The secrets of successful business

SME Research

14 March 2007:- With SME Survey 2007 research getting underway, principal researcher Arthur Goldstuck reveals that for the first time, the study will seek to provide answers to perhaps the most important question facing the nascent enterprise: What are the secrets of a successful business?Sponsored by Standard Bank and Fujitsu Siemens Computers, SME Survey is the definitive says Goldstuck. “SME Survey has previously focused on identifying those factors which influence competitiveness and enhance the potential for success for the emerging business. This year, we are shifting the focus from the enabling environment to the infrastructure, tools, information and communications technology and expertise which successful businesses use. We hope this research will provide something of a ‘best practice’ guideline to which emerging companies can refer to as crib notes which can influence their success.”

“2007 is our third consecutive year as primary sponsor of the SME Survey. We believe that the Small Medium Enterprise (SME) market plays a critical role in the continued growth of our economy, and therefore we expend great time and resources into supporting initiatives like this that accelerate the development of SMEs, “says Melt van der Spuy, Director, Business Support, Business and Private Banking, Standard Bank.

“Our involvement helps us gain a better understanding of the business segment, so that we can better service our customers and develop relevant solutions that meet their needs. It further equips us to disseminate valuable information to small business owners, “he adds.

While access to resources such as finance and technology is critical for success van der Spuy warns that access in itself does not make an idea viable. “I encourage all aspirant business owners, even those who have been in business for some time to write a thorough business plan. This is an essential tool which will help them think through all aspects of the business; while also serving as a compelling case should they require support from a bank or other investors.”

Mark Wilson is managing director of Fujitsu Siemens Computers South Africa. He says his organisation is focused on providing technology solutions that support SME business imperatives. “The SME has particular needs – in terms of technology, availability of products which are easy to install and use is essential. Also, there is the question of support. Most companies depend on their PCs, notebooks or servers for daily business; if there is a problem, it has to be solved as rapidly as possible with as little hassle as possible.”

Addressing these requirements, he says Fujitsu Siemens Computers has established a strong partnership model through which its products are available, which includes large retailers for easy purchase. “Uniquely, we offer the SME a support package which includes home or office collection and delivery. This offers unmatched convenience for the business owner who typically does not have the benefit of an IT manager.”

Goldstuck adds that the Survey will also examine the role and success of business incubators in the South African SME scene. A recently concluded snap survey indicates that more visibility of incubators is necessary if they are to have a significant effect on business development. “A random sample of 202 SMEs indicates that 41% of business decision-makers are aware of the concept of business incubators, while 20% are aware of the role played by an incubator,” Goldstuck notes. “Until more business owners and aspirant business owners are aware of what an incubator does and how to benefit from its services, the impact of these initiatives will be limited.”

This is confirmed by the finding that when the support services of incubators are explained, 53% of respondents say they would be willing to join an incubator programme.

SME Survey research commences 15 March 2007.

About Standard Bank

Standard Bank Group is a global bank with African roots. It is one of the big four full-service banks in South Africa and distinguished by its extensive operations in 18 other African countries. Outside the African continent Standard Bank Group operations span to 21 countries, with emerging market focus. Our customers benefit from our knowledge and expertise in emerging markets, coupled with our global outlook evident in our daily dealings with customers.

Standard Bank Group is the largest South African banking group ranked by assets and earnings, and had total assets of over R755 billion at 31 December 2005, with more than 40 000 people employed worldwide.

The Group has played a central role in the development of the Southern African economy for more than 144 years. It has done this by constantly aligning its presence in the market place to the evolving needs of the economy, and delivering relevant banking and financial services.

We have also focused on implementing a customer-centric and service-driven model in all our business.

Our three main pillars of business are Personal and Business Banking; Corporate and Investment Banking and Investment Management and Life Insurance. Across these areas, technology is a common thread, giving our customers tailor made banking solutions.

About Fujitsu Siemens Computers

Fujitsu Siemens Computers is the leading European IT provider with a strategic focus on next-generation Mobility and Dynamic Data Center products, services and solutions. With a portfolio of exceptional depth, our offering extends from handhelds through desktops to enterprise-class IT infrastructure solutions. Fujitsu Siemens Computers has a presence in all key markets across Europe, the Middle East and Africa. Leveraging the strengths, innovation and global reach of our joint shareholders, Fujitsu Limited and Siemens AG, we make sure we meet the needs of customers: large corporations, small and medium enterprises and private users. The company is a member of the United Nations Global Compact initiative.

For more information on Fujitsu Siemens Computers, please visit:

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