Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) in Nigeria have been urged to consider investing in tech, localise supply chain as a way of adapting to the new normal occasioned by Coronavirus pandemic.
Segun Ogunsanya, Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer (MD/CEO) of Airtel Nigeria stated this Tuesday at the UBA Quarterly Business Series, stressing that there was need for local sourcing of raw materials and supplies, while in the process boosting activities and staying afloat, especially at this time.
A statement by the organizers explained that he UBA Business Series, organised by the United Bank for Africa Plc, is a quarterly capacity building initiative where leading business leaders share insights on the best business practices and how entrepreneurs can build a sustainable business empire especially in the challenging business environment in Africa.
Ogunsanya, spoke on the topic: ‘Strategies and competencies for adjusting to a Post COVID-19 Business Environment’, at the session moderated by Bankole Williams, the Chief Executive of Lyd Consulting.
He sought to equip business owners with important and essential strategies on how to recover and rebuild their business concerns following losses incurred due to the pandemic which took the world by storm.
Already, the pandemic and ensuing lockdown forced many businesses to re-examine their models and strategies in line with the new normal.
Giving essential strategies to business owners to help their businesses thrive and stay afloat, he stressed that investment in technology “is very key in the new normal to ensure that our employees are able to deliver the goods and services to customers while remaining safe and keeping the customers safe also.
“Remember that the customer is still the king, so it is important to ensure that you configure all your operations to make sure that they are still able to transact their businesses and also encourage online payment for services because handling cash can also be dangerous,” he stressed.
More importantly, for him is the need for business owners to seek ways of configuring “businesses to what your customers actually need especially in this era of physical and social distancing.”
Giving examples of companies that have changed the direction of their businesses due to the limitations occasioned by the Covid-19 pandemic, Ogunsanya told participants at the webinar, that this period calls for critical evaluation of businesses where SMEs should think of creative ways to ensure that they meet the needs of customers and provide services that customers are actually willing to pay for.
“If as a business you find out that a huge part of your key services are not in high demand as a result of lockdown rules, then it is important to reconfigure your services; find other needs that you can meet for customers; look for various things you can do differently, completely cut out wastes and costs that are irrelevant as well as areas where value is not being added to the customers and ensure that you have a digital roadmap” Ogunsanya said in response to a participant who wanted to know how to increase productivity.
Jude Anele, UBA’s Group Head, Consumer and Retail Banking, who spoke ahead of the webinar, said far beyond banking services, UBA is interested in ensuring that customers and entrepreneurs run businesses that can stand the test of time.
The Business Series, he continued, seeks to arm business leaders with all the knowledge and experience required to take their businesses to the next level, besides being “an opportunity to learn something new from the people who have the experience.”