Port Elizabeth, 14 November 2018: The results are in! Five of PE’s most-loved local businesses have been selected based on nominations from residents. These were formally announced today (14 November) by Santam, South Africa’s largest general insurer, at a Business Breakfast, which honoured local entrepreneurs.
The breakfast was focused on building the longevity of Small and Medium Enterprises (SME) in the Port Elizabeth area, as part of Global Entrepreneurship Week, which is celebrated across the world between November 12-18. Shehnaz Somers, Head: Commercial Underwriting at Santam said that Global Entrepreneurship Week was an important opportunity to shine a spotlight on creating an enabling environment to assist SMEs to thrive.
“Our goal is to help SME’s reach its 1001-days-in-operation milestone by assisting them to navigate what is widely seen as the toughest part of the journey for any new business – the first 1000 days. Part of this means fostering reciprocal relationships with communities. The more of a fan-base an entrepreneur can build, the better his or her chances of creating a business that lasts,” Ms Somers said.
“Once you’ve built up a customer fan-base, you don’t want to let them down! Make sure that you have things like business interruption cover in place, so if anything prevents you from normal operations, you can financially withstand the interruption and resume business as normal as quickly as possible. SMEs also need to make sure they’re bolstered by adequate insurance,” she added.
It is generally accepted that entrepreneurs play an integral role in boosting economic activity and are pivotal to the communities they operate in.
The five businesses will also receive certificates of commendation. The nomination process was conducted with Algoa FM, one of Port Elizabeth’s most popular commercial radio stations.
The five SME’s, based on residents’ nominations, are:
1. West End Pharmacy
Nominated by: Soraya Lee
“I can’t live without my pharmacist as I know I can count on him. The pharmacy also stocks medicine at affordable prices, which our local community can afford as the unemployment rate in our community is very high.”
2. Simon Clark Hairdressing
Nominated by: Delene Botha
“Simon goes beyond the extra mile, not only for his clients, but for the community as well. Every second Wednesday of the month you can trade 8kg dog or cat food for a Free haircut. they then donate all the food collected to the Animal Welfare Society! Every third Wednesday of the month you can trade 10kg of rice or flour for your haircut. They then donate the rice or flour to Adcockvale Old age Home via Rotary! He will give a free haircut to anybody that comes in to donate their ponytail to cancer.”
3. Glendore Sand & Stone
Nominated by: Sibusiso Luzuko Sobekwa
“Our school entrance would flood on rainy days and we could not access the school. Our toilets also flooded and could not be used. Glendore Sand & Stone fixed all of this and more – all free of charge. Lovemore Park Primary is so grateful to this company!”
4. Micropigmentation Clinic
Nominated by: Nadine Smith
“I was diagnosed with breast cancer at the age of 34. I had a mastectomy & reconstruction of my L Breast. I watched Suzanne do her thing on FB while recovering from Chemo. Suzanne specialises in Micropigmentation & Derma Medical work, focusing on Areola Reconstruction for cancer clients. She was the first person In PE to offer such services. I believe that God specifically placed people along my journey whom I refer to as Angels & Suzanne is one of them.”
5. Carbonology Sport
Nominated by: Kim van Rooyen
“It’s so awesome to see how Carbonology Sport promotes the growth of water sport in PE as well as globally… They have just designed and produced the very first S3 in the WORLD! A S3 is a surfski that 3 people will paddle… They are always looking for ways to make boats faster and lighter.”
Dr Paul Tai-Hing, lecturer at Nelson Mandela University and keynote speaker at the breakfast, said that the key to building love for your brand in your community is to be passionate about what you do.
“If you look at the nominations for PE most-loved local businesses, certain things stand out: the entrepreneurs behind these SMEs are all obsessed with what they do, they all offer something extra in terms of customer experience, they often benefit the community in a bigger way through CSI, and they’re frequently very active in the social media space. Remember, the amplification power of social media means one happy customer could turn into a hundred more,” he said.
Building brand love helps cement business longevity. Here are Dr Tai-Hing’s other tips for sustained SME success:
Go back to basics: The 2016/17 Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM) South Africa Report ranks SA 55th out of 62 economies, with just 38% of adults believing they have the skills to start a business. To turn this around, entrepreneurs need to go back to basics, especially in terms of financial management. In your early start-up phase, you really need to understand how every facet of your business works, particularly the finances. The better you understand money matters, the more you’re able to address cash flow conundrums and implement smart strategies to improve your overarching business model.
Get to grips with marketing: This is essential. There’s no point in doing one marketing activation every few months; it needs to be a sustained effort, using all the tools at your disposal like paid social media advertising and regular newsletters.
Embrace change and innovate: Products have a limited life cycle. Constantly reinvent your products and services based on market demand and feedback from your clients. Make sure you incorporate e-commerce options if appropriate – increasingly, people are shopping online.
Make it an experience: This is the biggest thing. People don’t just want to buy a product, they want a complete experience. That means going the extra mile in terms of customer service and taking care of seemingly small details like sending a birthday discount voucher, greeting a client by name or implementing an easy returns policy. You’re not rich if your customer visits once. Your returning customers are key. You need to convince people to become ambassadors for your business.
Stay positive and ‘fail forwards’: The 2017/18 global GEM report found Africa has the most positive perception of entrepreneurship. This is something we need to nurture. Resilience is a trait successful entrepreneurs share – it takes grit to accept failure. And more importantly, it takes real self-awareness and savvy to learn from mistakes and not make them again.
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