Threats causing sleepless nights for Small Business Owners

One year ago, Arthur Goldstuck, MD of World Wide Worx and principal researcher for SME Survey released a few preliminary results of South Africa’s largest annual small and medium enterprise survey. The 2015 report revealed probably the biggest shift in what SME’s considered to be the biggest external threat to their businesses. According to Goldstuck and his team, 71% of respondents cited load shedding as the biggest threat their business faced. Almost double the amount of participants who named crime as their biggest threat, at 36%. Previous SME Surveys revealed that crime, the high cost of fuel and interest rates are what kept small and medium enterprise owners awake at night.

One year later, we wanted to know if load shedding was still the biggest perceived threat for South African businesses, and conducted a survey on the Middel & Partners website asking visitors which factors they felt would hamper business growth in the final quarter of 2016.

While electricity supply did feature on this year’s list of perceived SME threats, it featured significantly lower, with only 17% of participants noting it as a threat. So what’s the biggest threat businesses believe they face in 2016? With 21% of the votes, it turns out to be government regulations.

It comes as no surprise that South African SME’s feel uncertain about their business’s survival in our current economic climate. Sudden changes in policies and political positions earlier this year left a bad taste in local and international mouths, and business owners became painfully aware of their vulnerability to factors they don’t necessarily control.

On top of that, the new BEE codes became effective leaving most business owners in the dark, believing that the new codes could harm their business. If this week’s headlines are to be believed, there might also be a rocky road ahead with SARS.

Says Anton Fourie, Partner at Middel & Partners: “Ignorance is most certainly not bliss when it comes to your business’ BEE and tax matters. When we consult businesses, transparency and timing are two key factors that drive the partnership with clients. And our aim is to in essence future-proof our clients’ business, so that regardless of the regulatory change, they are well prepared”.

If you fall within the 21% of respondents who feel uncertain about government regulations and the impact it could potentially have on your business, email or call (011) 958 0702.


Middel & Partners is registered with the Independent Regulatory Board for Auditors (IRBA) as B-BBEE Approved Registered Auditors and is registered as JSE recognised auditors.