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Key take-outs from Cape Town's Small Business Growth Conference

The Small Business Growth Conference which took place at the CTICC on 24 March kicked off a new era in small business development in the province. Delegates from all over the Western Cape gathered to learn, grow, and invest in their sustainability and development. Keynotes, exhibitions, and consultations provided unprecedented direct access to some of South Africa's most prolific business leaders.
A great highlight of the event was the Consultation Station proudly sponsored by Santam - A unique platform where delegates could receive expert advice on various business challenges from top industry experts who consulted on business strategy, finance, human resources, marketing and legal matters.

"I was fortunate to be able to attend the Small Business Growth Conference at the Cape Town Convention Centre. The calibre of the speakers was impressive with a wealth of valuable information being shared pertinent to the small-medium sized enterprise. With experts from various industries taking to the stage to share their knowledge as well as the innovative 'Consultation Station' where delegates could access one on one time with them, the conference was a catalyst for both inspiration and practical strategies for businesses in the growth phase." - Jacqui Mackway-Wilson, digital media consultant at Go Social SA.

Kick-starting the keynote sessions was Mike Joubert from The BrandsRock Group with an inspiring presentation on how to build a sustainable business in a competitive market: "Your business starts and ends with the person who is going to acquire your services. Tell your story - this spurs customer engagement. Be inspired, focus on the vision and the people who drive it, and be consistent."

Following Mike was Catherine Wijnberg, founder of Fetola. Her topic was 'Four steps to fortune', i.e. building a strong vision, planning for a long business life, preparing for growth and creating access to resources: "Successful businesses are those that can see a downturn coming, turn it around and reinvent themselves. Systems and processes are crucial in growing a successful business."

Precious Mvulane from GAD Consulting Services explained key processes that need to be followed in accordance to The New Companies Act: "Focus on building the capacity to fill the gaps you'd normally outsource and don't look at the companies act in isolation - always go back and look at your specific business requirements." She also reminded delegates to urgently convert from CC to PTY before the end of April to avoid fees.

Next up was Marcel Klaassen, executive head of growth at FNB who advised delegates on the importance of establishing a relationship with their banks: "Talk to your banks upfront about usage, channels and approval and pricing processes. Understand your business growth phase and stay abreast with the economic/legislative factors at play in South Africa - They can be crucial in your relationship with your bank."

Twenty top industry suppliers for the SMME market, including the likes of MWEB, Caban Investments, SEDA, Sage Pastel, Principa and Quickbooks to name a few, exhibited their products and services. This was a fantastic opportunity for delegates to engage with exhibitors and compare the performance of competitive suppliers.

Kgomotso More, principal consultant at Change Tactics kick-started the second keynote session with his topic on people management: "People are the most important asset in your business and building and retaining talent requires providing challenges for advancement. It's crucial to have open communication and empower employees to manage problems themselves."

MWEB's head of small business, Paul Hobden followed with an interactive presentation on how to use the power of the Internet for growth: "Technology is the driver of change and how businesses leverage this is imperative to success. Connectivity increases productivity, saves you money and can differentiate you from your competitors. If you're not online, you shouldn't have a business."

Following Hobden was Rebecca Cronje, founder of Cultivate Communications, who spoke about the value of cultivating a positive reputation: "Your reputation is an asset. Know what your message is and have a consistent image that reinforces that message. Engage media with regular and fresh content, put yourself out there, and manage your online profile - if you don't, someone else will."

Closing the conference with a thought-provoking presentation on website optimisation was Leon Lategan, founder of Conversion Camel: "It's not about having a site that 'looks pretty'- it's about functionality and ultimately, increased conversions. Don't make visitors think - Match content to desire and engage visitors with the most relevant content."

Jaco van Zyl, MD at Living Your Brand (producers of the conference), had this to say: "We are truly happy with how well our Cape Town edition of the Small Business Growth Conference was received. We've had phenomenal support from our event partners and attendees and we are excited for what the future may bring for this conference in Cape Town."
To all our sponsors: Santam, My ViGO, MWEB, FNB, Scheckter's Organic Energy, Sage VIP, Cape Chamber of Commerce and the Entrepreneurs' Organisation (EO), thank you for your contribution to this successful event.

Delegate and Exhibition bookings are open for the Johannesburg Small Business Growth Conference taking place on 14 July 2014. Book now to avoid disappointment!


Living Your Brand's press office

Living Your Brand
Living Your Brand offers superior event coordination and marketing strategy development, exclusively within the South African Luxury market. This includes elite corporate events, innovative brand activations, email marketing campaigns and inspired brand publicity.
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