Frequent and prolonged power failures are the top concern for South Africa’s small and medium enterprises (SMEs), overtaking other pressing concerns like access to finance, competition and crime.This is one of the findings from the SME Survey 2015, released today, which found that this year has seen a dramatic shift in what SMEs consider to be the biggest threats to their businesses.
According to World Wide Worx MD Arthur Goldstuck, power failure was cited by 71% of respondents – almost exactly double the number who cited crime, which rated 36%. “This category is obviously driven to a large extent by those concerns that re highest in the public mind,” he says. “The reason we have seen such a dramatic jump for the category is due to the cumulative effects of ongoing load shedding. While it has been punted as a temporary problem, it is clear that load shedding is going to be with us for the foreseeable future.”
The impact of load shedding is more severe for SMEs than for big corporates, he adds.
“It is essential that small businesses take action to mitigate the effects of load shedding, says Goldstuck, and backing up data could be a good place to start. “Backing up any less than on a daily basis could prove to be disastrous for an SME – yet the figures demonstrate that the proportion of SMEs doing that has risen from only 30,5% in 2014 to a still-low 40% in 2015.
“However, I anticipate that backing up will become far more of a priority for SMEs as we move forward.”