It is said a lot, but that doesn’t make it less true: small businesses (SMEs, SMMEs or whatever abbbbbreviation you prefer) are the lifeblood of the economy, the key to future growth and employment. So the annual SME survey, headed up by my IT chum Arthur Goldstuck, provides some useful insight into the concerns of this vital sector of the economy.
The most worrying development is what Arthur calls the “dramatic shift” in what keeps ZA SME owners awake at night. Previously the answer was crime, for reasons that any South African will understand. Now it is the electricity crisis, which is of concern to 71% of respondents, twice the 36% who regard crime as the greatest external threat to their business.
Says Arthur: “While load shedding (rolling blackouts) has been punted as a temporary problem, it is clear that business fears that it is going to be with us for the foreseeable future.
“The impact of even short periods without power is greater on SMEs than it would be on larger companies that likely have generators and other fall-back options.”
He advised businesses to ensure they frequently back up their data”
“Unexpected load shedding is one of the events most likely to lead to a loss of data,” he warned.
The survey was sponsored by Standard Bank and by Forest Technologies.
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