Small Business Development Trends in South Africa in 2016

There are some core small business development trends to note in 2016. There are currently enormous economic challenges in South Africa. Therefore businesses need to be a lot more mindful of how they do business if they want to grow a sustainable company for the future.

Nurture Employees

Millenials are individuals born between 1982 and 1999. They love challenges and opportunities to develop themselves. So you need to create opportunities for them to expand their knowledge and skills within their job. You also need to help them further their careers. If you take care of the talent within your business they will introduce you to other talented individuals. Highly skilled employees will enable you to deliver top notch services and products. This small business development trend is a “must” to consider.

Millenials prefer transparency. This means that your communication will be open and direct.

Build on Strengths of Employees

Instead of trying to get employees to develop their weak areas focus on their strengths. The small business development trend in 2016 is to find ways to capitalise on the strengths of employees. As a result you will have more productive, motivated and happier employees doing what comes naturally to them.

Build Strong Relationships with Customers

Find ways to build lasting relationships with your customers. Get to know them as people not just as customers. In this way you will understand their needs very clearly. This will allow you to link them up to other customers you have who can add value to their business. The focus is rapidly moving to greater collaboration and finding ways to add value for all parties involved: Even if this is just on a project basis.

Therefore the small business development trend is to shift away from just making a sale and only being concerned with what is in it for your company. You need to become “other” focussed and find ways to make the life of your customers easier. Find ways to work with other smaller enterprises so that it is a “win-win” for all concerned parties.

Market to the Individual

Customers no longer want to be treated impersonally, just like another number. Individuals are looking for personalised treatment. This means in your marketing you need to come across as if you are talking to each customer personally in terms of their unique needs. Your messages need to be stated as if you are addressing one individual not just a mass of faceless people.

The vast majority of Millenials are quite comfortable to provide their input on on-line surveys so that products and services can be improved. If you would like to obtain feedback from your customers there are great tools that will help you at little or no cost. No longer is gaining market information a lengthy or costly exercise. Here is an insightful link on marketing trends in 2016.

Adding Real Value

Be very clear on what results your customers are expecting. Once you know their expectations regarding expected outcomes, deliver these outcomes! Your focus therefore shifts from solutions and activities to the actual achievement of results.  The small business development trend now is to focus on outcomes that add real value to the customer.

Young Consumers

The youth are exceptionally comfortable with the digital world. Many of them are also informed consumers who know what they want. They are demanding and assertive. This means that you need to understand what drives them, their needs and respond to their demands. If they have a bad experience with your company they will share this with others: often more openly than one would like!

A Sustainable Future

As consumers become more mindful of the scarcity of resources and the impact of business on the environment, they become more critical of how companies do business. Consumers are also under a lot of pressure economically. Therefore they will look for products and services or brands that will help them through challenging times e.g. ways to reduce wastage of power, water, how to get greater value for money, etc. So the small business development trend is for companies to find solutions to reduce the cost of living and contribute to a sustainable future. These companies will have a solid market.

Web Presence

A web presence is imperative for SMEs. Research shows that over 90% of Internet users do online research on local products and services in deciding what to purchase. The Internet is a strong resource of information on businesses, products and services through reviews, testimonials, etc.

So it is crucial for SMEs to have a web presence that is accessible via mobile phones. There are many user-friendly and affordable platforms that make a web presence possible for all kinds of businesses.


More and more consumers, especially the younger generation, are buying goods via the Internet. Research shows that offering free delivery often leads to consumers purchasing more than one item. This means more money for you as a business.

So there is an increasing small business development trend to offer products and services on-line. How can you capitalise on this opportunity?

Internet Payment Security

EMV, or “Europay, MasterCard, and Visa,” is critical to business security in 2016. The move toward improved EMV payment practices (i.e. microchip debit and credit cards) will safeguard small businesses and their customers against fraud over the next year. Any company who is serious about its customers will ensure that they have very strong internet security in place as protection.

Here is a useful link on 2016 trends in South Africa for SMEs. 

You may want to consider business coaching if you would like to address issues affecting your company’s competitive edge in the current economic climate.

Posted in Business, Entrepreneur.