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Ensuring the sustainability of SMEs in South Africa



Commercial local enterprises play an all-important role in the South African economy. Small businesses, in particular, are the lifeblood of our economy, comprising 98.5% of all formal businesses in South Africa. They play an invaluable role in driving economic growth and employment opportunities and are a source of innovation.

That’s why Santam is committed to supporting businesses, big and small, through various initiatives. These campaigns are designed to assist and educate the businesses sector by providing them access to information to help them with challenges they may face in their business and giving them risk management advice to sustain them.

Clients vote for their favourite local businesses

Earlier this year, Santam ran a nationwide campaign “Your Favourite Local Business” that was driven by regional radio stations and digital platforms. Listeners could nominate their favourite local business and by doing so the daily winning business had the opportunity to promote their business on air.

This was followed by a business breakfast where all the winners received a certificate of recognition and opportunity to network with intermediaries, media partners and other SMEs. This session featured external business experts like Mike Saunders and Nick Harambalous who focused on general business advice and tips, while Santam’s Gerald van Wyk highlighted the local and global risks businesses face and how to overcome these.

The aim of this campaign was to encourage South Africans to ‘shop local’, to give businesses the must needed exposure and to demonstrate our support for local enterprises.

South Africa’s 12 most loved local businesses

Next, Santam commissioned a bespoke research report that identifies and names South Africa’s 12 Most Loved Local businesses. Over 2400 South Africans voted for the businesses that go above and beyond to stand out and that manage to turn their clients into true fans. The research, conducted by respected independent research house World Wide Worx, also offers insights into exactly what makes consumers big fans of these entities and what it takes to succeed in business, such as

  • Service is the no 1 factor found to convert clients into fans. 40% of those polled said good service kept them returning to their Most Loved Local.
  • Quality is factor number two, with 18% of the votes. Businesses should focus on giving clients something that they value as a key ingredient to business success.
  • Value for money was only third in importance, which shows competing on price alone isn’t a viable business strategy.
  • One size doesn’t fit all: The report found younger audiences valued quality more highly than older people who are more focused on service. One-size-doesn’t fit all – tailoring an offering for a range of individuals makes good business sense.
  • Clients need to be listened to – they know what will work for them! The Most Loved Local report offers lots of great information, but it is a good idea to also set up regular client polls to keep in touch with how they are experiencing a business.
  • Referrals are more likely if value for money is evident. A good deal gets people talking to their friends and family, so using deals and discounts to encourage word-of-mouth around a business is a good idea.

The results were compiled using a combination of digital listening tools and traditional research. Visit the Most Loved Local page for the winners and the survey results.

Supporting SMEs can help create jobs

The report’s release has been well-timed as the need to stimulate sectors of the economy to create jobs has never been more vital. Commercial enterprises are responsible for a significant percentage of the labour force in South Africa, and the impact thereof is significant. Due to the fact that these enterprises remain a largely underinsured sector, the campaign also seeks to highlight the need for insurance as a vital aspect of business continuity. When they thrive, it benefits the whole nation, and from a Santam perspective, this translates into sustainable growth for our business.

Tailor-made product offerings for SMEs

SMEs have a range of risks that need cover which include business interruption and the risk of loss or damage to property. Research has shown that 68% of small businesses in South Africa operate without short-term insurance, which is both a big concern as well as an opportunity for intermediaries.  Santam’s tailor-made product offerings – coupled with your expertise, knowledgeable and sound business risk advice – will ensure that the insurance needs of SMEs are fully met. Our offerings consider all the inherent and emerging risks that these businesses might face, and we furthermore support small businesses with our exceptional risk management, claims-paying ability and a strong business advice capability.

We encourage intermediaries and their clients to regularly visit the Santam website, which offers various features designed to empower and support SME businesses to thrive. Here you’ll find:

  • An online knowledge repository that is dedicated to providing knowledge and insights into the SME environment.
  • Technology tools such as the Santam risk management app which allows brokers to get a comprehensive view of a client’s physical risk profile with recommendations on how to improve their risks.
  • Information about our diverse product and service offering to meet the unique needs of each SME including risk capacity that enable SME clients to boldly step into new markets with the peace of mind that they are adequately covered.

If you’d like to know more about small business insurance, speak to your relationship manager or contact us. For more advice tailored to intermediaries, visit our blog.