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Business Landscape

Thriving in a Downturn

Be the unburnable entrepreneur and beat the current economic odds.

Lizwe Nkala




Here’s an encouraging fact: the people who survived the boom-bust economic cycles dating back to the 1930s are the same people responsible for building some of the most recognisable corporations of the world today. How can you emulate their example by staying the entrepreneurship course despite the current global economic gloom?

Taking the treacherous high road

Distinguished entrepreneurs like Richard Branson, Bill Gates and Raymond Ackerman are high road dreamers. They conceived audacious visions and then set out to achieve them. Their businesses have seen more than one recession and survived the fallout.

In a downturn, the biggest risk you face is the temptation to succumb to economic pressures and abandon your ship. The moment you gravitate to the low road, it’s hard to come back up to the high stakes game that
entrepreneurs with grit revel in every day. The road you have chosen as an entrepreneur is treacherous; your tenacity, perseverance, love and passion for what you do will keep you on track without suffering burnout.

In for the long haul

Here are a few tips on becoming unburnable in recession times.

1. Adopt an ‘investing’ and not ‘consuming’ mindset

Remind yourself that you are not in a salaried job; you are building a business. As a buyer of time, every 30 days you look forward to investing in your audacious goal rather than earning a salary to consume. The
‘recession’ word is a scourge for consumers; for entrepreneurs it regulates the rate at which you can afford to grow your business in an environment of subdued demand.

Your business assets will earn you less profit in a recession; that is granted for most recession-prone businesses. However, assets built cheaply during a recession will give you a higher return in a brighter economic climate in the future.

2. You are in it for the long haul, recession is just a hump in the road

The larger your entrepreneurial goal, the more time you need to invest in it. Just as the best-matured wines carry a price premium or the best-structured investment portfolios earn the most compounded value, so too does your business need a long-range perspective to prosper. Focus on investing in your business rather than seeking options to divest or exit altogether, because the recession mood is everywhere.

My favourite thought is that a hundred rand invested in a growing business in a downturn is equivalent to a thousand rands worth of investment in boom times. When fear grips your competition, you only need a little effort to be noticed. In a boom economy, the cost of exposure is much more. In the current climate, take as little profit out as you can; instead build a solid platform to benefit from the upturn when the economy turns.

3. Eliminate debt from your business

If demand is slow for your business in recessionary times, why are you so hell-bent on financing its operations? What you need is to tighten your working capital needs during a poor business cycle. If you are a small business, ask suppliers what things ‘truly’ cost before signing up for expensive credit agreements that could be avoided by utilising short-term savings.

4. Don’t live your past, live your business

Most entrepreneurs are former fulltime employees. Big leases and large mortgages were well and good to have then. They are an unwelcome distraction in your early entrepreneurial life. The real issue with a recession is not the challenges it imports into your life, but rather what it found you struggling with when it hit. The real thrill of starting your own business is to see it grow with minimal debt.

5. Finally, recession or not, as an entrepreneur, you must dig deep

Your business needs more than capital investment to grow. Emotional wellbeing, positive energy and clarity of thought are as important as the technical tools you brandish. During a recession, generate ideas and think creatively about your business and its long-term competitiveness.

With a clear mind and enough curiosity, there are a lot of opportunities to thrive, even in the current climate – so just do it.

Lizwe Nkala is an influential corporate strategist working at executive and board levels of large corporations. He is the MD of Flamingo Moon Consulting and a founding partner of the Strategic Thinking Institute, where he coaches executives and presents tailored strategic thinking seminars and webinars, and provides strategic thinking tools and templates on a subscription basis for corporate clients. For more, visit

Business Landscape

Solutions To Get Your Business Through Tough Times

We are happy to announce that times are changing and that Start-Ups and SME’s never have to leave legal unattended again!

Nicolene Schoeman-Louw




It is no secret, things are really tough at the moment. South Africa is in a technical recession and consumer spending is at a low. To many small businesses this means that the pressure is very, very real. As a result, cost cutting will inevitably have to follow, and the reality is, that the legal side of things are often one of those aspects left unattended. Resulting in massive risk exposure that could threaten the business’ ultimate sustainability or success.

But everything is not just doom and gloom! We are happy to announce that times are changing and that Start-Ups and SME’s never have to leave legal unattended again!

We have put in a lot of money, time and effort creating a pioneering online platform that hosts standard legal documents, which are the crucial pillars of best practices for any business. By utilising technology, we aim to provide access to trusted legal products and services in order to empower Entrepreneurs.

The SchoemanLaw SME Self- Service Desk TM is the first solution of its kind in South Africa! In testimony hereof, SchoemanLaw was honoured earlier this year as a finalist in the Nedbank Business Accelerator Programme, for the platform’s unique ability to provide access to trusted legal resources that empowers Entrepreneurs, to create sustainable businesses that are scalable.

The platform further addresses the need of effective management of individual needs, such as drafting your will, the management of crucial relationships in business, including employment relationships and contractors, as well as stakeholder relationships in the ecosystem, such as clients, debtors, shareholders, directors and joint ventures. It also allows the users access to personalised support in case of any unforeseen legal incident occurring. Supporting entrepreneurs to effectively establish legal foundations in their business for optimum growth and overall business success.

