As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to put pressure on Small, Medium, and Micro-Enterprises in South Africa, six in ten business owners say they are proactively planning for and anticipating growth in the next year. This is according to the Mastercard SME Index, which surveyed 300 SMMEs in South Africa between April and mid-May this year.
While the majority (84%) of South African SMMEs say that the pandemic has negatively impacted their revenue, 79% are projecting that their earnings will either hold steady or grow in the next year.
SMMEs in South Africa identified “upskilling staff for the future” (58%) as the top area that offers the highest growth potential for their businesses, closely followed by “better data, analytics and insights” (57%). ‘Digitising business operations, sales and admin’ (53%) came in as the third driver, followed by ‘the acceptance of digital payments across multiple channels’ (48%).
This omnichannel approach is an important consideration for all businesses as last month’s New Payment Index found that 95% of South African consumers will consider using at least one emerging payment method in the next year, varying from contactless, QR codes, biometrics or cryptocurrency. In an increasingly connected world, the ability to ‘do business and transact internationally’ (48%) rounded out the top five drivers.
When asked about what keeps them up at night, 39% of SMMEs in South Africa mentioned being ‘able to maintain and grow their business’, while 29% are worried about staying in business or going bankrupt. Looking ahead at the next year, three-quarters (76%) identified the rising cost of doing business, 63% cited red tape and regulations, and 51% mentioned getting access to capital as their biggest business concerns.
Private sector partnerships (84%), international government or business collaborations (56%) and government-led initiatives (44%) were identified as having the biggest potential to positively impact SMMEs and the wider South African market.