5 Growth areas for your business in 2021

5 Growth areas for your business in 2021

Reading Time: 3 minutes

We all understand that growth is essential for any business. With that said, we also know that growth isn’t easy and many organizations struggle to find growth areas that work for them.

If you’re currently struggling to grow your business or are looking for new strategies, we want to inspire you. Here are our top 5 growth areas for you to incorporate into your 2021 business plan:

  1. Sales & Marketing Alignment
  2. Customer Experience
  3. Digital Transformation
  4. Data-driven Transformation
  5. Training

Request a callback from our Funding Specialists


1. Sales & Marketing Alignment

If you want to see effective results, your sales and marketing teams should not be working in silos. When you align these two areas, you enable our business to increase conversion rates, generate higher revenue, and retain more customers through streamlined sales and marketing funnel.

A collaborative sales and marketing team will not only convert more leads but also generate higher quality leads too. When a strong sales team informs the marketing team on what a ‘good quality lead’ looks like, they’re far more likely to find them.


2. Customer Experience

You may think you understand your customers but you still have to constantly ask yourself, “How well do I really know my customer?” because, as we know, people are ever-changing.

In order to retain your customers, you have to constantly put them first. You can do this by understanding what it is they enjoy about your brand, and what they don’t. Focusing on creating a memorable and positive customer experience goes beyond just making the sale. Having a follow-up journey and personalized added extras will show your customers that you value their business and will go the extra mile to keep them coming back.


Related: A quick guide to Bridging Finance


3. Digital Transformation

2020 showed us that we live in a time of a full-scale digital revolution. If it’s not online, is it really there?

The power of technology has allowed any type of business to seamlessly fit into our lives. Going digital has also made it easier for businesses to simplify and streamline their internal processes for a more efficient way of working. For example, using online tools to store your data like accounting or human resource documents can free up your time and physical space to do more.


4. Data-driven Transformation

The great thing about the digital age is that most of the data you need is readily available at your fingertips. However, the biggest factor that should inform any decisions you make within your business should be based on customer feedback.

Using data from sources such as your cancellation feedback, customer reviews, and even your customers’ behavioral patterns on your website to inform what changes you need to make to your products and services, will add greater value to the growth of your business than a decision made by one person.


Related: Gear up your business for growth


5. Training

Ongoing training is essential to the growth of any business and should always be a focus area year after year. Whether it’s technical training for machinery, customer service, or sales training, any form of educational improvement will spark new life into the quality of work your team pushes out. And it will show in your profits too.

By investing in your people, you’re directly investing in your business as well.

As we go into the new year, it’s important to stay one step ahead of the game and plan for success as far as possible. Use our 5 growth areas to kickstart your 2021 business projects with a bang.

5 Ways to support local businesses this Heritage Month

5 Ways to support local businesses this Heritage Month

Reading Time: 3 minutes

With the move to Alert Level 2 we should see an increase in economic activity, and for many SMEs this is a great opportunity to try get back on track. The Delta variant means the rules for Alert Level 2 have been strengthened from last time, but it’s still a positive move for businesses. While we are still practicing social distancing, there’s no better time to show our support for local businesses than now.

We’ve unpacked 5 ways we can all support each other as South African business owners and customers.


Find a local supplier

While we all love the convenience of being able to shop online and secure our purchases with the click of a button, in many instances, there are local businesses that have exactly what you’re looking for. Spend a little bit of time finding a supplier or store near you that stocks what you are interested in.

Many small businesses are happy to order from a supplier (if they are out of stock) and have goods delivered to you.

Chief operations officer of Rising Tide Capital, Jay Savulich, says “The most important thing to remember if you want to help small businesses in your community is that you are an investor in these businesses. Try to be as thoughtful as possible with where you as a consumer invest your dollars.”


Reschedule, don’t cancel

If you were set to attend an event, or you’ve booked a service but something’s come up (we all know, life happens), rather ask to reschedule your appointment.

Many small businesses that host events rely on this income to stay afloat. Rather than asking for a refund, commit to attending the event when a new date has been released or you can donate the funds to the business. The same goes for services if you cannot make it, reschedule ahead of time so the business can give your time slot to another customer.

This way the business is still able to make an income and you still keep your business for a later stage.


Related: 5 Ways Your Small Business Can Prepare For Black Friday


Spread the word

Giving your favourite local business a shout out on social media can go a long way. When you are particularly happy with the service or product from a particular business, follow and mention them on social media.

If they have a review portal, give them a thorough review of your experience with them. You can also go on business review sites like HelloPeter.


When in doubt, buy a voucher

For those businesses that are not yet open, there’s always an option to purchase a voucher as a gift for yourself or a friend. While you may not be able to take advantage of a business’s services or products right now, purchasing a voucher ensures they have made a sale and will welcome your business in the future.

In many cases, when customers buy gift vouchers, this helps keep the cash flow steady and means they are able to pay wages to employees. Doing your part can definitely go a long way.


Related: What is Bridging finance in South Africa?


