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SMMEs need to position now for a powerful start to 2024

SMMEs should not allow themselves to be distracted by the forthcoming holiday season. Makgosi Mabaso, Managing Executive: Home and Business Broadband Solutions from  Telkom Business, says SMMEs should rather be looking at ways to position themselves to start the new year with a bang.

“Depending on your business, it’s all too easy to focus on the opportunities of the holiday season, or on your need to relax after a busy year,” Mabaso says. “But there’s a reason people make new year’s resolutions—we instinctively know that how we begin the year will set the tone for the whole 12 months. Given the economic headwinds that SMMEs are contending with, it’s even more important to ensure a strong forward trajectory in the new year.”

Mabaso says that a tailored, affordable and reliable connectivity solution is a great starting point for SMME success. Connectivity enables SMMEs to access information and services cost-effectively via the cloud, enabling them to improve their value proposition, while digital platforms provide ways to reach out to new market segments and interact directly with customers and business partners. Telkom Business’s offer to SMMEs is built on its core connectivity offering, with a range of fibre, LTE and fixed-line data and voice packages. It can also enable SMMEs to unify their communication through Host- and Premise-based PABX/Unified Communications solutions.

Another key issue for SMMEs is security. Cybercrime is at an all time high, and yet SMMEs typically lack the resources to keep up with a rapidly evolving threat landscape. Telkom Business provides the missing piece of the security puzzle for SMMEs via its partnership with Blackfog, an innovative, leading supplier of cybersecurity solutions.

Even over the festive season, says Mabaso, clients can rest assured that their business’s and their clients’ information is safe, thanks to BlackFog and Telkom Business.

“The South African e-commerce market is worth around R225 billion, and yet only 20% of SMMEs use e-commerce regularly—that’s a massive untapped opportunity there for the taking.” Mabaso says. “Based on our extensive in-house customer research, Telkom Business has created a comprehensive offering that makes it easy for SMMEs to enter the e-commerce space.

To assist SMMEs realise the benefits of digital channels, Telkom Business offers a range of add-on products and services. These include alternate power solutions, and the free use of YEP!, the company’s portal dedicated to helping SMMEs transition onto digital platforms. YEP! essentially creates a digital ecosystem for SMMEs, providing help with essential basics like building a website and accepting digital payments. YEP!, the Yellow Pages reinvented for the Digital Age, is also a digital marketplace where SMMEs can market their services.

Telkom Business has a range of software-as-a-service offerings aimed at helping SMMEs achieve operational excellence. They include include Mobiz, a smart marketing tool, and office and accounting automation by Zoho.

Special offers such a premium membership of the National Small Business Chamber (worth R3 950) for the first 1 000 purchasers of LTE or fibre packages are constantly being unveiled.

A key challenge for SMMEs is accessing finance for working capital. TelkomLend enables SMMEs to access working capital at preferential rates.

Telkom Business also understands that SMMEs have a time deficit, and so struggle to keep up with all the content that could assist them. Telkom Business created Blaze to address this issue. Blaze is a dedicated digital platform that aggregates all the content relevant to SMMEs and their success—events, master classes, podcasts and so on.

The right technology and connective solutions can help SMMEs lower costs, reach and acquire customers more cheaply, access resources and streamline their business processes. In fact, smart use of technology means that SMMEs can disrupt established industries by adopting models that put the customer first.

“SMMEs are built around their founders, and technology provides a way for them to leverage their skills and passion, and turn their big dreams into reality,” Mabaso concludes. “SMMEs have to digitalise in order to compete, With Telkom Business, they have all the tools and support they will need to make the move—and hit the ground running in the new year.

“If business is a race, we aim to be the SMME’s trainer and track shoes.”

Article first published on Gauteng Lifestyle Magazine

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