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SMMEs to embrace partnerships and support network to thrive in current operating environment

11 September 2023 MiWay

As advisory service providers and risk mitigation experts, insurers are proving more and more vital in their clients’ entrepreneurial journeys.

For SMMEs, thriving is certainly not only about having the best product and service offerings for their market sector but is also dependent on the ability to navigate the complex challenges and red tape that can stand in the way of success. Currently, the top five challenges that SA SMMEs are up against are access to finance, regulatory compliance, limited market access, skills shortages and infrastructure constraints.

This is according to Jason Mellow, Head of Business Insurance at MiWay who explains that SMMEs need to overcome these setbacks and transition from survival into building thriving businesses with the assistance of expert insight, practical guidance and simple but effective business tools. Some insurers can assist in this regard and offer SMMEs additional value-added services that can reduce their risk profiles and assist with the everyday costs and running of their client’s businesses.

The power of partnership: going above and beyond
Small businesses might not have the resources or expertise to handle complex risk management strategies on their own. In this regard, insurers can offer holistic risk management advice and expertise, covering areas such as vehicles and property protection, vehicle fleet management, environmental liability cover and protection against business interruption.

Mellow explains that insurers need to start moving away from fulfilling the role of service providers and become partners with clients and their businesses. “We have identified both a need and an opportunity to partner with clients in a real and practical manner, therefore bringing tangible value to the lives of their clients.”

A good example of this is the MiGuard service, which stems from a large network of security response businesses registered with the Private Security Industry Regulatory Authority. MiWay business clients have access to over 3000-armed response teams country-wide, which can provide much-needed peace of mind that their property and valuable commercial assets are in the best hands.

Spotlight on internal transformation strategies
Furthermore, as Nomie Nxumalo, Head of Transformation at MiWay explains, “financial education and equipping SMMEs with essential knowledge that they can inject back into their operations can go a long way in upskilling and empowering entrepreneurs. The aim for insurers should therefore extend beyond helping clients manage risk.”

She says that insurers should aim to include an educational element in their offering that can drive transformational change in small businesses, which they can lean on to diversify their workforces, elevate their strategies and grow inclusively. “Committing to responsible business practices includes aspects such as internal and sustainable transformation, as well as basics such as loss prevention strategies and employing safe, sound operational procedures.”

In line with its aim to help SMMEs overcome the challenges they face, and to bring value to the small business ecosystem, MiWay recently participated in NSBC’s The Business Show® – an event for existing and aspiring entrepreneurs, which aimed to provide a platform to network and fast-track business success.

MiWay Business Insurance Specialists were present to welcome all SME owners, would-be entrepreneurs, and key business decision-makers. “We shared our business expertise and advice on insurance products, as well as guidance on how to manage the risks that face SMEs within the South African environment. Our current offering for small businesses includes MiBusinessAssist – a value-added, support service that provides clients with access to a broad network of partners.

Through the service, businesses can get access to IT and marketing expertise, as well as labour and legal advice, and services such as traffic fine support and medical assistance. Through our participation in The Business Show®, we aimed to demonstrate the value that insurers can add as business partners, rather than just service providers.”

As Mellow concludes: “the next best step for your small business and securing longevity as a business owner as your venture grows and evolves is to find the right partners to support and guide you through the many obstacles the current economy and operating environment presents.”

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