Author: Kim Barty

Small business – tips on weathering the storm

I’m reading Henri J M Nouwen’s, The Inner Voice of Love, his personal journal during a time of deep anguish to freedom. It’s a book about spiritual imperatives.  I wondered whether these could be mirrored in business imperatives.  So this is a journey I am going to pursue. Small business is under pressure and it is challenging to maintain a smile, hope, creativity and new ideas.  But small business is critical to our country’s blooming. Some estimates indicate that the total economic output of SMEs makes up about half of South Africa’s GDP and that SMEs provide employment to about 60% of South Africa’s labour force. In an SME (small to medium enterprise), there is usually a handful of people who come up with the idea, produce the item, take it to market, handle complaints, do the books, manage the admin, remember to tweet, capture news on Facebook, update the website, and make coffee.  When competition, rejection, regulation are just the breeze of any day, that’s a lot to manage without falling over. As an …

Have you caught the ‘grey and yellow’ recently?

“You use the train?” she asked me, looking down her nose through her readers. Amassing me with the ‘them’ who relied on the grey and yellow carriages in the Cape Peninsular. I love the train, the carrier of personal worlds and private realities.  I remember my first trip, the first time I engaged, not as a tourist going to Simonstown, but as a commuter.  I’d moved offices and decided if I expected my staff to use the train, then I should too. So I boarded at Claremont station one sunny afternoon.  At my naïve best, I didn’t realize the class split by carriage between first and third class.  In the first five minutes, two rather dodgy looking teenagers were engaged in argy bargy that was accelerating beyond using their elbows. The fierce interruption by an elderly ‘tannie’ (auntie) further down the carriage, pried the one youngster away with her eyes to a seat safely beyond ‘punching distance’.  At the next station, I changed carriages only to find myself sitting opposite two prolifically and amateurly tattooed …