Yoco releases The Small Business Pulse for Q4 2018

Yoco's annual Q4 2018 Small Business Pulse shows small businesses are more buoyant than big.

The Small Business Pulse a quarterly measure of South African small business that provides relevant insight into the current business environment. It highlights the challenges small businesses face and how to overcome these challenges. 

In the Pulse, Yoco said: 

“The success of our economy lies in small business. Already, they constitute a disproportionate number of formalised businesses, contribute around one-third of GDP and provide employment to millions of South Africans.” 

According to the report, small businesses exist in a fast-moving, seasonal and unpredictable business environment. Many factors can cause growth or regression in a business with little warning.

Independent research agency Beyond Insights conducted the research for The Small Business Pulse, which was run at the beginning of December 2018. From Yoco’s merchant base, 3,393 small businesses responded.

On a scale from -100 to 100, with 0 being completely neutral, the overall Pulse score for small businesses in Q4 was 32. This means that small business owners retain a steady sense of optimism. 

More than 50 percent of businesses that answered the survey said that their business is performing better than 12 months ago. 

Of the respondents, 83 percent expect their business to grow over the next 12 months and 79 percent expect an increase in their profits during the same period.

Despite their sense of optimism, when asked to describe the business environment in South Africa, small business owners’ responses were tinged with negativity. Many business owners described the environment as “tough”, “challenging”, “difficult”, “volatile” and “uncertain”. 

Concerns raised included politics, the government and corruption. 

Two of the greatest challenges that small businesses said they faced in Q4 were cash flow and access to finance. 

Yoco closed the Small Business Pulse with this statement: 

“Even as broader business confidence in South Africa continues to decline, small business operators remain positive about the potential for their business to grow and become more profitable.”