News & views

Planning is the only antidote to painful reality of seasonal swings

Seasonality in business is never as pronounced as it is over the festive season, when large swathes of the economy shut down and others light up. Holiday establishments along the coast run on all cylinders while their Gauteng bed-and-breakfast cousins twiddle their thumbs waiting for business travellers to return in the new year. The entire building industry has an official holiday. Many factories shut down, while industrial maintenance companies...
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Real cost of absenteeism in SA’s workplace

Absenteeism, an employee’s intentional or habitual absence from the workplace, is a growing issue for many South African businesses due to the knock-on effect it creates for productivity, staff morale and a company’s bottom line. According to Christo Botes, Executive Director of Business Partners Limited, while the impact on larger corporations can be significant, the consequence of regular absenteeism for small and medium enterprises (SMEs) ...
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Business property remains safe haven for careful investors

Only economists are brazen enough to predict the future and Owen Holland states upfront that he is no economist. But as Business Partners’ property investment general manager, overseeing a portfolio of close on R1 billion, his feeling of optimism for the property market as an investment haven in the coming year is not entirely a thumb suck. Holland says even if the market remains as flat as it has over the past five years or so, quality commerc...
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Business Partners Limited commits US$ 6 million to BPI East Africa LLC

Business Partners International (BPI) has just launched its next generation of funding for SMEs in Africa by inviting like-minded investors to participate in the establishment of Business Partners International (East Africa) LLC. This is a US$30m investment company for family owned small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in East Africa, initially in Kenya, Rwanda and Uganda, with the potential to expand into other countries in the region. Spurred by ...
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Business Partners International Rwanda: An early stage success story

Business Partners International Rwanda SME Fund began investing in Rwanda’s SME sector in January 2012 with a target of investing USD 8 million in 56 investments within sixty months. In the first 20 months, Business Partners International (BPI) has processed 215 business proposals and has approved more than USD 4 million in 21 new investments - facilitating in excess of 580 jobs in the process. “This is a reflection of BPI’s growing promi...
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Business Partners International opens new offices in Malawi, Namibia and Zambia

Business Partners International’s expansion in to other parts of Africa continues to advance full steam ahead with the roll out of its Business Partners International Southern African SME Fund operations in Malawi, Namibia and Zambia coming to finality. Over the past few months Business Partners International has established new offices in Blantyre, in Malawi, Windhoek, in Namibia, and Lusaka, in Zambia. New local investment teams have been re...
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Power of business mentorship lies in finding the right match

When asked how important having a mentor is when it comes to the development and growth of a business, Business Partners Limited SME Index respondents rated the average importance level as 73%. According to Lionel Billings, Head of Consulting Services for Business Partners Limited, who matches quality business mentors with business owners, all new business owners, or entrepreneurs, should find a mentor to assist and guide them on in their busines...
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Business advice forged by the fire of experience

Frances Wright became a business advisor by mistake; or rather, by mistakes – many of them - which she had made when she was running a community radio station in the nineties. They were the typical mistakes most business owners make. Since then, Wright has seen the same situation in countless other businesses – constant crises, high turnover of staff and customers, and miserable, overwhelmed business owners. They all stem from pretty much t...
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The best entrepreneurs constantly seek out mentors to guide them

The perception that business mentors are of use only to struggling, beginner businesses could not be further from the truth. Christo Botes, executive director of Business Partners, says in his experience it is the most successful entrepreneurs who seek out mentors and use them to ensure continued success. Conversely, it is often the struggling business owner who holds the attitude towards a mentor of: “What can this guy teach me? What he is onl...
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Riding the roller coaster of seasonal fluctuations

The inherent seasonality of some businesses is neatly illustrated by the way accommodation establishments take turns at feast and famine in South Africa. At certain times of the year, a great wave of bed-and-breakfast customers pushes inland as they travel to the economic hub of Gauteng on business while coastal beds stand empty. But come holiday season, the wave rushes outwards and the coastal establishments get to feast while the Gauteng accomm...
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