Looking at how this year has started off, with the second wave of COVID-19 combined with restrictions imposed by government, small businesses will continue to suffer. It will thus come as no surprise if this upward trend in new business registration continues to rise in 2021.

Parallel to this, here is another important statistic − businesses today face more competition than ever. It has been reported that in 2015 the typical business had just 2,6 competitors. Today, that number has almost quadrupled, to 9,7.

Looking at these statistics on new market entrants and competition in combination, the obvious question then becomes how do you differentiate yourself in order to attract your target market.

This brings us to our topic today, which looks at a very important aspect to consider when starting your business, namely branding.

Building a brand is the key to unlocking growth and retention in your customer base and following. Here are a few things to keep in mind when you’re building one. Your brand should:

Tell a story SAICA is a great example of this. From a young age, the idea of a CA(SA) is that of successful business professional, hence we all aspired and worked hard to earn this designation. Be sure to keep in mind that the main character in your branding story should be your customer, not your product.
Start with meaning Stand for something meaningful: ‘Do beautiful business’ (Xero), ‘Beautiful food. Stunning environments’ (Tasha’s), ‘Impossible is nothing’ (Adidas). This is aptly described by Simon Sinek: ‘People don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it,’
Show how Finish this sentence: ‘The best online shopping platform in South Africa is [blank].’ Most of us aren’t thinking anything other than Takealot. Takealot is consistent, efficient and convenient. Your dominant selling idea needs to be important, believable, and memorable to your market.
Be intentionally controversial (in a good way) Most social media messaging that ends up viral is controversial. We see this almost every day on social media. A good example of this is Nando’s, who have built a bit of a reputation over the years by being witty and controversial through some of their media content.

We asked Andile Khumalo CA(SA), who is an expert in the brand space, to share some of his thoughts on brand.

‘I think we need to start with a common understanding of what a brand is. My favourite definition is that a brand is “the perception that lives in the minds of consumers”. This perception then influences the consumer’s decision to either buy or not buy a product or service.

‘So, branding is the science and art of creating a particular perception in people’s minds about your product or service. But the truth is that a brand is built or destroyed
by every interaction that consumers have with your company, your product and your people.

‘I would say that entrepreneurs need to pay more attention to the experience that customers have with their companies, their products and their people – starting with the entrepreneur themselves. If people’s interaction with you is positive, you are building a good brand. If the interaction is negative, you are building a bad brand.

‘It’s really that simple.’

If you found this content helpful, drop us a quick review at the end and look out for next month’s issue of ASA where we will be looking at the power of entrepreneurial skills development.


This month’s tool is a game-changer for all small business owners called ‘getlion’.
Mathew Marsden, co-founder of getlion, gives us a little more insight: ‘getlion is Africa’s leading, end-to-end mobile application for entrepreneurs to start and grow their businesses and access learning content, tools and services. Apply for funding and increase your revenue through the country’s first all-in B2B marketplace. Best of all, getlion is the first application to reward entrepreneurs for running their businesses the right way.’

Some exciting news: SAICA Enterprise Development has recently formed a collaboration with the IAAE team to assist their SMMEs on a national scale with our financial excellence offering.

The beneficiaries are undergoing a gap analysis and full diagnostic assessment following which we are carving out a development plan for each SMME. Still early days in this fruitful collaboration!

If you would like to collaborate with SAICA Enterprise Development, be sure to have a look at

If you found this piece useful, be sure to let us know:

  • Tell us about your TOP TECH TOOL that can benefit small business.
  • Tell us about your small business that can help our readers as part of the SMALL BUSINESS SPOTLIGHT.
  • Any other feedback.

Jameel Khan, Head of Projects, SAICA Enterprise Development