Donate or volunteer

While we know money may be tight for many during this pandemic, if your income has not been affected, it is imperative to continue your support for local businesses in any way possible. If you are able to donate funds to a local business in your community, you could be saving someone’s job and livelihood to provide for their family. If you are cash strapped, give the gift of time by volunteering to help out in the business whether it be by cleaning, packing, or even delivering their products to customers. There is always a way to help.

Women in Business: Yolanda Sing, Chloe Consultants

Women in Business: Yolanda Sing, Chloe Consultants

Reading Time: 2 minutes

 Yolanda Sing

Founder of Chloe Consultants

The Business

Chloe Consultants was founded by Yolanda Sing, a Senior Human Resource Executive who has worked extensively and internationally in 15 different countries.

Her method for individual and organizational transformation is unique, as she utilizes “equine partners “to become part of the learning intervention; they provide authentic experiences and feedback on the effectiveness of our communication styles.

She has applied her learning to develop Emirati women in the Middle East.

She has successfully developed a blueprint for her unique offering in South-Africa, Dubai, Qatar, United Kingdom, and Kenya.

Her latest offering, post corona is a Virtual Equine Leadership and Coaching Program.

The company specializes in:
C – 
H – 
Human Resource Consulting
L – 
Leadership Development
O – 
Organizational Development
E – 
Equine Assisted Learning


Related: Women Powering SA: Monique Pasqualle, HR Cartel


Yolanda’s story


Chloe Consultants has been in operation for more than 12 years and that is by far our biggest achievement.

Yolanda has also been awarded the MOST INNOVATIVE LEADERSHIP TRAINING CONSULTANT 2020 – South Africa by Corporate Vision  2020.

Yolanda has a professional profile which includes qualifications such as M.B.A, B.A Hons in Clinical Psychology, Hons in Business Management Administration, and a B.A Personnel Management. She is a qualified Executive Coach and has also published her first book; “Power in the Paddock”.


The current pandemic has hit many sectors hard.  We had to completely pivot our business towards the new normal and had to develop a Virtual Equine Transformational Leadership Product.

Related: COVID-19 SME Support: Business Brightspot Listing


Now, more than ever, the world is ready for motivated, inspired, empowered, and re-energized Leaders and Teams who are reset for a new change. The equine leadership program helps to achieve that.


Get in touch if you would like to find out more about professional equine training for leadership qualities.

Contact Yolanda Sing and the Chloe Consultants team at yolanda@chloeinsa.co.za

COVID-19 SME Support: Business Brightspot Listing

COVID-19 SME Support: Business Brightspot Listing

Reading Time: 2 minutes

In this edition of the Business Brighspot blog, we’re covering two South African SMEs who have taken a knock during lockdown but have managed to keep their doors open.

Alice Taylor, Multiply Furniture

About your business

At Multiply Furniture we design, manufacture and retail a range of Scandi-lifestyle furniture and essentials, using both cutting edge technology and age-old carpentry methods. Our furniture is hand finished using sustainable materials in Cape Town, South Africa.

We pride ourselves in creating something unique for every home or office and more recently, home office.

How has your business changed during COVID-19?

Sales dropped drastically, but we are now seeing a gradual increase since there has been more economic activity. 

Contact details:

Alice Taylor

Tumi Rabaji, Shauku Hub

About your business

ShaukuHub is a coworking space that offers beautifully crafted workspaces where people can create, connect, and grow their businesses. Located at Horizon Shopping Centre, the space offers all the amenities a business can require from parking space, banks, food courts, shopping and a Virgin Active Gym less than 100 metres from your office.

Renting space in a shared office means surrounding yourself with goal-oriented and high-achieving entrepreneurs and business people. This means every day is an opportunity to network with small business owners, great thinkers, consultants, and other entrepreneurs.

Being part of a coworking community means you are surrounded by potential partners, clients and mentors – giving you the ability to easily outsource to talent when you need help.

How has your business changed during COVID-19?

We were closed for the first 5 weeks of lockdown and unable to open our doors to remote workers. Since Level 3, we have now started allowing a limited number of people to use our co-working facilities, under strick COVID-19 regulations.

Contact details:

Tumi Rabaji


Want to list your business? Submit your story here

The Business Brightspot blog is part of our Open for Business campaign. This is an initiative to give South African SMEs the tools and information they need to re-open their businesses during COVID-19.

For on the campaign, read this blog post.

Women Powering SA: Tshego Ratshidi, Bleu Rose Floral Designs

Women Powering SA: Tshego Ratshidi, Bleu Rose Floral Designs

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Tshego Ratshidi

Owner of Bleu Rose Floral Designs

The Business

Bleu Rose Floral Designs help people express their emotions through flowers and other gifts.
We are a floral services business, our services include everyday flower arranging (these are for I miss you, I’m thinking of you, Condolences, I love you, Can’t wait to have you back in the office, etc.) and delivery, event flowers, we sell indoor plants for your home or office, and more recently, home office too.  We sell fruit baskets and snack boxes as well.
We operate largely in the greater Johannesburg North region but we also cover other areas of Johannesburg when the need arises.  We do also offer services in Cape Town in the Observatory, Pinelands, Sea Point, and surrounding areas.


