Entrepreneurship is not just a matter of coming up with a bright idea. It happens when someone is consumed with the desire to sell that great idea to the rest of the world. And the “sell” part sounds so easy.
But Alan Shannon, Head: Relationship Banking Sales at Nedbank, is very familiar with the fiddly bits that demand attention to detail that trip up many a fancy money-making idea.
“We see a lot of technically savvy people coming through our doors who don’t realise the kind of commitment and attention to detail you need when starting a business. They start to dip into the entrepreneurial market while still keeping a foot in full-time employment. But to get real traction, you need to invest in your idea,” he says.
That’s why the bank that has extensive experience in serving small businesses has developed a fantastic new toolkit that outlines in plain and simple English the main challenges facing small businesses and ways to tackle them, with all the banking jargon and business gobbledygook removed.
It’s called The Essential Guide for Small-Business Owners and is available at any Nedbank branch or online at www.nedbank.co.za/business
The site’s small business section has something for everyone. Theoretically, someone who’s just had a great money-making idea, using The Essential Guide, could click onto the site and create his company without ever leaving his home.
The Guide outlines the business basics – choosing a business entity, registering, tax considerations and identifying advisors – it shows how to keep financial information, business plans and financials and emphasises in great detail how to manage a banking relationship.
“It is very important to establish a banking partner relationship early on and to realise it’s one that’s going to last a lifetime. Working with a big organisation like Nedbank we want to establish a good relationship as early as possible.
“Some people see it as a must-have relationship, but it’s much more than that. We partner all through the life stages of an SME,” Shannon says.
The start-up relationship is a banking one, not a funding one. Nedbank’s site has links to start-up funding (“Finfind” is an online one-stop solution for access to finance for small businesses), but its main focus is providing a long-term supportive relationship.
Every small business opening an account at Nedbank is allocated a dedicated banker whose job it is to form an intimate relationship with the owner and to understand in intimate detail its prospects and challenges, Shannon says.
He is particularly proud of Nedbank’s Business Bundle which provides a suite of business essentials for just R219 per month. Shannon says it’s the “best value-for-money offering in the market”.
The deal gives you 35 transactions a month and unlimited inter-account transfers, internet banking and app access, cheque cards and a choice of credit cards, and SMS notification. Greenbacks membership opens up a world of value-added services – 15% off your rental or purchase price of your first point-of-sale device, 15% off Nedbank’s Accounting solution, five employees free on Payroll Lite and NetBank Business internet banking for an additional R99 a month.
The Guide’s last section, ‘Understanding financial ratios’, is something all budding and established entrepreneurs should do themselves the favour or reading.
Someone who’s just developed a new way to construct roads, or to straighten hair, or to grow tomatoes probably doesn’t spend much time thinking about point-of-sale devices, employee health plans, the hidden cost of accounting, or how to keep track of VAT purchases.
And that is precisely why Nedbank has committed itself to fostering small businesses. The “fiddly bits” so often to smother a dream before it has borne fruit.
“Small business is critical to Nedbank. All the people working for small businesses are taking home salaries. They are consumers with needs and that is important to Nedbank,” Shannon says.
Nedbank’s not only fostering grassroots conditions to stimulate entrepreneurship and to widen business skills, it’s working hard on the macro end too. A five-year partnership with the dti, creating and developing small businesses servicing the government’s Public Works Programme has just been renewed.
“As a long-term partner to small business, Nedbank has thrown its institutional weight behind government’s stated commitment to fostering small business to drive employment creation,” Shannon says.
Nedbank also works with other incubators in a drive to create a steady stream of new small businesses who will hopefully become prosperous, lifelong partners in business.
And its institutional partnership with the Companies and Intellectual Property Commission means anyone signing up for a business account at Nedbank can at the same time, register his or her company on the bank’s site as it interacts seamlessly with the CIPC. It’s only available to South African citizens with a valid ID; foreigners have to apply directly to the CIPC.
Brought to you by Nedbank