Perhaps the silver lining of 2020 is that it has forced us all to become more innovative and pushed us to think out of the box. Many people have opted to start their own businesses as an antidote to job losses and with unemployment at an all-time high. This festive season, as we’re buying gifts for our loved ones, remember those friends or family who have gone this route. Making a purchase from them will make a solid contribution to their future success, while another way to support them is to extend a sustainable helping hand.
Help them save for retirement
Your loved one has just started their business and the chances are that thinking about retirement is low on their list of priorities. But it’s a very important consideration, so what about persuading friends and family to pool their gift budget and instead start a retirement annuity on behalf of the entrepreneur in your life? It’ll be a gift that keeps on giving.
Gifting your loved one a gift like this not only helps set them up for retirement and kickstarts their savings journey, but also means they will qualify for a refund on income tax when submitting a tax return.
So, pool some money together with other friends perhaps, shop around for a good retirement annuity provider and lay out the idea to your friend in need.
Set them up in at a shared office space
Yes, many people are working from home right now and there are indeed great perks to this arrangement. There are, however, also many benefits to working from an office space. Many new entrepreneurs simply don’t have the means to rent office space at the start of their business journey. So why not set them up in a shared or serviced office space for a month, or more if that’s within your budget?
“Being surrounded by like-minded people can really help entrepreneurs,” says David Seinker, founder and CEO of The Business Exchange. “In addition, being in a serviced office space such as The Business Exchange relieves business owners of a host of operational responsibilities, such as IT services, cleaning services, kitting out your office space, and more. It’s a case of plug-and-play when you make use of our spaces.”
Write a Google review to boost their business ranking
This one is absolutely free. Adding a review to your friend’s business listing on Google Maps or Search can help them in so many ways; being visible in a ‘near me’ search, for example, boosts online reputation and business credibility. If your loved one has started a business, an easy way to help them is by encouraging them to create a free listing on Google’s Business Profiles, review the business on Google Search or Google Maps, and get your other friends and family to do the same!
Hire a service to help them around their house or office
When entrepreneurs start a business, they hit the ground running and tend to focus on little else. This means that tasks such as cleaning their home or office space fall down the priority list. If this is the case for your loved one, consider hiring someone to help them around the house or at their office. SweepSouth makes such a booking super easy, and you’ll be helping not only the entrepreneur in your life, but also a SweepStar (domestic helper), many of whom found themselves with little or no income during the COVID-19 lockdowns.
Set them up with a business lawyer to help them become compliant
Andrew Wellsted of CMS South Africa suggests a consultation with a corporate tax lawyer to help ensure your friend’s SME starts fully compliant. “Help your friend set up their business to be fully tax compliant. Many people have lovely business ideas but aren’t up to speed on the regulations around UIF, PAYE, Skills Development Levies and the like, all of which fall under South Africa’s tax legislation and regulations. An hour with a tax lawyer can help them get all these essential admin ducks in a row from the start.”
Stock up their pantry
When anyone starts a business, all available funds and resources usually go towards getting the business off the ground. To assist them, consider stocking up their pantry or freezer with essential food items that’ll help them keep up their strength during this critical period. That way, they won’t have to worry about grocery shopping (or the bills) at the start of their venture. Online food delivery services such as Yebo Fresh make it very convenient; you can shop from the comfort of your home and the groceries will be delivered fast and efficiently. There are also combo packages that make for the perfect restock of a pantry or freezer.
Buy them some office supplies and equipment
Setting up an office space, including kitting it out with all the necessary equipment, can be one of the costliest things for new entrepreneurs. If your friend or family member needs the big items, but can’t afford them right now, consider a rent-to-own set-up from Teljoy. Essentially, this means they can acquire the big ticket items immediately, without the big one-off financial outlay. According to Teljoy, “rent to own is a month-to-month contract that allows you to rent a wide range of household appliances, furniture, and electronics, with the option of taking ownership following the predetermined rental period”. Friends and family could club together to pay the first one or two months rental costs as a gift of substance this festive season.
Help them source funding
If your friend or family member has a business that is highly innovative, scalable and has a positive impact on society, then they are in a strong position to secure funding. Point them in the direction of funders who would potentially be able to assist them, or even just help them with the necessary paperwork to kickstart the process. A good place to begin is with E4E – Entrepreneurs for Entrepreneurs. E4E is a venture capital fund of “experienced entrepreneurs, aligned mentors and investors that reinvest their knowledge and wealth in the next generation of entrepreneurs, to create thriving businesses and impact at scale”.
If the business is a cause that helps people or animals, then it might qualify to become a MySchool MyVillage MyPlanet beneficiary. You can assist your entrepreneur to research their eligibility and, if they qualify, help them get set up. Then encourage every MySchool MyVillage MyPlanet cardholder you know to list them as a beneficiary.
Send them on holiday
Entrepreneurs seldomly take a holiday for themselves. They too often work all day, all year round, without a thought for themselves. Why not change that for your loved one? It could be a stay-cation up the road, a day-cation out and about, or even a holiday break in another city. Choose something that suits your budget. Ideas include making use of the spa special currently running at Radisson Blu Hotel Waterfront in Cape Town, booking your entrepreneur a place to relax and unwind through Airbnb, sending them on an amazing vacation to the Victoria Falls with Minor Hotels, making use of the staycation deals running with Radisson Hotels or just taking them out and about in their home city to enjoy some of the local delights. If they’re in Cape Town, Cape Town Tourism has some excellent resources on their website. Whatever your budget, treating your loved one to a break to unwind might be exactly what they need right now.
Help them set up cashless payments
If the business needs a cashless payment set-up in this COVID-19 world, then perhaps you could assist your friend or family member with setting up a relevant system. There are a number available to entrepreneurs and businesses, with Bluecode Africa a suitable option for not only retailers, but also SMMEs and artisans. According to Bluecode, “any individual who sells their services can be an individual Bluecode merchant and receive a digital payment instantly with their mobile phone. Artisans become visible to banks and establish a business track record and improve their bankability.”
There are clearly myriad ways in which to help your entrepreneur friends and family this festive season. Thoughtful gifts that help them with their business enterprises into the future will go a long way to helping ensure they can successfully grow their operations going forward.