The Challenge of Doing Business in South Africa


Doing business in South Africa is not for the fainthearted. In fact, South Africa dropped from 34th place out of 181 countries on the World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business ranking in 2009 to 82nd out of 192 countries last year, leaving the country trailing its African peers, including Mauritius (20), Rwanda (29) and Kenya (61), writes Sanisha Packirisamy in City Press.

It’s a pity that doing business in South Africa is perceived to be so difficult, because South Africa is nicely placed as the economic growth hub in Africa. After all, Africa is nowadays seen as one of the most exciting continents in the world to expand business for. Yet, the problem with Africa is that in many instances you can’t just arrive and start a business. Because Africa is mostly underdeveloped – therefore offering many business opportunities, but without the structures to support investors.

Nevertheless, South Africa is the second biggest economy in Africa. It is also the best developed with existing infrastructure, financial institutions and skilled labor. Sadly South Africa has regressed in stature and status as the first choice investment destination in Africa. Indeed, it’s even getting more difficult for small businesses doing business in South Africa.

So, let’s consider the challenges that face new business owners that want to open a venture in South Africa.

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What will Enhance Online Customer Experience?


Online customer experience matters. Indeed, survival in today’s competitive e-commerce environment where the competitor is only one click away means that firms have to find ways to provide customers with a unique experience much more than low prices 1.

Undoubtedly the competition for customers is fierce in the online retail channel. Yet many of you may think it’s a strange thing to say since there’re about 1.8 billion people worldwide purchasing goods online (Statista, 2018).  But there are also many online retailers.

Back in 2014 there were already more than 24 million active online stores (Internet Retailer). Sadly, only a small percentage of them does noteworthy business. So why are the majority of online retailers not doing business? One of the main reasons why these shops fail is because their customers are having bad online experiences when visiting their websites…

Nevertheless, online shopping is so popular because it offers more convenience. Furthermore, the store location is irrelevant and consumers can shop from any location, 24 h a day, seven days a week. But, just like the physical brick-and-mortar retailers, customers visiting the store want to have, apart from the shopping, a pleasant or useful experience. Indeed, online visitors may become loyal customers if they fancy the experience they get on your website.

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A Customer’s Online Buying Journey in the Retail Channel


Here’s the online buying journey of Jack, who does most of his shopping in the retail channel. Indeed, retailers are eager to discover the online buying habits of Jack. That’s for a good reason, because of all the new media, consumers are dramatically shifting both their media usage patterns and how they utilize different media sources to get the information they seek 1. As a result, it influences when, where, and how Jack chooses his brands.

In fact, the online buying journey of Jack today is markedly different from his buying journey about a decade ago. About ten or more years ago, Jack had to search the local ‘Yellow Pages’ directory to find retailers who kept the products that he wants.  Jack’s buying journey at that time was a linear process with a beginning and an end with a couple of events, in sequence, in between.

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Is the Sales Funnel Relevant in Predicting Buying Behavior of Digitized Customers?


For ages now, marketers relied on the sales funnel to get insight into their potential customer’s thought process, challenges, and decisions. Indeed, the sales funnel is academically grounded in the marketing funnel, AIDA model (Attention + Interest + Desire + Action model), and the hierarchy of effects model 1. It’s no wonder that one of the first models I’d to master early in my marketing studies was the AIDA model…

The ADIA model is thought of as a linear process which starts when the customer is becoming aware of a need and ends when he/she purchase a product or service to satisfy the need. The model derives from consumer psychology and specifically the cognitive journey a customer undertakes when buying a product.

The way that the sales funnel is commonly described graphically is shown below:

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Are Angel Investors Divine Interventions or are they Devils in Disguise?


You’re battling in vain for months now to get someone or somebody to buy into your groundbreaking business idea. Indeed, you’ve spent lot of time and money to get funds from your bank, other banks and small business development institutions. Sadly, there’s not a glimpse of hope, not even an invite for an interview. Giving up hope, you’ve decided to terminate your project. However, luckily for you, someone suggested that you should apply to get funded by angel investors. Wow, what a break! That intervention has changed your life for the better…

So, are angel investors the solution for small businesses and start-up funding problems?

Who are Angel Investors?

