Understanding SMMEs in South Africa

getlion is a free app made for the industrious entrepreneur in South Africa looking for a quick way to access SMME (or SME) funding and useful business advice.

Female business owner with a business strategy South Africa - SMME South Africa - getlion

SMMEs (also known as Small, Medium and Micro Enterprises) are the lifeblood of any economy, an SMME in South Africa makes a much bigger difference than some would think, contributing significantly to national GDP and accounting for up to 50% of South Africa’s workforce.  Having a business strategy in South Africa is vital to contribute growth to these statistics

It’s estimated that there are close to 2.5 million small business in South Africa, although only 550 000 are registered and considered formal. What is interesting is how small businesses are defined from a regulation standpoint, where a medium-sized business (the “M” in SME) can make up to R230m in turnover per year, and employ up to 250 people.

The definition for a small business is similarly staggering, where a company can make between R5 – R80m in turnover per year (depending on the industry) and still be considered a small business. The reality is though that most small businesses don’t employ more than 2-5 people, and produce less than R1m in turnover. This means that the existing small business support infrastructure has to change to cater for the realities facing most small businesses in South Africa. 

And that’s where getlion comes in, the mobile app built to help entrepreneurs in South Africa understand how to start a business or manage and grow their small business, and the first app to reward business owners for running their companies effectively. Entrepreneurs, sole proprietors, informal traders and the weekend warrior working in their spare time to make a little money on the side:  these are the people who generally fall under the umbrella term SMMEs, which stands for Small, Medium and Micro Enterprises. As a bustling part of any emerging economy, the SMME plays a vital, albeit often uncertain role. Although they might seem small, SMMEs can make great contributions towards the national GDP, and globally they are responsible for employing up to 70% of the workforce.

Why do people establish SMMEs in South Africa?

Most SMME owners are those who are on the move and have a great idea that they can see will take are of a need in the market. Entrepreneurs are by no means fearless souls with unlimited courage.

They are simply driven people who, despite everything, including the fear of failure, shape their dreams into what they hope will be a profitable business that becomes important to their community, province or country.

If you are already a small business owner, you know that along with the stress and the hard work, owning your own company not only provides a feeling of great accomplishment but also a sense of freedom.

Owning your own SME in South Africa also comes with a certain amount of excitement and invigorating challenges. You can determine the direction your company goes, learn more about your industry and get creative with your marketing.

Although there are a few basics that you have to go along with, when you become an entrepreneur or sole proprietor you can very much make your own rules.

By their very nature, the SMME style of business is small or medium in size. But this doesn’t mean they won’t grow. It means that, for the interim, the company is operating best at a smaller capacity. In order for it to grow, there is a lot that you need to know. To start, you need to know how to get set up properly.

entrepreneur working on strategy SMME South Africa getlion business app

How to set your company up with a successful business strategy in South Africa

Initially, getting your company off the ground will require having the right assistance and of course, the right information. Since you are just getting started, hiring help with these time-consuming tasks may not fit into your budget. And besides, you should want to know how to do certain things yourself. The more you know, the better prepared you’ll be in the continued running of your company.

getlion can become your primary go-to business building resource. It will connect you to the exact people and companies who will help you with everything you could possibly need. Whether it be start-up SMME funding or help registering your company or advising you which documents needed to start a business in South Africa, our app can help you.

To get started, you can open the app and select the ‘Learn’ tab, and from there select ‘Starting a Business’. 

Here you will find a myriad of services within minutes, all of which relate to getting your company successfully off the ground. Some of the resources at your disposal include how to write a business plan from scratch, validation for your ideas (so you know you are heading in the right direction with your SMME), resources to assist you in the registration of your business, funding sources, budget and forecasting tools, and so much more.

Things small Businesses in South Africa should do

To get around the challenges and do things right from the get go, there are a few things that you need to do.

  • Control your cash. For the small business, cash flow, not profit, is often the greatest issue. Know how to plan your cash and have a good understanding about your budget. You can use getlion to learn more about your finances.
  • Understand your profit margins. Don’t focus all of your attention on the bottom line, focus on how the profit margin works alongside the bottom line.
  • Go digital. These days, you have to have an online presence to ensure that you enjoy maximum exposure, right from the launch of your company.
  • Know who you are up against. When you know your competition, you will be in the position to outsmart them.
  • Don’t neglect your customer. It can be as easy as making sure you chat with them and form a personal relationship.

SMME owners will also benefit from listening to all the advice that comes their way. You can always shift through what doesn’t apply to you or what doesn’t feel right. But if other SMME owners are willing to offer personal advice from their own experience, it could be the most valuable assistance you ever get.

getlion business app is every SMME and entrepreneur’s business expansion tool and will without a doubt be a beneficial business companion. The future of SMMEs is a glowing one for those who are willing to take the bold risks to reap the rewards that come with owning a company and contributing to the economy of South Africa. And with getlion, you are rewarded for doing so. Our app can be exactly what you need to get organised. Start, manage and grow your business with getlion. You can download the app from Google Play or the Apple App Store right now, for free.