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Uptick In Travel For South African Travelpreneurs

Despite reports of South Africa’s economic decline, there appears to be a significant rise in travel among small and medium enterprises, reports Flight Centre Business Travel.

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South African Travelpreneurs

Despite reports of South Africa’s economic decline, there appears to be a significant rise in travel among small and medium enterprises, reports Flight Centre Business Travel.

“Destinations like Addis Ababa, Abidjan and Ouagadougou are seeing enormous growth from outbound SMEs. FCBT has in fact seen 20% growth in its SME business travel year-on-year – a trend we are attributing to the rising numbers of travelpreneurs that need to travel for business,” says Ryan Potgieter, Brand Leader Flight Centre Business Travel

Thanks to the Internet and technology, there has been a global shift towards a more liberated way of living, and working for that matter.  Many have started to opt out of the 9-5 rat race by creating their own income and embracing their freedom to travel.

This shift has led to the rise of the ‘travelpreneur’.

Related: Is Your Business Ready for a Travel Policy?

What is a travelpreneur?

A ‘travelpreneur’ is a new class of entrepreneur who travels the world to grow their business. Some of their characteristics include: 

  • Not being restricted to a certain location by operating their business online.
  • Freedom to create their own schedule and choose their own hours of work.
  • A deep-rooted passion of the travel lifestyle, and travelling regularly whether it be for the interest of the business, for leisure, or sometimes both.

Time is Money

travelpreneur

Are you a travelpreneur? Think about how much you travel to grow your business. Think about how often you’ve had to change your plans on the fly for the good of your business. Think about how often that’s a last-minute change.

Travel plays a massive role in the lifestyle of a travelpreneur, but as a business owner too. For most can-do travelpreneurs, it takes a lot to convince one that itinerary decision-making, booking and changing can take up valuable time you could spend on building the business. Next time you need to book a trip to Johannesburg or Cape Town, think how much time you’ve spent trying to find the ‘best deal’ and how much your time is worth. And when you need to change that air ticket because something else has come up… think how much it’s cost to change all your travel plans accordingly.

A small business owner, or travelpreneur, may not think they’re ‘big’ enough to outsource something they believe to be so easy to do themselves. But if travel means business growth and profits, it’s essential that they get it right, and don’t spend unnecessary time on admin, they could be spending on growing their business.

Says Sntial’s Steph Reinstein: “I spend hours every month finding the right flights, only for it to be changed because I’ve had to accommodate another meeting or had to change my travel plans at the last minute. Sometimes I change my flight so many times, I have to actually forfeit my ticket.

“From time to time, I’ll be at a meeting that has overrun, knowing that I’m going to miss my flight and fretting over the repercussions of missing it, which of course I have to sort out myself. When I weigh the benefit of doing it myself against paying a travel consultant to do it for me, even if I think it’s easy, it’s a no-brainer.”

Annamarie Pieters from Global Roof Solutions says when you’re a travelpreneur, the last-minute changes are critical. “On many occasions, I’ve needed to change flights over weekends and in the late evenings. It helps when you know there’s someone who can help you 24/7. At the most critical time, there’s been someone on hand to assist so you don’t have to spend time changing your travel plans.”

“The last thing you should be doing as a travelpreneur is spend hours looking for the best flight, or changing your travel plans at the last minute because life happens, says Potgieter.

“Travelpreneurs, whose businesses are run based on their travel arrangements being successful, should consider the cost of doing it themselves.”

Related: Budget’s Tight? Don’t Cut Your Travel Just Yet

Here are FCBT’s top tips to ticking all the right travelpreneur boxes:

  1. Avoid the queues Those red-eye flights can be a killer, but did you know by travelling just an hour or two later, you’ll miss the crowds and preserve your sanity? Instead of booking the 6am to Cape Town, consider flying just a little later and clustering your appointments at one quiet café to save the commute between offices. It may even be worth your while to book a small meeting room at a hotel for the duration of the day than brave the traffic.
  2. Sit at the back of the ‘bus’: More often than not, by sitting at the back of the plane, you’ll be one of the first passengers off. Plus, like most travelpreneurs, if you’re travelling light, you’ll be out the airport in less than 20 minutes and ready to tackle your day with gusto.
  3. Don’t check your bags: From experience, try not to check your bag. If it goes AWOL and your company brochures, clothes and worse, your laptop charger, go the same way, not only will you be incapacitated, you will be flustered and unable to function at your meetings. Pack light.
  4. Embrace the cloud: Physical documents tend to go missing. Prep for your business trip by keeping all your documents on the cloud – whether this is a copy of your passport, your meeting schedule, or even your travel vouchers. Ever left your wallet behind? You’ll be glad you have your documents on a cloud.
  5. Ditch breakfast, for free WiFi: If you think free and uncapped WiFi should be included on Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs put your hand up. When you are selecting a hotel, pay more attention to the WiFi service offered than whether breakfast is included. This is especially since as a travelpreneur you will more than likely have a meeting scheduled for breakfast in any case, and quick, unlimited WiFi during you stay will be far more important.

Flight Centre Business Travel is South Africa's leading travel retailer, offering cheap flights (domestic and international), holiday packages, cruises, ski holidays, last minute hotel deals, travel insurance and much more.

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Small Business

How The SA Government Can Help Small Businesses Thrive

The Xero report has gathered the top five priorities – as identified by South Africa’s small business owners.

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Small businesses are a critical component of the South African economy. They account for 52% of the country’s GDP, contribute millions in tax revenue and help address the nation-wide unemployment problem by creating more jobs. The government does acknowledge this to some extent and has made some effort to support their growth – but more needs to be done.

The Department of Small Business Development launched in 2014. Its aim is to support South Africa’s entrepreneurial community. However, the initiative hasn’t quite achieved its objectives and, according to Xero’s 2017 State of Small Business report, only 4% of small businesses feel that the department has helped their organisation. A surprising 89% say it is has not helped their businesses in any way.

The reality is, the current national and global economic climate is putting South Africa’s small businesses under immense pressure. They require specific attention and support. The Xero report has gathered the top five priorities – as identified by South Africa’s small business owners. 

1More funding options

Almost half (48%) of small businesses would like to see more help from the government with regards to funding. Currently, 85% of South African start-ups are self-funded. This route requires personal resources that are out of reach for many would-be entrepreneurs. And even those who do manage to fund their own companies, won’t necessarily have enough to grow their businesses to their full potential.

Related: Smart Money For Small Businesses

Access to outside funding options is thus crucial. If the government makes more money available to small businesses through subsidies and grants, then more new companies will be able to launch – and grow.

To limit the number of South Africa’s successful entrepreneurs to those with enough money to fund their own companies, perpetuates economic inequalities, frustrates individual ambitions and does little to help the country’s progress.

2Less red-tape

red-tape-business-restrictions

South Africa is a country of rules. Our regulatory environment is notoriously restrictive and 44% of entrepreneurs would like to see less red-tape. It’s not necessarily the regulations themselves that are the problem – but rather the level of bureaucracy. The government expects full compliance, yet offers little official assistance to help businesses navigate the corridors of power.

Small business owners, who typically don’t have much time to spare, have to spend valuable hours travelling to and from various government agencies and departments. The issue is the current lack of co-ordination between these offices and their individual legislative interpretations. Entrepreneurs are often shunted from one to the other, seeking a signature here and a stamp there – only to be told that they’ve missed a step and have to start at the beginning.

Compliance is of course, crucial. However, small business growth should not be interrupted by unnecessarily obstructive rules and regulations. If the government would like to boost the economy even further, it needs to create a legislative environment in which small businesses can thrive.

3Offer tax breaks

High taxes keep 16% of South Africa’s entrepreneurs up at night and 42% would like the government to offer tax breaks. Prohibitively high taxes can hurt the country’s economy: Businesses move overseas to more tax-friendly locations and take jobs and revenue with them.

Tax breaks benefit both the small business community and the government. They make it more affordable for would-be entrepreneurs to start a business. And, as more companies launch, tax revenue increases.

Related: Cash Flow Tips For Small Businesses To Survive Rocky Times

4Improve access to finance

Access to finance is a recurring issue. With so few subsidies and grants available, small businesses battle to secure the funding they need to grow. Banks are hesitant lenders, especially when it comes to start-ups – and 35% of entrepreneurs look to the government to help them access the financial solutions they need.