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How to get a Venture Capitalist to Fall in Love with your Business Idea


Many successful businesses got funded by a venture capitalist (VC) when starting-up.  After all, it seems that VCs have lots of money to invest. In fact, in 2018, the value of VC investments in the United States amounted to approximately 99.5 billion U.S. dollars (Statista).

So, if can’t get enough money to get your business started, but you’ve a (really!) great business idea, then getting a venture capitalist to invest may be a sound idea…However, VCs have, just like all other funders, loaners and investors, their own criteria and standards they use to evaluate investment opportunities.

And there’s a good reason why VCs are so picky on where to invest their capital. Tomer Dean from TechCrunch not long ago interviewed a well-known venture capitalist. The VC had the following to say about the success rate of start-ups:

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How easy is it for SMEs to get Business Loans from Commercial Banks?


Commercial banks hate giving business loans to small businesses. Indeed, it’s almost impossible for a start-ups and micro businesses to get funded by commercial banks. That’s because banks avoid giving money to what they perceive as ‘risky’ business…

How so? Dr. Paul Smith, Lead Researcher of the “Inaugural South African SMME Access to Finance Report 2017”, found that startups and micro businesses are the most undeserved in the formal business market and therefore represent the largest funding gap.

Start-ups and small businesses mostly do not need large amounts of money to get their business going. Sadly, this may be a major obstacle for them to get funded…

In fact, according to Dr. Smith’s report, is the appetite of funders to loan smaller amounts significantly less than the appetite for them to approve larger loan sizes. Yet 44% of the total SMEs funding requests are for amounts less than R250 000. As a result, whilst many funders claim to offer funding for requests under R1 million, most SMEs battle to raise funding in this range Dr. Smith concludes.

So, what can SMEs do to get business loans from commercial banks?

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Being Self-Employed – One of the Consequences of the Digital Disruption


We should ready ourselves to be self-employed. Most alarmingly, the digitization of the businesses has obsoleted millions of jobs. In fact, this is happening right now in the financial sector of South Africa. As a result, a couple weeks ago, one of the four universal banks in South Africa announced that it will close 91 branches. That will leave about 1200 employees without a job.

The bank can hardly be blamed for closing its branches. I mean, when last did you visit your bank? If you’re looking for something to blame, you need to look no further than the digitization of the banking sector. Also, the entry of new digital players has challenged the status quo in the market, said Jorge Camarate, Strategy& Partner in PwC’s financial services division recently in ITWeb.

The digital disruption in the banking sector will sadly continue to cause more job losses. And this is happening across industries. So, 1200 bank employees will soon face the reality of surviving without their salaries.

As a result, the retrenched employees, especially the breadwinners, may have no other option to be self-employed.

What does it mean to be self-employed?

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The Future of Marketing – taking care of the Needs, Wants and Desires of 150 Year Olds


So, you think that the future of marketing is nothing but digital? Also, that artificial intelligence, big data, augmented reality and social media marketing are the big trends? Maybe for now they are, but the future of marketing is about a century and a half away. At that time, marketing will also be about satisfying the needs, wants and desires of 150 year olds…

Of course you should think by now I’m busy losing my marbles! I mean – we’ll be considered fortunate (or unfortunate for some) if we reach our 100th birthday. However, Jeff Glor reporting for CBS, recently suggests that some of the babies that are born today may well live to enjoy their 150th birthday.

To illustrate: In 1850, the average human lifespan was 43 years. Now it’s closer to 80. Indeed, the mortality of older populations has sharply decreased during recent years in most western countries 1. But what is the highest that our lifespan can go?

In fact, the longevity record is held by Jeanne Calment of France, who was 122 years old when she died in 1997…

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Get Your Online Content Going Viral


When something, like a blog, a video or other content is going viral on the net, it is big news. Why? Because everyone is sharing it and talking about it. And, when it’s huge, there’s no stopping of it. But, as with everything that becomes huge, it has a good side and a bad side.

So, it must be the dream of every professional publisher of online content that his or her content goes viral. Just think of all the page views, the back-links and subsequent money, monies from Google Ads and other affiliates… Wow!

Then it’s just about creating something to going viral. Easy, really? Not so…

What does it mean if something is going viral?

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