In a stagnating economy where the government is failing to grow it by supporting those who create jobs, the best thing we can do is to support and start small businesses. Unlike popular belief, small businesses don't put larger one's out of business, and even if they did, they would absorb all their employees and create lots of additional jobs in the process.
Let's take P&G (Gilette) in our country as example. By what we can gather on the internet they employ between 300 and 800 people locally. They produce many lines of products, from disposable nappies to batteries, let's assume shaving products represents around 15% of their consumer products (based on listed popular brands). This would mean around 45 to 120 people produces and supplies the shaving products for 80% of a market that consist of around 38 million people (all thumbsuck figures).
By my estimates, around 10 000 clients would sustain a small business dealing in this type of product. It would create direct employment for 2, indirect employment for 4 more and support as many as 6 families. Work all 38 million shaving South Africans into this mix and you will create 6 080 new direct jobs, 12 160 new indirect jobs, and sustain around 18 240 families. So, in this segment small business vs corporate business translates to roughly 18 000 jobs vs 120! One solution of getting ahead as a country again lies in doing stuff ourselves and in keeping money from flowing to foreign owned companies.
The skills needed to produce such items are basic, and anyone with will, determination and a reasonable amount of practice can produce a high quality razor, brush or shaving soap, using mostly locally sourced materials.
Thinking about it logically, it simply does not make sense to spend African money on low-tech 'international' products where profits are taken out of the country, when you can support a local business supplying a similar or better product at a cheaper price.
The more companies come into existence and promote their products, the more consumers will be made aware that their monotonous choices in supermarkets can be replaced with exiting local offerings.
So come on guys, buy local, but please give feedback! Don't simply dump a supplier you are not happy with, please tell them the reasons for your unhappiness and give them an opportunity to reply and/or improve on their offerings.
Please support small business, even if our products might are not be exactly what you are after, you are helping us to develop into suppliers who will look after your interests. That is much more that any of the 'Big boys' can claim, and if you don't believe me, just see if you can get in a 'special order' at P@G...