7 Steps To Creating A 21st Century Business


Sanjeev Orie, CEO of FNB Business Value-Adds, tells us more about 21 century business.


What is a 21 century business?

To identify a 21st century business; we should look at brands such as South Africa’s Sorbet franchise and instant networking platforms such as WhatsApp and Twitter. Sorbet is an example of a business which is modelled on the lifestyle of a 21 century consumer. This is encouraging to see in South Africa because that is exactly the mindset needed in order to create a boom in the SMME sector.

Key attributes of a 21st Century business:

Online or virtual presence

• Even though the decision to operate physically or virtually largely depends on the type of business, online presence is a must in the 21st century. The benefits of being accessible online far outweigh the risk of not having any online presence.

Don’t just offer a service, offer a lifestyle

• Consumers are more likely to be attracted to something which complements or improve their lifestyle. Ensure that your business complements the lifestyle of your target consumer.

Reward Innovation

• Innovation is something that is encouraged by businesses in general but very few actually follow through by rewarding employees for brilliant ideas. Rewarding innovators encourages them to do more than their prescribed share.

Don’t offer a job, sell a vision

• Entrepreneurs need to employ or partner with people who share their vision. People are more attracted to something they believe in, rather than the short-lived lure of a better pay-check.

Be agile and accessible

• All clients would rather not wait to get service. If your business has an opportunity to offer a particular service faster and efficiently, do it. This could be your business’ competitive edge.

‘Trend’ for the right reasons

• A single customer complaint on a social networking platform such as Twitter or Facebook has a potential to jeopardise years of hard work. Even though it is impossible to make everyone happy, every complaint should be addressed efficiently to set a better impression of the business.

Adopt a ‘local but global’ business philosophy

• Becoming a global or a multinational player does not always require millions of Rands, especially if there are no physical assets required. Virtual networking could easily place one’s business in a position to operate across different markets.

“It is without a doubt that South Africa has the capability to create SMMEs that meet the needs of the 21st century. Since the beginning of the current decade, we have already seen a number of relatively small South African start-ups, especially in the tech space, acquired by global brands because of the potential they possess. The message we need to instill is that our SMMEs need to address the needs of the 21st century consumer,” concludes Orie.