Starting a new year, in business or in our personal lives, is usually a combination of excitement and nervousness. On the positive side we ask, “What opportunities are out there, how can I grow and improve?” But at the same time we are concerned about unknown, potentially negative things that may derail our plans and set us back.
In South Africa, at the start of 2020, there is plenty of negative sentiment around. The media and social networks are overflowing with negativity about economics, politics, unemployment, even international issues such as the Middle East and Brexit.
It’s so easy to be negative about our future. This even seems to be a default option for most people.
That’s why the amazing success of the #ImStaying movement is so encouraging to us. Towards the end of 2019, real estate entrepreneur Jarette Petzer decided to stop being negative about what was happening in the country. He made a video which then became a Facebook group which spread like wildfire across South Africa. The number of followers is growing exponentially and now exceeds 1 million people, making it one of the 5 largest Facebook groups in Africa.
Petzer explains why the core message of #ImStaying has been embraced by so many people. “The theme resonates with a lot of South Africans because it offers hope at a time when a just little bit of hope is what we need. It cuts through the narrative of crime, fear and division like a knife, with a positive message of encouragement, upliftment and social cohesion.”
On the Facebook group, people from all backgrounds share daily events from their lives that inspired them or gave them renewed hope in their fellow country-people. They talk about incidents where the support they received from fellow South Africans touched them and gave them renewed hope for our future.
Business leaders across the country have also voiced their support. “Movements like #ImStaying can help create the positivity that is required to aid transformation within our nation,” said one leader. Another said, “ImStaying can help create the environment necessary for transformation within our nation.”
Rosh Pinah in 2020
Rosh Pinah Properties operates in one of the most affected sectors of the economy, industrial and commercial property, that had been severely impacted by the economic downturn of the past few years. At the start of 2020, therefore, how do we as a business feel about the future?
Given the past few years, it would be easy to be profoundly negative and pessimistic.
But, in the spirit of #ImStaying, we have five distinct reasons to be positive about our business. Two of these are “external” to our operation, i.e. they are in the environment, while the remaining three relate to how we as a business think, believe and operate.
Reason Number 1: The Size And Importance of Our Industry
The commercial and industrial property market is massive, one of the cornerstone sectors of the economy. It is everywhere: shops, industrial parks and office blocks are located right across South Africa, north to south, east to west, urban and rural. They are not going to go away and that means there will always be a market for rentals. And RPP is determined to continue to be a major player in the game.
Reason Number 2: Everything is Cyclical
If you sit in any Economics 101 class, you will learn that most things financial are cyclical. Things go up and things go down then they go up again. Economies do that and sectors within economies do that as well. Our particular market segment, which is tied to the overall level of activity in the economy, has been in a downward cycle for several years. Times have been tough for everyone. There have been casualties.
But, like the #ImStaying people, we believe that there will be an upturn and growth will return. Pressures build up as demand increases. Businesses need new factories, warehouses, offices and retail outlets as consumers start spending.
And when that happens, as we believe it will, RPP will be in a great position to take advantage.
Because of the next 3 reasons.
Reason Number 3: We Have Become Stronger Through the Tough Times
The past few years have taught us to be strong. Tough times demand a tough response. We have become lean, cost-effective and resilient, sticking to what we know best and, if possible, never giving up.
Reason Number 4: We Have Become Innovative
Gone are the days when we do things the way they have always been done. Our minds have been opened to new ideas, new ways of getting the job done. We now encourage conversations that discuss new ideas and are embracing all manner of cutting-edge technologies and digital methodologies. Many operations, such as payment structures, are being automated. RPP is now a fully-flexible, totally creative company.
Reason Number 5: We Have Learned to Network
Finally, we have learned about the power of partnerships. Flying solo in a tough environment is no way to work anymore. Getting together with people and organizations that can add value, open doors and facilitate business is essential, not only in our business, but across the whole economy. Even government is understanding the power of Public-Private Partnerships. Networking and partnerships create synergy and success for everyone concerned, and suddenly 2+2 can equal 5 or even 6.
The economy, our industry and we as a company are not out of the woods. Lots or hard work and creative energy is needed to succeed in 2020 and beyond. But we are confident and, in the spirit of #ImStaying, our theme at RPP is, “We are positive. Things will turn. And we at RPP are determined to be there and play our small part in building South Africa for all its people.”