Practising what we preach and remaining resilient through tough economic times.

Mari Lee  |  29 October 2023

According to the International Monetary Fund, South Africa’s GDP is expected to decline sharply by the end of this year. Although predictions for 2024 do allow for some optimism, the growth is still too slow to counteract the unemployment rate currently sitting at almost 33%. In times of economic uncertainty, companies often face the daunting challenge of staying afloat and maintaining profitability. 

As a medium-sized company, DevCom may be better equipped to approach adverse economic climates proactively than our larger corporate clients, and true to form, we share what we know.

Restructuring for sustainability – same service to our clients, delivered in a different model.

DevCom has decided to undergo a restructuring process in July to mitigate risks and ensure the sustainability of our business.

For many South Africans, the solution to increasing inflation rates, higher fuel prices, losses due to load-shedding, and all the other unmentionables we face in our space – is hustles and alternative methods of income generation. The gig economy encompasses all these motivations and provides a platform where freelancers and free agents have an opportunity to embrace entrepreneurship. DevCom’s associates have always operated in this space, and we have increased these opportunities while mitigating risks.

Many of our team members have been consultants billing us on a structured per-project basis for a long time. We have now turned the whole business to this model and have a large network of associates that deliver quality services to our clients in this manner.

From a client’s perspective, nothing has changed. We have simply managed our risk and matched the global trend of flexibility and the gig economy, lowering our payroll and increasing our access to a larger pool of freelance talent.

This proactive approach allows us to adapt to changing market conditions, streamline operations, and position ourselves for long-term success. While economic downturns present challenges, they also create opportunities for companies that are willing to adapt. By embracing change and taking calculated risks, companies can position themselves to thrive when the economy rebounds. Restructuring allowed us to identify new markets, diversify our service offering, and explore an innovative business model.

DevCom’s new structure aligns with a new-age development in agency structures. Our mainstay still relies on a strong core team that provides strategic, financial, and operational support to our projects. However, in the future, we will use even more skilled and certified associates who play in the gig economy. In fact, for the past 10 years, DevCom has moved increasingly towards having a strong base of associates to work with our core team. This hybrid model has served us well, allowing us to be elastic, expand, and retract as needed, and for the foreseeable future we will be relying on this structure to see us into the next phase of growth.

This approach allows us to keep our overheads low, which means we can also pass these savings on to our clients. We are now even more agile in our approach to project management.  We are excited about the future and continuing to deliver strategic communication work to global standards.