The good news is, the government can help. The Department of Trade and Industry, along with its various satellite organisations, offers loans with flexible repayment terms and lower interest rates. Of course, this doesn’t meet the growing demand, and more finance options need to be made available to help entrepreneurs get their businesses up and running. 

5Education investment

The high unemployment rate in South Africa is compounded by a severe skills shortage. Small businesses need very specific skills and have to hire carefully – the wrong recruit can become an expensive mistake. Too many entrepreneurs struggle to find the right people with the experience and skills that they need – which limits their growth potential.

Almost a quarter (22%) of small businesses believe that the government needs to invest more in education. While this is no short-term solution, it is a necessary step towards building South Africa’s talent pool and safeguarding its economic future. If this doesn’t happen, neither the companies nor the country will be able to function at maximum efficiency.

The government has much to gain from working in the best interests of the small business community. The sooner the two parties are on the same page, the better for the economy.

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Small Business

Smart Money For Small Businesses

Being smart with your money leads to smart business practices and you don’t need more reason than that to keep reading.

Tasmin Copley

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Starting out or keeping it small, it’s time to be smart with your money as a business. Below you will find smart ways of managing your money, as well as simple ways to save money as a business.

Being smart with your money leads to smart business practices and you don’t need more reason than that to keep reading.

Things that start with business…

A few things that start with business and end in smart money choices are:

  • Business car leasing: Leasing a business car means you don’t have to worry about depreciation in value and struggling to sell your car at the end of its term. If your business requires a more-than-average amount of time on the road, for clients and site visits, then you should consider this business car option. You’ll also save money leasing a car by paying lower monthly installments than if you chose to purchase the car.
  • Business credit card: Besides the obvious advantage of building a credit score – for necessary equipment, office space and other contracts – using a business credit card is an easy way to keep track of your expenses. You also have the chance of cashing in from some type of rewards program. Be sure to research your credit card options and find one suitable for your business ventures.
  • Business expenses: Tax deductible. Look it up. Know what classifies as a business expense and that can be claimed back at the end of the financial year. You’re welcome.

Related: Cash Flow Tips For Small Businesses To Survive Rocky Times

Budget

As important as it is in your personal finance life, setting a budget for your small business is equally as important. Monitor money coming in and leaving the business and make sure you know how it’s making its entrance and exit. Take note of fixed monthly money allocations and budget for new expenses and profits.

Creating and implementing a budget places everyone on the same page with regards to how money moves in the business and that all movements are being tracked. In any business, it’s also a means of keeping tabs on how the company is doing with regards to reaching their business goals.

And save

saving-money

Don’t be quick to give yourself a raise when the business starts doing well. There’s constant instability in almost every business market and that extra money is better “spent” sitting in a savings account. Find ways to save money in your business and where you do save, put that money away for a rainy day.

Implementing green practices in your business will save you time and money. Energy-efficient lighting will reduce your electricity bill and using less paper and printing equipment will save you those costs as well. And if being completely paperless isn’t possible, be sure to recycle.

Save money on a marketing department while you’re still small and head it up yourself with the help of media management applications and building media connections.

Use technology

This will save you time and ultimately money. There are so many different kinds of business technology software designed to make running your business easier. Whether you need accounting services, mass mailing, social media schedules, customer service, internal collaborative platforms, invoicing, project management or data storage, you will be able to find an automated system to help you out.

Schedule your payments, posts and admin tasks with automated solutions. As a small business or start-up, you may not be in the financial position to hire someone to do these tasks and your time is better spent working on the front lines of your business.

Related: Why Small Business Deserves To Be A Bigger Priority

Smart hiring

Don’t throw your money at hiring a team of salespeople when you only, in fact, need one (for the time being). Quantity will come as your business grows and you have more clients and credibility in the industry. For now, all your small business needs is one or two quality sales professionals who can get business flowing.

Take the time to interview a variety of candidates and take into consideration their experience and skills, not only relating to the job position. The chances of them having to help out in other departments is likely and you will find more value in an employee of many talents than one great salesperson who cannot contribute to anything else in the company.

