Ensuring Sustainable Growth & Finding Balance: The Challenge of Pricing for Small Businesses

By Ryan Neill, Group Head of Procurement for Empact Group

Ensuring Sustainable Growth & Finding Balance: The Challenge of Pricing for Small Businesses
Ryan Neill, Group Head of Procurement for Empact Group

As the Group Head of Procurement for Empact Group, Ryan Neill oversees the intricacies of supply chain management and the crucial role it plays in the success of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMMEs). In this opinion editorial, he delves into a pressing issue facing SMMEs: the challenge of pricing themselves out of the market. Through the lens of Enterprise Supplier Development (ESD), he explores the implications of this phenomenon and offer insights into how SMMEs can navigate pricing strategies effectively to ensure sustainable growth.

In the journey of entrepreneurship, small and medium-sized enterprises (SMMEs) often encounter a significant hurdle: pricing their products or services effectively. Many inadvertently set prices too high, ultimately pricing themselves out of the market and hindering their own growth. From an Enterprise Supplier Development (ESD) perspective, addressing this challenge is crucial for the sustainable success of SMMEs.

Central to this issue is a misunderstanding of market dynamics and the value proposition of SMMEs. Driven by a desire for immediate profitability, businesses often overlook the importance of affordability in consumer decision-making. However, understanding customer needs and preferences is essential. Through thorough market research, SMMEs can identify competitive pricing strategies that align with their target audience, fostering long-term growth over short-term gains.

SMMEs must recognise the broader socio-economic implications of pricing inefficiencies. These businesses play a vital role in local economic development, creating jobs, driving innovation, and engaging with communities. Pricing strategies that hinder their success have far-reaching effects, impacting supply chains, employment, and overall economic vitality.

Collaboration and mentorship are critical in addressing this challenge. ESD programs provide SMMEs with guidance, resources, and networking opportunities, empowering them to make informed decisions about pricing and business management. By fostering a culture of knowledge sharing and support, these programs enable SMMEs to navigate market dynamics with confidence.

Ultimately, pricing is about finding a balance between profitability and accessibility, short-term gains and long-term sustainability. From an ESD perspective, the goal is to create an ecosystem where SMMEs can thrive, contributing to economic growth and social development. By rethinking pricing strategies through the lens of market dynamics and community impact, SMMEs can chart a course towards sustainable growth and prosperity.


Ryan Neill is a highly driven professional known for setting and achieving long, medium, and short-term goals. With a passion for the financial aspects of operations and food business management, Ryan aims to travel and gain global industry insights. He has decades of experience as an executive chef with Compass Group, now Empact Group, where he honed his expertise in menu and product development, procurement projects, tenders, operation management, and the implementation of systems and processes. Ryan also played a crucial role in training for gross profit control and the national implementation of best practices in South Africa. Currently serving as the Head of Procurement for Empact Group, Ryan’s skills in commercial and supply management are instrumental in driving the company’s success.