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How small businesses can navigate risk in a post-pandemic world

Article provided by Santam

Five out of seven small businesses in South Africa fail within their first year of operation. As we begin to emerge from the pandemic, small business owners are finding themselves having to adjust to a very different business environment. There is a cascade of complex new risks that entrepreneurs must contend with if they wish to successfully steer their business into the future. Here are some tips to help entrepreneurs navigate this new world.

Cyber security

With more people working remotely, having a secure digital infrastructure has never been more important. As of November, last year, South Africa had the third highest number of cyber-crime victims in the world. This costs us R2.2 billion per year.

The average small business hack attack can cost your company anywhere between R50 000 to R250 000 (or more) to recover from. Stopping at just getting antivirus software is not enough. You’ll need to have the proper procedures in place to manage POPI regulations, keep employees updated on how to avoid phishing scams, and constantly back up your data. Most importantly, you will need adequate cover. A hack can potentially bankrupt a small business, whereas the average monthly cybercrime instalment premium is generally less than R1000.


Many small businesses rely on vehicles to help them transport their goods and services. The pandemic has had a profound impact on how small businesses use their vehicles. Unfortunately, road safety in South Africa is often not the best. In fact, collisions and vehicles overturning outweigh all of Santam’s commercial claims quite substantially.  

To help you mitigate this, it is important to take the following into consideration:

  • Make sure the business’s tyres are in the best possible condition. Regularly check the tyre pressure, tread, and condition of the side walls.
  • Ensure the vehicle lights are always in good condition and that they are switched on whenever driving, even during the day.
  • Regularly check both the front and rear brakes.
  • Always make sure that drivers are well rested.

Weather the storm

Fire, water, wind and hail make up a significant number of claims for small businesses, especially during the holidays. If your business has a premises, pay particular attention to various maintenance issues. For example:

  • Regularly remove waste from the premises, including clearing your gutters.
  • Many fires have an electrical origin.  Have an electrician check the electrical installation regularly.
  • Make sure your fire equipment is properly hung and clearly marked.
  • Store goods that are susceptible to water damage away from places where they could be damaged.
  • Check for broken and damaged roof tiles.
  • Ensure your building insurance is up to date.

Prioritise your human capital

Your employees are your most valuable asset, and if they are not adequately taken care of, they can be the source of your biggest liabilities.

To ensure your business functions at its best, make sure that all your employees understand the hazards to their health and safety within the workplace. In addition to this, offer as much financial and emotional support as your company can afford, to encourage your employees to keep on producing at a good standard.

To find out more about our insurance solutions best suited for your business, speak to your intermediary.

Santam is an authorised financial services provider (licence number 3416).

Santam is a proud Partner of the NSBC

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