As local small and medium enterprises continue to face a unique set of challenges, exasperated by rising government debt and the weakening Namibia Dol lar, a Windhoek-based businesswoman has identified an opportunity to assist small business owners to market their products.
The opportunity is in the form of a small business market day that enables SMEs to market products directly to clients. Martha April, owner of Martha’s Soap Manufacturers, will host the third Khomasdal Market Day on 1 October 2022. “I am hosting a market day for people in and around Khomasdal. I came up with this idea to help my fellow SME owners sell their products and help them grow as I did. Many of them sell from their houses which is limited market penetration and is not ideal,” said April.
She added that small business exhibitors are quite excited to showcase their products and meet potential clients and April appealed to established businesses to support the initiative. The upcoming Market Day will be hosted in front of the Khomasdal SME incubation centre in Hans Diederich Street.
Meanwhile, local economist Josef Sheehama recently cautioned that the number of Namibians interested in starting their own business has significantly reduced since 2014. “Trying economic conditions don’t necessarily mean a death sentence for smaller companies. The economic growth in Namibia has slowed down, and the inflation rate, interest rate, crime and unemployment figures remain ominously high. While this kind of economic climate is challenging for businesses, particularly SMEs, there are many measures that entrepreneurs can implement to survive these tough times. Small businesses should review all their processes and operations to ensure they are achieving maximum efficiency,” said Sheehama.
He further advised that while expense management is essential for survival, entrepreneurs need to look at the situation strategically, rather than just cutting expenses, and ask themselves how the process by which their service or product is produced can be streamlined.
Said Sheehama: “In these tough economic times, it is important for small business owners to reassess what they are doing to protect their businesses from burglary, robbery, shoplifting and fraud.” Sheehama also pointed out that networking during an economic downturn can be useful to understand how other businesses are coping.
Networking includes participating in events such as the Khomasdal Market Day as well as similar product exhibitions. “You may also discover new opportunities, customers, staff, suppliers, and business partners with minimal cost to your business. Focusing on your core work and core competencies can be a good idea too,” Sheehama advised.
Moreover, the economist urged entrepreneurs to make time to focus on growth strategies, saying this will enable them to adapt quickly to market conditions. “Another problem entrepreneurs have in common today is that they fail to delegate. If you find yourself holding onto tasks that can be done by someone else in your business, hand them over and do it soon.
When you do delegate, make sure the person is up to the task, knows what is expected, and has the authority to complete the task,” Sheehama advised. “If you are going to delegate, do it in the right way by avoiding the boomerang effect. If you have the right people in place who work well as a team, they will be able to help you manage and implement your strategy for winning in a tough economy….
This means you have more time to focus on growing your business and will have time to find new ways to win in a competitive and tough business climate,” Sheehama stated.