The 2010 FIFA World Cup is around the corner and South African businesses in all provinces are anticipating a huge boost in economic growth as the country becomes flooded with tourists and national migrants alike to experience this spectacular event.

Pete Flynn, MD of local specialist Web application development company White Wall Web, says this is a great opportunity for small- to medium-sized businesses (SMBs) and Small Office Home Office (SOHO) entrepreneurs to level the playing field against larger, generally more competitive companies by becoming more creative in selling innovative products online and claiming their piece of the 2010 financial pie.
“The 2010 FIFA World Cup is expected to attract approximately 560 000 ticket holders as well as around 360 000 non-ticket holders.
“The current trend among international visitors is to research their stay, book their flights, visits to tourist attractions and, as is the case in 2010, their game tickets online. Gone are the days of phoning around or sending emails requesting info – if South African SMBs and SOHOs haven’t got an online presence yet, they should be heading in this direction now,” he advises.
The reasons for this are numerous, he continues, and the sheer number of businesses that would benefit from being online is astronomical. Accommodation (hotels, B&B’s, guest houses), food and drink suppliers, clothing manufacturers, security, leisure resorts, tour operators, local and national transportation, the provision of temporary staff and even translation services all fall into the category of businesses who should be online to take advantage of 2010 opportunities.
“South African businesses have always been known for their innovativeness and their abilities to think outside the box,” says Flynn. “Now is the time to bring their unique product offerings to the international market.”
Travel is the number one selling commodity online, with sales of almost $100-billion (R778-billion) being logged on an annual basis. If this proves anything it is that consumers are using the Internet and trusting ecommerce far more easily than before. So, it is vital that South African businesses begin marketing their products to global standards, and this means using the Web.
“While we may be facing an economic downturn right now, it is expected that late 2009 early 2010 will be the beginning of the global economic upturn, which would mean that visitors travelling to South Africa to watch FIFA games will also, undoubtedly, want to travel and experience South Africa on a more national scale.
“However, businesses that are not online now, showcasing their offerings and highlighting their range of products and services will just as undoubtedly miss the boat. Trips are being planned, flights are being booked and itineraries are being cemented. Businesses should not wait any longer – they should invest in broadband, purchase Web space and start using those innovative minds to get their products in front of the Billion plus Internet users online today.
“One of the simplest ways to achieve this would be partnering with a solid Web development company that can handle the nitty gritty application development part of the e-business journey.”
There are many Web application developers running services on South African soil today. The key is to find the right developer who will be able to translate your business needs elegantly into a web solution. In the world of web development, it’s easy to get caught up in the technology – adding features and functionality unnecessarily. Partnering with a development company that understands your business goals intimately will ultimately make for a higher return on your online investments.