Five resources every business can tap into
As a small business owner, you’re looking to take advantage of every opportunity available to make sure that your enterprise is a success. To help in this here’s a selection of some great free resources for South African businesses to help you on your way.
1. SME Toolkit
The SME toolkit is a small business resource site, set up by the International Finance Corporation, a member of the World Bank Group. The aim of the Toolkit is to provide a wealth of information to small and medium businesses. It has how-to articles, business forms, financial tools, online training courses, business information, and free software tailor-made for the small and medium sized enterprise. From this one website, you can track your expenses, calculate your financial fitness, build a great business plan, begin your market research, and much more. It’s among the most comprehensive free business resources out there.
The Small Business Forum (SMF) is a network of South African entrepreneurs and small business owners that works to provide support for its members through workshops, networking, resource-sharing and by providing cost-effective advertising opportunities directed towards the small business owner. Membership is free, and the potential benefits many. Networking especially is one of the most important aspects to success as a small business owner, and forums such as the SMF can bring in new business, new partnerships and new frontiers.
The tax man is popularly characterised as the businessperson’s mortal foe, but the South African Revenue Service’s website is an attempt to reduce the antagonism. You’ll find in-depth answers to any tax related enquiry you might have, from forms to FAQs. It’s here that you’ll discover whether your business is eligible for a rebate, and the latest trade statistics. It’s quite possible that you’re not getting the best you can out of the tax system, so boost your knowledge here.
Behind the Department of Trade and Industry’s clunky site design is invaluable information for businesses. From information on tenders and a suppliers database, to information on government subsidies for business. Depending on your field, you may find yourself eligible for government support to help your business grow, especially if you’re in an industry that the government is looking to expand nationally. There’s a wealth of information about South Africa’s trade agreements – a studied look may reveal an untapped export market for your goods or services. You may discover what you need to take your business to the next level.
5. Learn online
Whether it’s getting ahead in a new field, refining your business skills, or adding a new service, you don’t need to be kept from learning by limited monetary resources. The internet age has brought a new approach to advanced education with Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs). Among the more established sites where you can learn are Khan Academy, Coursera, EdX, and the South African GetSmarter and 42courses. New knowledge can bring new opportunities – so don’t stop learning.