, but his dogged persistence allowed him to rebound on numerous occasions. Edison eventually filed more than 400 patents during his lifetime.
Deenash Pillay, enterprise direct propositions head at Standard Bank, says: “Small business owners and entrepreneurs are constantly faced with the prospect of failure, and it’s why they need to invest time in developing business plans that accommodate almost all eventualities. The Covid-19 pandemic, however, is one of those occurrences that few could have predicted, and the effects have been debilitating for many.”
Despite the devastation in July, the resilient South African spirit of ubuntu cannot be dampened. The camaraderie within affected areas of Gauteng and KZN, where communities have come together to help rebuild, is remarkable.
“Now is the time when SA’s entrepreneurs need all the support they can find to get back on their feet — particularly when they play such a vital role in answering the country’s unemployment crisis,” says Pillay.
Rebuilding is therefore not only possible, but essential.
It's time to assess what Covid-19 has changed temporarily, what has been altered permanently, and what it takes to rebuild capabilities and relationships with customers and collaborators.
Join business growth expert Pavlo Phitidis and a panel of turnaround experts in the third episode of the four-part Standard Bank SME Summit online series, presented in partnership with Business Day. They’ll take you through real-life scenarios for developing a new view on potential leverage points, how those have an impact on strategy, organisation and operations, and how to yield positive outcomes with each step of the rebuilding process.
Date: August 18
By supporting entrepreneurs and small business owners with business banking products like the MyMoBiz account, and the SimplyBlu platform for taking businesses online, Standard Bank is providing the necessary platform for SMEs to manage their money with ease, while focusing on the changes they need to implement to rebuild their businesses.
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