Mastercard recently partnered with PayFast to run a masterclass on how entrepreneurs can futureproof their businesses in an increasingly digital world.
Under the theme ‘The New Age of Digital Entrepreneurs: Growth Re-loaded’, Mastercard brought together some of South Africa’s incisive entrepreneurs and business influencers, including Vusi Thembekwayo and Lebo Lion, who shared insights on how SMEs can start or grow their business online, mitigate risks, and take the “new normal” by storm.
Thembekwayo highlighted the importance of building online communities, and discussed the value of adding product adjacencies so that small businesses can continually upsell to their customers.
He also shared four key values that small businesses need to understand in the era of “Creating a Web.30” business”:
- Identity – Understand your business and who you’re speaking to.
- Archetype of masculinity – What is considered acceptable in South Africa, may not be considered acceptable globally.
- Wealth – Wealth includes money, time, relationships, and meaning.
- Idea of Free – By offering free value, you give customers the opportunity to experiment and understand your business and products.
Thembekwayo was joined by digital marketing expert Lebo Lion, who shared her 10 laws of how to use the digital marketing mix to humanise your brand.
She explained that humanising your marketing efforts doesn’t simply mean talking in a casual tone – it means marketing to your customers in a way that is relatable to them.
Lion added that any entrepreneur who wants to thrive – now and in the future – needs to be online in some form.
“There are about 4.8 billion social media users in the world, and you only need a fraction of this user base to buy your product to be extremely successful,” said Lion.
She recommended that entrepreneurs calculate how many digital customers their businesses need to break even, or in the case of a side hustle, how many digital customers would allow you to leave your current job.
Rise of E-commerce
Mastercard in partnership with PayFast hosted this masterclass as part of its ongoing commitment to help small businesses recover from the impacts of the pandemic and thrive.
“While small businesses have had a miserable time as the pandemic closed shop doors and reduced foot fall, they have also been granted a unique opportunity to pivot their operations to go digital and grow their businesses online,” said Mastercard South Africa’s Director for Commercial Sales Anita Opperman.
“This is true for businesses of all sizes. Our research shows that 68% of consumers are shopping more online than ever before.”
According to the Online Retail in South Africa 2021 report, South African online retail revenue is expected to reach around R42 billion in 2021, and this would take online retail’s portion of total retail revenue in South Africa to approximately 4%.
“The shift in consumer behaviour, together with a changing commercial landscape, have provided SMEs with a lot of runway to grow their businesses online. Yet, there remains a gap between those who can access these opportunities and those who can’t.”
“Getting SMEs online requires specific knowledge and resources that many entrepreneurs don’t have. This masterclass is just one of the ways Mastercard is connecting small businesses to the tools and training that can help them to sell online, get paid, fight fraud and reach new customers,” Opperman said.
For years Mastercard has been focused on moving businesses at the margins to digital growth in the mainstream.
Mastercard’s extensive experience with financial inclusion, and its commitment to connect 50 million small businesses globally to the digital economy by 2025, makes the company uniquely suited to lead at this critical inflection point.
Last year, Mastercard announced a $250 million commitment over five years to support SMEs with digital tools and training during the pandemic.
Recently, the Mastercard Academy launched ‘The Entrepreneur’s Odyssey’ – a first-of-its kind and free-to-watch digital education platform that brings together a range of world-class academic and business resources to help small businesses learn and thrive.