Related: When To Collaborate And When To Employ

The following documents are examples of those available on the platform:

  • NDA (Non-Disclosure Agreement)
  • Independent Contractor Agreement
  • JV Agreement
  • MOI (resolution included)
  • Shareholders Agreement
  • Various Company resolutions
  • Acknowledgement of Debt
  • Distribution Agreement
  • Agency Agreement
  • T&C’s
  • Supplier Agreement
  • Last Will and Testament
  • Residential and Commercial Lease Agreements
  • Loan Agreement
  • Letter Demanding Payment
  • Various HR Documents, such as:
    • Employment Contract (fixed and indefinite term)
    • Generic Human Resource Policies
    • Certificate of Service
    • Written Warning
    • Disciplinary Hearing Pack

Free samples:

  • Offer to purchase (freehold and sectional title)
  • BBBEE Affidavits (EME and generic QSE)

and many more!

Related: The Role Of Trust Now And In The Future

Prices range from R195 and R895 per document if downloaded on a pay as you need basis or R249 / R495 per month on a subscription basis, this is over 75% less than usual rates if traditionally drafted by an attorney. What is more, users have the support of a law firm not only having created, but who maintains the platform and supports each User.

The platform is also ever evolving and completely customer driven because documents are added constantly as customers request them. All the documents are also constantly updated to ensure that they align to the latest best practice. So, never leave the legal unattended ever again! For more information or to Empower your small business today, go to:

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Business Landscape

Effective Business Insurance Supports The Economy

The insurance industry has an important role to play in assisting SMMEs to effectively manage risk and resist the temptation to save money by buying less insurance cover than their actual risks suggest.




The success and growth of small, medium and micro-enterprises (SMMEs) are essential to the development of our economy. The insurance industry has an important role to play in assisting SMMEs to effectively manage risk and resist the temptation to save money by buying less insurance cover than their actual risks suggest.

Value of advice to create trust

This is where the value of advice can be clearly demonstrated. Henry Ford said: “If we asked our customers what they needed, they would have said faster horses.”

Therefore, as risks become more complex and costs grow, we need to, as an industry, enable SMMEs to trust us to advise them where to place their hard earned money to safeguard themselves against potentially devastating setbacks.

In every business, customers are unique and face their own challenges and risks. For a manufacturer, protecting valuable stock during storage or transportation will be essential. A motor fleet owner will need comprehensive cover for their specialist vehicles to protect them against accidents, theft or liability.

Insurance brokers have the knowledge, experience and skills to guide SMMEs in identifying the risks their businesses face and choosing the correct insurance products to meet their specific requirements.

Related: Government Funding And Grants For Small Businesses

Changing environment = changing needs and solutions

Property damage cover, such as fire insurance, compensates SMMEs for buildings or stock, while business interruption cover allows them valuable time to recover without feeling the strain of lost profits after an unfortunate event. Comprehensive motor insurance can cover vehicle repair costs and provide replacement vehicles allowing businesses to continue to render a service after a loss or damage occurred.

In addition, lawsuits can be costly and time-consuming, with exorbitant legal fees and resulting court awards. Liability insurance protects SMMEs from these and similar claims.

Other important insurance products provide security against financial losses, resulting from theft, fraud or dishonesty by the company’s own employees.

Partnering for success

Any business failure or loss can have far reaching effects on the rest of the economy. Therefore, it is necessary for brokers to partner with insurers who understand the risks inherent in a particular SMMEs field of business – a winning partnership to build the economy by supporting the sustainability of our small businesses.

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Business Landscape

Medium-Sized Businesses Reap Greater Rewards In Tough Times

With prominent industry names being added to business rescue reports almost every week, risking it all in times such as these may sound ludicrous.

Kristly McCarthy



medium sized business tough times

We’ve said it before: Diversifying, streamlining and investing in new ventures during the tough times is vital to a company’s survival.

Running a successful and diverse business requires resources, passion and an unwavering vision. Poised for continuous growth, a company looks to its team of forward-thinking, calculated risk takers to help prepare and invest for the future, now.

Investing in the future and creating wealth means doing things right – right now. With headlines such as ‘real estate investments in SA increase by R28 billion’ and ‘the industrial sector is the top performer in the SA property market’, it makes sense to put your money where your mouth is in 2018.

Bartlett Construction is one such company. Wayne Bartlett, Contract’s Director for Bartlett Construction says that the company opened its property division several years ago in a quest to gain more market share and use its expertise to cultivate a robust property portfolio.

“Accelerating our economy through investment is key. While there are still high hopes for SA in 2018, applying a long-term strategy to property investment allows you to reap the real rewards in future,” says Wayne.

Related: The Ultimate 101 List Of Business Ideas To Start Your Own Business In South Africa

Acquiring, building and renovating factories and industrial spaces has been a focus for the company over the past few years. “We have all seen the headlines about the industrial sector performing well in terms of property and this is true. It’s truly sad to see some of the big names (in all industries) undergoing business rescue but ultimately, waiting for times to change and focusing on one strategy is never advisable – especially not in a market such as this one” he continues.

Creating a scalable business in times such as these is key. Wayne notes that medium-sized companies have remained notably robust by ensuring just the right amount of resources to remain lean, yet effective.

“The economic downturn has had significant impact on both big and small companies. Companies with high overheads, many employees and massive contracts on the line have been most affected. Small companies, on the other hand, with very little business and resources who rely on business from big and medium businesses have also taken a knock.”

Established more than half a century ago and with Wayne having 30-plus years of experience in the industry, it’s fair to say that he has seen it all. “What’s helped our company through the years is remaining scalable and finding balance. Times are tough, and everyone is feeling the pinch – success is dependent on how the industry performs but we try our best to never over invest or under invest; we diversify whilst maintaining high-levels of competency in our current projects, we are fair and reward long-standing, loyal employees who give us that competitive edge and we adapt according to industry and client needs.” Wayne concludes.

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