As an entrepreneur, there is an inherent curiosity about the financial performance of industry peers. Is your sector expanding or contracting? Are your peers seeing growth? Short of interrogating financial data of listed businesses, there are limited tools available to entrepreneurs to access this data in an affordable manner.
This is the key opportunity that the team from SME Snapshot are tackling.
“One of the major issues facing the South African economy is the lack of real-time data, especially when it comes to the SME sector,” says Tyronne Nel, Director at SME Snapshot. Nel point out that this lack of real-time data impacts the entire SME ecosystem including lenders, incubators, accelerators and business owners.
“Think about the construction sector for a moment – we know there has been a significant increase in the number of projects out to tender and we know that SANRAL is planning to issue over R40bn in road-building tenders over the next 3 years. Yet I challenge you to find a lender who is prepared to go and fund SMEs or contractors in this construction sector at the moment – the lenders are incredibly risk averse because the entire construction sector is perceived to be high risk from a lenders perspective.”
The SME Snapshot solution
In response to this lack of data in the sector, the SME Snapshot tool was developed to begin capturing real-time data around each of the sectors.
“Initially, we started off using the Snapshot tool to support our accounting clients,” says SME.Tax Master Franchisor Ken Brown adding: “Snapshot provided our clients with an interactive dashboard showing them all the critical numbers that would be important to lenders – all we have to do is upload the accounting data and then track the key metrics.”
For clients who are not using an automated accounting system, they can upload their trial balances manually.
Some of the key features of Snapshot include:
- Aggregated sector data allowing businesses to compare their financial performance against peers through the SME Index ™
- Management of deadlines like VAT, Income Tax, Annual Returns and Compensation Commissioner
- Key metrics like profitability and margins can be tracked
As the dataset began to grow, Nel and Brown realized they had a powerful asset on their hands. The tool is now being used by a variety of different players in the SME ecosystem including lenders and incubators and they are presently piloting a project with the Innovation Hub in Pretoria.
“The SME Index ™ allows organisations to then compare their financial metrics against industry and sector peers and spot downturns or improvements in real-time,” says Nel. With the South African SME ecosystem devoid of real-time data, SME Snapshot provides a powerful solution for all role players and is now eyeing international expansion.
If you would like access to a 6 month free trial to the SME Snapshot tool, please e-mail email@example.com