Starting and growing a business is no easy feat, especially in South Africa where small and medium enterprises (SMEs) face a myriad of challenges. As someone who has been closely involved with startups and small businesses, I have seen firsthand how the demands of running a business can leave gaps that hinder growth. For instance, a township business struggling with cash flow or handling large orders can find itself weighed down, unable to scale effectively. Here are five tech tips you can use to transform your business

1. Implementing Digital Payment Systems

One of the most significant ways technology can transform a business is through digital payment systems. Traditional cash-based transactions are not only inefficient but also risky. By adopting digital payment platforms like SnapScan or Yoco, businesses can streamline their payment processes, reduce theft, and enhance customer convenience. According to a report by Research and Markets, the South African digital payments market is expected to reach R508 billion by 2026, growing at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 12.6% from 2021 to 2026 .

YearDigital Payment Transaction Volume (in billion ZAR)
2021R281 billion
2022R316 billion
2023R355 billion
2024R400 billion
2025R451 billion
2026R508 billion

2. Utilising Cloud Computing

Cloud computing offers a flexible and cost-effective solution for businesses to manage their operations. By migrating to cloud-based systems, businesses can access their data from anywhere, scale their operations easily, and save on infrastructure costs. For instance, a small retail business in Soweto can use cloud-based inventory management to keep track of stock levels and manage orders seamlessly, even during peak times. Gartner predicts that by 2025, 85% of enterprises will have embraced a cloud-first principle .

3. Embracing E-commerce Platforms

E-commerce has revolutionised the way businesses operate, providing them with a platform to reach a wider audience. Setting up an online store on platforms like Shopify or WooCommerce can help businesses tap into new markets and increase their sales. For a township business, this means breaking the geographical barriers and reaching customers nationwide. The South African e-commerce market is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 11.9% from 2021 to 2025 .

YearE-commerce Revenue (in billion ZAR)
2021R94 billion
2022R106 billion
2023R118 billion
2024R130 billion
2025R144 billion

4. Leveraging Social Media Marketing

Social media is a powerful tool for businesses to connect with their customers, build brand awareness, and drive sales. Platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter offer targeted advertising options that allow businesses to reach specific demographics. For example, a local bakery in Alexandra can use Instagram to showcase its products, engage with customers, and drive traffic to its store. According to Hootsuite, 45% of South Africans use social media, presenting a vast opportunity for businesses .

5. Adopting Customer Relationship Management (CRM) Systems

CRM systems help businesses manage their interactions with current and potential customers. By using a CRM system like Salesforce or Zoho CRM, businesses can improve customer satisfaction, streamline sales processes, and increase retention rates. Imagine a small service-based business in Mamelodi that can keep track of customer inquiries, follow-ups, and feedback, all in one place. This leads to better customer service and ultimately, business growth. A study by Nucleus Research found that the average ROI for CRM is R157 for every rand spent .

In conclusion, embracing technology is no longer an option but a necessity for South African businesses looking to thrive in a competitive market. By implementing digital payment systems, utilising cloud computing, embracing e-commerce platforms, leveraging social media marketing, and adopting CRM systems, businesses can overcome challenges and achieve sustainable growth.


  1. Research and Markets. (2022). South African Digital Payments Market Report.
  2. Gartner. (2020). Cloud Computing Trends.
  3. Statista. (2021). E-commerce Revenue in South Africa.
  4. Hootsuite. (2021). Social Media Statistics South Africa.
  5. Nucleus Research. (2018). CRM ROI Study.