Technology to boost growth in your small business

Did you know that NetFlorist, one of South Africa’s largest internet-based gifting businesses, originated by accident and survived through technological innovation?

‘Our plan was to only run the site for one day to prove that we could do it. And then we got R30,000 worth of orders, which was the equivalent of a whole month’s revenue at a flower shop,’ said Ryan Bacher, one of the company founders, in an interview with Entrepreneur.

When Bacher and his co-founders, Lawrence Brick and Jonathan Hackner, kick-started NetFlorist on Valentine’s Day back in 1999, they weren’t planning to start an online flower and gift delivery business – they simply wanted to demonstrate that they could ‘design and run an e-commerce site’ to a corporate client.

The ‘demo’ site performed so well that they just kept it running. ‘What’s really crazy is that people were paying for us to supply a service. We had no stock and knew nothing about flowers. We just sent the orders to a flower shop in Sandton,’ Bacher told Entrepreneur. ‘We knew our best bet was to get the website out, hack it, and keep changing it. We would learn more from the site being out there in the market than we could ever learn in-house, trying to develop a perfect product. It was basically always a work in progress.’

NetFlorist is now one of SA’s leading online retailers – thanks to its innovative use of technology to deliver goods and services.

The time for your business to rise is now

According to the African Digital Banking Transformation Report 2022*, there is an accelerated shift towards digital banking models. Encouragingly, 49% of African banks have said that they’ve increased the speed of implementing digital initiatives substantially, as the perceived value of business technology has risen.

The USA’s International Trade Administration* also reports that: ‘Retail banks are increasing spend to grow their digital platforms and concurrently increasing their online security measures. This will drive innovation in internet banking and more specifically mobile access and mobile money solutions.’


Ultimately, when clients and banks connect digitally, the economy flows more freely


Right now, many small businesses are already relying on technology to help them operate daily. From laptops with internet capabilities and printers, to online file storage and web-based applications, technological advances influence small businesses across various industries. Failing to embrace technology to do better business might lead to you falling behind your competitors.

Technology must be part of your business DNA

As the lifeblood of the economy, small businesses must incorporate innovation into their DNA, to stimulate growth and compete in a challenging economic environment. When entrepreneurs and their employees adapt to new technology, the impact on the business can be immense. They’re empowered with tools to simplify and streamline various operations and save time, energy and ultimately money.

Digital business capability is essential, as more consumers expect to pay for goods or services digitally. And technology doesn’t have to require large, sophisticated tools. Simple, easily accessible digital tools can achieve an increase in revenue, customer engagement and above-average employee growth.

Now is the time to take advantage of systems that can connect with customers instantly. ‘Location, location, location’ no longer needs to limit your business growth. You can create an online store to increase your visibility and reach target markets beyond your immediate community.

Business solutions tailored to help small businesses in South Africa  

Nedbank is squarely focused on helping businesses reach their full potential by supplying value-added services that go beyond banking. We’re happy to be able to grow and nurture South African businesses, especially those that use technology in innovative ways to ensure future success. We’ve made our national network of dedicated small-business bankers available to supply hands-on help and guidance.

In addition, Nedbank’s Online Banking and app channels come with free features, like budgeting and invoicing solutions. Our free SimplyBiz network and support platform delivers business tools, inspiration and insights that go far beyond banking.

Ultimately, we believe digital inclusion is non-negotiable. Small businesses that are excluded from these benefits will be left behind in challenging economic situations.

Consider this for your small business

According to the BCX Digital Innovation Report 2022*, sub-Saharan Africa is one of the fastest-growing financial technology hubs in the world. With the emergence of innovative digital financial solutions, it’s now up to players in the financial sectors to reduce costs, keep underserved customers and attract the unbanked market.

Upskilling and reskilling are essential to prepare every business to seize opportunities and create a sustainable future within a digitised economy. Small businesses are now relying on the collective insights, creativity and vision of the banking industry. Ultimately, when clients and banks connect digitally, the economy flows more freely. We are here to talk with you about boosting your business with the right technologies.