Business sentiment in South Africa is mixed and many small businesses are looking for support in all facets of their business to ensure that they come out of the uncertainty even stronger. Tides are shifting, demands are changing and leaders are being asked to be responsive and agree on priorities that will help Africa achieve inclusive growth – where small business play a critical role as a strong economic engine. This is exactly what was discussed at the recent World Economic Forum on Africa.
In South Africa, the Small and Medium sized Enterprise (SME) sector has certainly grown significantly over the years, and as such, today, SMEs are not just seen as condensed versions of larger organisations, but rather important growth engines of the economy. This change in perception is due to the immense opportunities that SMEs provide for our country, especially in terms of employment. However, there are many factors that impact a SME and determine its success or failure and it is essential that conversations that focus on innovation, support and revitalising business are had to support the sector and drive inclusive growth.
One such discussion, is cash flow. As a lifeline for small businesses, cash flow management can make or break a business. Take Calorie Conscious for example.
The small business, founded by Candice Robbertze and her brother Clayton in 2010, started due to a passion for health and vision to change lives in a small gym in Fourways. Both Candice and Clayton had full day jobs so the little business – focused on training, diets writing and lymph massages and colonic irrigations at the time – would run early in the morning and again late at night. But the business grew quickly and eventually Candice decided to leave her day job and follow her passion full time. It was then that the business started to grow, incorporating ready-made meals and a bakery that could produce wheat and gluten free breads. But the business needed cash.
We are up to date with the science behind nutrition, we needed an option that allowed us to reduce our income waiting times and keep us cash flush,” says Candice Robbertze. “Unfortunately, in our case, the banks don’t take small businesses seriously and there is no personalised service. What’s more in tough times, they aren’t as open to lending and often their terms or interest, can stifle business growth, rather than encourage it. It was for this reason, that we looked elsewhere and came across Transaction Capital Business Solutions and their invoice discounting solution – which was exactly what we needed. By allowing us to minimise our waiting times based on our retail Service Level Agreements, we were able to convert our outstanding invoices into immediate cash which has given us the opportunity to grow our business and our dream.”
Today Calorie Conscious employs just over 100 staff members, have a national supply footprint and are one of the largest manufactures of gluten free, banting, wheat free and low carb breads and meals in the South African market. What’s more, since engaging with Transaction Capital Business Solutions in 2016, the business has witnessed 5 x its normal growth.
“By finding the right partner and passion we were able to start our business. By finding the right financial partner, we were able to grow our business. And with our invoice discounting solution in place, we now only have to worry about our expansion plans. Watch this space!” concludes Robbertze.