Driving SMEs’ Growth With Technology

Improving Productivity And Efficiency In SMES
Driving SMEs’ Growth With Technology

With digitisation rapidly reshaping the global business landscape, Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs)cannot risk being left behind and must embrace ICT if they must remain competitive. It is now a sink or swim situation and there are no excuses.

Interestingly, just as big firms are leveraging modern technology to remain competitive and drive growth, SME owners have been advised by experts to follow suit as data and technology are their surviving rafts or risk being swept into oblivion by the storm of digitisation.

Analysts note that using digital tools in the day-to-day running of their businesses is a sure way to remain afloat and grow.

They reckon that technology, when utilised effectively, would help accelerate business growth. They explained that the technological factors affecting small businesses include production techniques, information and communication resources, production, logistics, marketing and e-commerce technologies. Experts insist that technology offers the opportunity to tap into the trends available on the global business scene.

According to the Chief Executive Officer, Tech in Business Specifics, Ajuwa Rita, an SME owner, the ability to adapt your business now and keep pace with changing trends can determine its future, , said.

Rita noted that technology offers small businesses an opportunity to streamline their operations, reduce costs and increase productivity, adding that automation tools can streamline repetitive tasks.

“It affects how an organisation operates, sells its products, interacts with and gathers intelligence on customers, suppliers and competitors.”

She advised SME manufacturers to use tools such as video conferencing, project management software and cloud storage to collaborate with their team members, suppliers and customers in real-time.

“Technology can help SME manufacturers better understand their customers’ needs and preferences

“The internet and digital tools have enabled businesses to reach customers worldwide, expanding their market reach.”

She further urged government to improve internet connectivity and make it affordable for small businesses.

“Definitely we need steady power supply to operate. Government should make it available and Internet connectivity affordable so that small businesses can connect and remain in business in this harsh times.”

Shola Abebe, an account executive at Green line Technology Africa, viewed that that there was need to help more MSMEs survive by ensuring they have access to finance for capital and operational demands and have the technological support they need to overcome market challenges and make it easier for them to do business.

“If we get that right, I do believe that 7.5% growth is achievable for Nigeria’s economy.

“In this era of technological advancement, there is the need for SMEs to key in and make for growth and business success.

“Businesses need relevant, affordable and accessible digital financial solutions for them to reach their full potential and drive the country’s development. The time has come for Nigeria to recognize the transformative power of these solutions and the enormous impact they can have on the growth of MSMEs and the overall economy.”

A web designer, Chinonso Ibeaku, listed some ways small businesses can harness technology to the full to include functional website, Project management tools, Social media, mobile marketing, among others.

He said web marketing, also known as digital marketing, online marketing and so forth, e-marketing is the process of selling products/services using the internet. E-mail marketing falls into the category of e-marketing.

He said having seen how mobile banking apps, e-commerce apps and fintech platforms have strengthened web-based payments, it is only expected that SMEs take advantage of this.

“When utilised properly, more advanced technology tools such as automation, artificial intelligence, data analytics, not to mention cloud computing can transform seemingly small businesses into grand empires.”

For Daniel Dickson-Okezie, a member of the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI), emphasised the need for SMEs to have strong organisational structure and focus on the need for innovative technology, as these constitute a pathway to business success in today’s technologically driven world.

Dickson-Okezie said technology could do much more things for SMEs, ranging from searching for customers online to keeping records of clients and owning a store online, without opening a physical store. He added that SMEs must be up to date in the daily activities in technology.

“To compete favourably, SMEs must use technology to do much bigger things with Artificial Intelligence rather than manual.”

Chairman, Lagos chapter of NASSi, Gertrude Akhimien pointed out that the association has continued to encourage its members to go online to enhance their businesses.

She urged other business owners who have not to join to beat the harsh business environment with less cost.

“Technology improves sales and reduces cost of doing business to a large extent and improved technology increases production..

She advised government to invest more in improved technology and mechanised farming with modern tools to boost capacity and increase production.

Dr Femi Egbesola, President, Association of Small Business Owners of Nigeria (ASBON), noted that SMEs should adopt the use of technology now more than ever before.

“Technology adoption will significantly reduce business cost. SMEs need to invest in online marketing and advertising of their products and services. This breaks borders and opens bigger markets. “SMEs should begin to take advantage of the AfCFTA opportunities to sell their products and services to other African countries without the statutory levies and taxes. This will lead to increase in sales and eventually push up productivity and profitability,” he added.

Written By Merit Ibe

Email: [email protected]