More than two thirds of South Africa’s small business owners see economic volatility as their biggest challenge, according to research from Xero.
The research, conducted in partnership with World Wide Worx (WWW), is based on a survey of 411 small business owners. It reveals that 68% of small business owners find volatility a challenge. It also found that 35% of the country’s entrepreneurs are kept awake at night by cashflow worries, while 23% worry about future sales.
Despite economic uncertainty, South Africa’s small business owners remain optimistic about the challenges ahead: 40% predict company growth over the coming year, while 45% expect their organisation to stay the same size.
The rate of technology adoption is also increasing: 49% of South Africa’s small business owners say that technology is essential to the running of their business, while 74% use mobile apps for business daily.
Other key findings from the research include:
- 89% of small business owners are confident in managing their companies’ finances.
- 92% of small business owners have not missed a tax deadline.
- 89% say the small business department has not helped their business.
- 48% want the government to provide more funding.
- 43% think the government should grant tax breaks for their business.
- In 2017, small business plan to invest in marketing (36%), equipment (28%) and product development (22%).
“Small business owners face turbulent times ahead, but this country’s entrepreneurs are nothing if not resilient,” says Darren Upson, EMEA Director Small Business, Xero. “In fact, 40% still expect to grow this year. It’s those businesses able to adapt to these challenging circumstances that will succeed regardless of economic volatility.”
Vusi Thembekwayo, CEO of MyGrowthFund and Iconoclast Knowledge Bureau, comments: “It’s been a difficult year for South Africa’s enterprise community, and I say that as a card-carrying member. As economic turmoil has intensified, the challenges facing businesses of all sizes have multiplied – with small businesses especially being affected. Technological nous, agility, and adaptability will be key to navigating the choppy waters of the next few years, and the country’s small businesses have them in droves.”
Upson believes the local small business community is determined to succeed and rise above the current economic climate.
“They have the necessary skills and ambition to do this,” he says. “It’s not altogether surprising that they’re not only looking to survive, but are actively pursuing growth.”