22 March 2012

Standard Bank South Africa launches a back-to-basics drive to support small business success



Standard Bank South Africa launched a fresh drive into the small business start-up market in a bid to help small businesses and shake up the way banks approach this sector.

Clive Pintusewitz, Director of Small Enterprise and Enterprise Development at Standard Bank South Africa, says many start-up businesses have met a premature end because they have not been built on the most solid foundation.

Recent research showed that a high percentage of new start-up businesses fail within the first 3 years. The findings of another recent survey showed that 440 000 small businesses had failed in the past five years*.

Standard Bank South Africa's new drive, known as BizLaunch, will focus on getting a business started the right way to avoid the false starts that many businesses face.

"If we concentrate on the essentials, what you really need is to register the business, keep track of cash in and cash out, pay suppliers, deposit funds into a business bank account, and get some basic advice when you ask for it," says Mr Pintusewitz.

Among the key features is a R90 a month business account that includes various transactions and services to assist and set up the business for the first 12 months.

With a 28% share of the business banking market, Standard Bank South Africa is best-placed in terms of experience and presence to lead this back-to-basics drive, says Mr Pintusewitz.

"Starting a business is difficult and daunting. People with an idea just want to get cracking and yet they face all sorts of hurdles and bureaucracy, in spite of what everyone says about the importance of supporting small business."

BizLaunch is aimed particularly at any new business (including sole proprietors) with no existing business account, any business wanting to switch with an account younger than 12 months and any business currently trading from a personal account.

"Twelve months is the typical period a business needs to get up and running, become aware of what banking transactions and what other services the business will use. This means that after the 12 month period the entrepreneur will be correctly positioned to choose a suitable account package that will appropriately match the business needs," explains Mr Pintusewitz.

BizLaunch is a one-stop shop, full-service offering that includes a proper and affordable business account with no hidden costs; Pastel My Business Online; an affordable insurance offer, and access to expert advice and other support.

Mr Pintusewitz says whereas traditional small businesses got all these separately from various service providers, Standard Bank South Africa offers all of them under one roof.

"This approach is important in that it saves customers time, money and, more importantly, allows people to focus on running and growing their business. It means that Standard Bank's small business staff can develop a relationship with start-ups based on a better understanding of the challenges and how we can help them grow. It means that most problems can be nipped in the bud, reducing typical causes of failure," says Mr Pintusewitz.

BizLaunch offers the critical things needed to get started:
  • A R90 per month (R3 per day) business account, which includes unlimited electronic transactions (electronic account payments, ATM deposits and inter-account transfers), unlimited debit orders, unlimited cheque card swipes, Internet banking, My Updates (SMS notifications); and 8 ATM cash withdrawals. This excludes branch transactions
  • My Business Online, an accounting package from Pastel, the market leader in accounting software
  • My Business Online from Pastel, the market leader in accounting software
  • Businesses also have access to a Business Banker to discuss and meet their needs
  • Packaged content business support and tips, such as how to start and grow a business

Over and above the core package BizLaunch offers:
  • A merchant device (Point of Sale device) for R325 a month - including telecommunication fees and insurance per month, at a commission rate of 3.25% irrespective of card type
  • Basic business insurance cover at R150 per month
  • Online business registration services and annual returns to help you get your business started
  • A 20% discounted training voucher on the basics of how to start a business, such as finance for non-financial managers (normal course fee approximately R1200)

"One thing we know for sure by now is that there are no silver bullets when it comes to starting a business. Every person who successfully starts a business will tell you that it takes hard work and persistence.

"Standard Bank wants to get businesses to succeed. Through BizLaunch, we are presenting practical solutions that are relevant to the market and that tackle head-on the challenges banks encounter in connecting with entrepreneurs," says Mr Pintusewitz.

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