Related: Business Funding: An overview of how SMEs can access funding in SA


Tshego’s story


We needed to grow our business to be able to reach more people, to fully integrate online and to incorporate a CRM system to allow us to serve our customers better.
We also needed to get a vehicle dedicated to deliveries, as well as transform our workspace to be easier to work from and serve those that would like to collect.
We are also currently working on adding a new line of products and need funding for the project. Customers keep asking for more products, and I believe these will sell, but did not have the appropriate funds to execute.



We have seen a drop in our orders because we were not able to provide our services online. We have seen a drop in expenditure from our corporate customers, and definitely no reception flowers.
I have had to take on a lot of the work myself as I couldn’t afford to keep the staff on anymore. Our administrator also had to stop coming to work as she traveled with public transport, and as she is expecting, it was a high risk – this means I had to let her go until she gives birth later this year.
Our approach to delivery recording has also had to change as we no longer accept signatures – it would be great to use a digital tool as proof of delivery. For now we just take down the recipient’s name. The cost of running the business has increased as flower prices are so high now.


Being able to secure some nice contracts through the work that we do. Customers saw our work and started buying more frequently. We are proud to have some big corporate clients in our stable. One of these corporates placed our first big year-end gift order last year (over 800 gifts) which we delivered in approximately 2 weeks with a skeleton team. This has attracted more of their teams to use our services.


Related: Women Powering SA: Ann Clarke, options in training

The interactions I have with customers after I serve them. It reminds me of why I chose this business.  Flowers and plants have healing powers for mental wellness – hence ‘We express emotions through flowers’. We also teach people how to add plants into their spaces and how they can positively improve their mental health. I am constantly motivated by the dreams that still need to be reached, the ladies I bring into the team, and their commitment to their own dreams and thus helping me realize my dream.


Contact Tshego Ratshidi and the Bleu Rose Floral Designs team at info@bleuroseflowers.co.za


Women Powering SA: Monique Pasqualle, HR Cartel

Women Powering SA: Monique Pasqualle, HR Cartel

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Monique Pasqualle

Director of HR Cartel

The Business

HR Cartel is a 100% black-owned female business, established to provide specialist HR, management and project-based consulting services to entrepreneurs, start-ups, small to medium enterprises, NGO’s, NPO’s and the educational sector. Their clients fall within the above sectors, as well as within the government, corporate, automotive, retail, and restaurant industries. They encompass the entire HR function starting at sourcing suitable skilled candidates, ensuring healthy performance as well as employee engagement and growth in line with your business goals and without breaking your pocket. We also offer Project Management, Management Consulting, and Business Services Solutions. This ensures a 360-degree strategic overview for all businesses, where we ensure our clients’ needs are met from A to Z.

Related: Small Business Marketing Strategies: Google vs Facebook

Monique’s story


Our biggest success was starting our Academy (Uluntu Academy) at the beginning of 2020. Uluntu Academy has 2 divisions, one is for new entrepreneurs and upcoming businesses teaching valuable business acumens, such as project skills, finance, marketing, and operational skills and the other academy is aimed at empowering the youth and young adults from underprivileged areas to encourage, empower, create, start and act on their ideas to create functional businesses that will eliminate youth unemployment and create sustainable futures and income for the economy.

HR Cartel has recently been featured in the Brand Alchemy RSA Women Support Women blog series as well as CITI – Cape Innovation Technology Initiative in partnership with the City of Cape Town article series for the Top Tech Tools Women in Business. They were also nominated for the Santam Women of The Future Award, as well as nominated for the Standard Bank Top Women Awards 2020 for Top Women Entrepreneur category.


The current pandemic has hit many sectors hard. Our biggest hurdle to date was to move our business functionalities over to virtual platforms for sustainability and to teach our clients and learners how best to thrive within the current situation they are faced with. It’s been a challenging 4 months for all parties involved as 80% of our business entails client contact and onsite assistance. It has also been especially trying over the last few years to run a business as a young black female in South Africa. Many big corporates do not feel you have what it takes to do the basic, despite years of education and corporate skills attained.

Related: COVID-19 SME Support: Business Brightspot Listing


My advice to women regardless of colour is to keep going. Know your worth! As women in business, it’s easy to get steamrolled when it comes to the gender pay gap, ideas, or leadership. But confidence comes from within! Knowing your worth starts with positive self-talk and professional development. Give yourself the tools and training you need to be the best in your field, and never ever give up. Be relentless to change and take negativity as useful tools to help you grow. Once you have the cold hard skills and attitude to match, you’ll be able to carry yourself more confidently, pitch your business to others, and do better work for your clients.

Get in touch with them to enrich yourself or your team’s skills and take your business to the next level.

Contact Monique Pasqualle and the HR Cartel team at info@hrcartel.co.za