Every business has their own plans and needs so keep them in mind when making smart money choices in their small business.

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What Is The Impact Of Late Payments On Your Business’s Sustainable Growth?

As one of the largest accounting professional bodies in the world, we at ACCA have a birds-eye view of the key issues affecting SME business performance.

ACCA

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Today’s economic and political environment places a number of challenges upon entrepreneurs and small businesses growth. One of the most prominent is uncertainty – and the impact this has over the cost of doing business.

This has the potential to affect the ability of businesses to access finance, invest, export, and ultimately, grow. Consequently, the provision of tailored guidance and business support plays a vital role towards shaping the prospects of small businesses at an individual as well as the wider growth prospects of the South African economy as a whole.

Chartered accountants play an equally important role in this regard. Research indicates they remain entrepreneurs and SMEs’ most trusted advisors, with half of those small companies in the UK that have sought business support having approached their accountant. And as one of the largest accounting professional bodies in the world, we at ACCA have a birds-eye view of the key issues affecting SME business performance.

Problem of poor payment practise

Perhaps one of the biggest problems we hear about from small businesses and entrepreneurs is poor payment practice. Delayed payment affects businesses in a number of ways.

Related: 6 Lessons The Founders Of iKhokha Used To Launch An African Fintech Start-up

Evidence clearly shows that it reduces business productivity, with businesses that would otherwise be spending time growing and investing in their business instead chasing debts owed to them and being a substantial distraction to business staff.

Part of the reason for this is because small businesses suffer from a lack of bargaining power when dealing with established businesses and government because they do not have the resources (time, labour or capital) to dedicate to dealing with relevant disputes.

Typically, in a small business, all resources are focused on growing and sustaining the business and in particular, maintaining cash flow. Further resource is targeted at meeting key legal requirements, such as paying tax or regulatory compliance.

Small companies are, therefore, often relatively unsophisticated when dealing with contractual issues and no better able to protect themselves than individual consumers.

Remedies

Both for small businesses and the South African economy, this is unacceptable practise. The knock – on effect results in potential job losses, unsustainable businesses and might in the long term translate the SME sector as a weak contributor to economic growth, increase barrier to entry and thus reduced competition in sectors where the late payment is rife.

At the moment, poor payment practice is not taken seriously enough in the boardrooms of larger companies. Given the impact of poor payment practices by large companies on smaller ones, it is essential late payment becomes a central focus for policymakers going forward.

Suppliers can protect themselves through careful due diligence and in-depth receivables analyses building on ageing debtors reports. They can make more realistic

provisions for bad debt, informed by first-hand information gathering, and incorporate these into regular cash projections. There is also a lot that they can do to improve the administration of receivables, from better understanding of customers’ systems and the use of automation to bringing in outside expertise on credit control and collections.

Related: 7 Factors To Determine Who Are Your Employees (And Who Aren’t)

For suppliers, the fight against late payments continues with contract design: Businesses should ensure that their terms of credit are clear and explicit and that contracts give them appropriate rights over goods that remain unpaid for, as well as the right to withhold services or delivery as appropriate. Even the methods of payment can make a significant difference and must be specified in advance.

In addition, despite receiving very unfavourable press coverage, prompt or early payment discounts can be an acceptable means of aligning prices with the cost of servicing individual customers – as long as they are not imposed unilaterally and at short notice. Managing early payment discounts is easily managed in QuickBooks.

Financing and liquidity insurance is a major element of the fight against late payment, and small suppliers in particular need to replicate to the extent possible the protection provided by the internal cash pools of diversified business groups.

Exploring and securing alternative sources of finance (including factoring and trade credit insurance) is important, but ultimately directors must be alive to the implications of providing credit to major suppliers and be willing to take on some risk through equity injections.

Finally, suppliers need to be able to distinguish quickly between late payment and genuine credit risk. There is often no substitute for first-hand inspection and probing. When customers are struggling but ultimately viable, forbearance can work.

Businesses should seek to shield themselves from further cash disruption and reduce services to struggling customers but should also use payment plans to maximise recoveries and help customers surmount their problems.

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