Did you know that small and medium-scale enterprises represent about 90 per cent of businesses and more than 50 per cent of employment worldwide?
According to the World Bank, formal SMEs contribute up to 40 per cent of national income (Gross Domestic Product) in developing countries.
It is certainly no exaggeration that SMEs play a major role in most economies, particularly in the context of developing regions.
If you look around, chances are high that you can mention 10 SME owners without thinking too much about it.
This comes as no shock since unemployment is a hard nut to crack in many African countries. Even so, the SME sector continues to accommodate many youths who struggle to turn their side hustles into actual businesses.
However, for small business owners, life is not always a bed of roses as they sometimes grapple with challenges that could stunt the growth of their small enterprises.
Amid ongoing digital transformation, small and medium scale businesses cannot risk being left behind at any time.
Like major companies that are taking advantage of modern technology to remain competitive and drive growth, SME owners would do well to leverage digital tools beyond their use in the day-to-day running of their business. No doubt, when utilised effectively, technology can help accelerate business growth and success.
Are you a founder of a small or medium-scale enterprise? If so, this piece aptly covers various ways you can harness technology to the fullest extent possible.This is not to say that large companies cannot also borrow a few principles that will be shared.
It is possible you are focused on providing services as opposed to physical products. Nevertheless, you can still utilise well-designed websites to enhance your business
If you have studied the market strategy of popular brands, you will notice that some of the advertisements they put out link people to their websites where their products or services are displayed.
Having an attractive website with relevant and concise information, not to mention good speed, can attract visitors and prospective customers in droves. What people see tends to have a strong impression on their perspective on things.
To get an upper hand, you can employ search engine optimisation strategies to boost your brand’s chance of ranking high on the Google search engine as soon as a product or service is searched for. This is why a .ng domain name which is Nigeria’s brand on the Internet remains your best bet.
The use of websites is part of a clever strategy called mobile marketing. I’ll get to that shortly.
Project management tools
Technology allows you to collaborate with, monitor, and enhance your employees’ productivity while ensuring that everyone is handling assigned projects as they are supposed to.
There is a wide array of business tools called “productivity apps” to determine how productive your staff has been. Trello, Asana, ClickUp, and Basecamp, among others, are some collaborative tools that could be handy to have as a team.
From apps that help you to automatically sort your email and de-clutter your mailbox (i.e. Sanebox) to others that block distracting websites, mail servers, as well as limit social media addiction (i.e. Self-control), technology has birthed innovative software applications whose usage can form part of your organisational culture. Interestingly too, COVID-19 has popularised video conferencing platforms that make it possible to conduct virtual meetings with your team anywhere, anytime.
Also known as web marketing, 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. Let’s talk a little bit about this.
Sometimes underestimated by businesses, email marketing still plays an essential role in recent times. Don’t make that mistake.
With email marketing, you get to check the turnover rate or action taken using the right tools. Since data is key, you can analyse your metrics in terms of click-through rates, the number of emails opened, and so forth.
The tool also allows you to keep track of your customer’s interests and purchase journey at every point in time, giving you a heads up when you should change strategy.
I would advise discretion at this juncture. While email marketing is great, you don’t want to clutter your target audience’s as well as prospects’ inboxes with unceasing promotional emails and newsletters.
Building an efficient email strategy around automation will help you engage with your customers (existing and new), drive sales and save time.
Every business worth its salt must have an online presence. As such, business owners have dominated social media like WhatsApp, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Instagram to create awareness.
Many use these platforms to advertise their products; bloggers, Web developers and other online users use the media to showcase their skills and seek patronage.
Since social media can help businesses engage with their users, gain followers and attract their target audience, you should consider sharing relevant and interactive content, such as videos, charts or infographics, across your social media pages.
While big companies pay well-visited websites to put up ads about their businesses, products, promos or announcements- after all, they have the money- dogged small and medium enterprises use social media platforms that accommodate advertisement (e.g. Facebook and its marketplace, WhatsApp Business and its status, among others). While being inconvenient at times, these ads achieve their purposes, as you can attest to.
Technology has made it possible for different parties to send or receive money seamlessly. This has helped boost businesses tremendously.
For online retailers and drop shippers, buyers can make purchases and pay for them in the comfort of their homes rather than go through the stress of depositing money into the seller’s account.
Having seen how mobile banking apps, e-commerce apps, and fintech platforms have strengthened web-based payments, it is only expected that you 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.
Technology offers the opportunity to tap into the trends available in the outside world. As an SME owner, the ability to adapt your business now and keep pace with changing trends can determine its future.
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