While it’s true that one of the biggest challenges most small and medium enterprises (SMEs) face is accessing the funding they need to grow their operations, supporting the sustainable success of an SME requires an approach that goes far beyond merely providing the money.
That’s according to Alan Shannon, Executive of Small Business Services at Nedbank, who says that most SMEs need much more than just financial support. They require holistic, business-building services that empower them to succeed by strengthening every aspect of their operations. ‘And that’s precisely what Nedbank’s Small Business Services offering is designed to do,’ says Alan.
‘While Nedbank is fully committed to helping SMEs overcome their funding challenges by providing them with the flexible and affordable finance they need, it also strives to add value to small-business clients in as many other ways as possible. The support we offer ranges from zero-fee banking packages to a variety of easy-to-use customer payment options as well as integrated business solutions and support tailored to every growth stage of their business.’
One of the most popular and valuable sources of support that Nedbank offers is its free-to-join networking portal called SimplyBiz.co.za. This free business development platform is available to all South African entrepreneurs (whether they bank with Nedbank or not), offering free assistance in the form of advertising, coaching, support material and various strategic initiatives. It’s also an excellent way for entrepreneurs to network, collaborate and access business leads.
Besides that, Nedbank Small Business Services offers business owners a free Essential Guide for Small-business Owners, which is digital publication that can be downloaded at nedbank.co.za. It covers the fundamental decisions every business owner faces, offers guidance on common mistakes to avoid when setting up a business, and helps entrepreneurs be better prepared for engagements with their bank.
Nedbank has also partnered with global accounting leader, Xero, to offers its small-business clients access to world-class business accounting services, including a direct data feed from their business account into the Xero platform, making it quick and easy to stay on top of their business finances.
From a transactional point of view, Nedbank Small Business Services understands the challenges that many SMEs face in terms of processing payments from customers for goods and services. To help small businesses address these challenges, Nedbank has developed a selection of payment solutions, ranging from its PocketPOS mobile point-of-sale system to various cardless payment solutions, including an innovative tap-on-phone functionality that allows merchants to receive customer payments via their smartphone.
Importantly, all these small-business offerings are delivered via a combination of convenient digital platforms as well as dedicated support from Nedbank’s national network of small-business relationship bankers, who are available to offer practical assistance and guidance to business owners whenever they need it.
‘Our small-business bankers are supported by a round-the-clock contact centre, and business owners have a variety of digital ways of staying on top of their finances,’ Alan explains, ‘including Online Banking, our award-winning Money app and innovative MoneyTracker feature that enables clients to track their personal and business finances, set up budgets, generate invoices and so much more.’
Of course, while Nedbank provides this vast selection of small-business support services, it is still first and foremost a trusted financial partner to SMEs of all shapes and sizes across South Africa. Alan points out that Nedbank Small Business Services offers a range of business finance options, ranging from overdrafts and business loans to gap funding for business clients who use the bank’s point-of-sale devices and require a short-term advance while they await payments that are due to them.
This unique and value-adding combination of tailored finance provision and practical business-building support has earned Nedbank Small Business Services numerous industry accolades over the years. Most recently the bank was recognised as the Best SME Bank in South Africa at the Asian Banker Excellence in Retail Financial Services International Awards 2022.
‘While we don’t do what we do to win awards, this prestigious accolade from Asian Banker is a strong confirmation that we are delivering on our purpose to use our financial expertise to do good for our small-business clients,’ Alan concludes, ‘and we fully intend continuing to lead in our industry through innovation, digital excellence and a true partnership-led approach that help South Africa’s SMEs realise their full potential.’