Sunday, June 21, 2009

SMEs - the new Companies Act

There is a new version of the South African Companies Act on its way. This is a highly modified version of the previous Act, and is supposedly coming into action later this year.

A key change which is interesting from a number of respects, is an attempt to introduce the equivalent of Chapter 11 in the USA as I understand it. The intention is to help businesses that get into trouble to get through the difficulties they are experiencing by giving them some temporary protection from their creditors.

The current system is prohibitively expensive and not particularly helpful to SMEs.

I am busy reviewing this new version of the Companies Act and will hopefully be able to shed more light on this particular topic in the next week or two.

However, it will require that the business be an incorporated business, in other words a company, remembering that the Closed Corporation will also disappear and become a simple form of company, on which I will also provide more information.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

SMEs in South Africa - is tendering good for SMEs

How important is government business and large business for SMEs?

I believe it is very important, but there are riders here which must be considered. The purpose of government allocating business to SMEs, is to try and grow the SME sector, as growing SMEs are key players in job creation.

But how can these SMEs keep growing unless they receive continuous business. Sustainable SME creation and growth is completely dependent on continuous business from the buying organisation. But government and large businesses are strong believers that tendering is the best means to purchase the products and services they need. They feel the need to remain impartial in the purchasing process. Yet they espouse supply chain management as their credo. Supply chain management expressly guides the buyer to choosing suppliers that enhance the efficiencies of the buyer at every level. So surely tendering is in contradiction of this credo.

Is tendering an anachronism from the past? Is it not time for government and large businesses to treat the purchasing function in the true spirit of supply chain management, and stop resorting to tendering practices that “are objective” when in fact subjectivity is exactly what is needed.

If government policies are to achieve the goal of creating and growing SMEs, and large businesses are to find the efficiencies they desperately seek in their supply chain, through the use of SMEs, then we need to return to subjective purchasing practices.

Government and big business are equally as guilty in the South African context. I have heard senior people openly admit to simply keep changing supplier in order to supply orders to anyone who applies to be a supplier. This is counter-productive and in my mind counter-intuitive.

Let us create sustainable SMEs not one-order wonders!

SMEs in South Africa - the end of Closed Corporations

The Companies Act is about to undergo a major review. This has a number of good aspects and as with everything else in life a number of bad. The questions is whether or not you have a clue about this Act and how it will impact on you?

Too many businesses simply allow the government to do what they like, without providing feedback, whether positive or negative. It is imperative that you read the legislation and decide for yourself what the impact will be on your business.

So go to the following website link and review the Act.

Understand the impact.

If you have any problems with the Act then let us know on and we can forward your input to the government.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

SMEs in South Africa - the African opportunities

As suggested in my blog 2 weeks ago, the African markets present a big opportunity for South Africa.

I saw some data which says despite the recession, Africa should still achieve 6+% GDP growth this year, albeit that it is off a low base. South African trade data show an increase in South African / Africa trade already, as well as the expected decline with USA and Europe.

The big corporates are already trying to penetrate these markets, but SMEs can do so as well.

There are a number of Africa oriented business magazines around. Have a look and get yourself informed. I purchased "African Business" and found a lot of useful information.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

SMEs in South Africa - the recession challenge

According to the economists, we should shortly see the recession slowing its downward trend, flattening and by the new year growth should begin to return.

Key issues I believe will be the the following. The increasing price trend in commodities will need to continue. This will depend on the BRIC countries getting their growth above 7% again.

Government will need to keep the economy stimulated with infrastructural spend. Despite the deficit we are currently nursing, this is an ideal tool for stimulating economic activity in South Africa. The Government has a large budget to spend, so it will be crucial that the political appointment of senior officials is stopped with immediate effect, and business principles employed to ensure competency. Unskilled people cannot spend this amount of money effectively. A suggestion would be to get big business to perhaps second senior executives to assist in running these departments until the recession is reversed.

Similarly, banks are going to have to start lending. They cannot continue with their tight-fisted approach for too long as they need the profit. This is a global problem, but until they start lending on cars and houses, it is unlikely we will see the recession begin to reverse. So when you see car sales and house sales start to pick up, you will know we are on the right track for a reversal.

So hang in there, be innovative and use this time to grab market share from incompetent competitors.