December 7, 2023

On the theme: “Unlocking the potential of SMEs through digitisation”, the event attracted hundreds of business people while thousands participated online.
It comes at a time when technology is fast changing the world in a way that has never been seen before, as individuals continue to seek cheaper, convenient and easier ways of doing things.
With the tech evolution still on, businesses across the world are, therefore, still grappling with how to use digital tools to deliver bespoke solutions to their customers.
Critically, it has become obvious that many SMEs, particularly those from this part of the world including Ghana, are lagging behind in spite of the huge potential within that space.
Key pointers from event
1. Key customers online – Key customers are always spending time online. This is the reason SMEs were told at the clinic to ensure that they create portals online and be present there. This is crucial because that is one of the key ways to reach those online to patronise their product or service.
2. Working smart – Working smart is the way to go now. Working smart, essentially, means figuring out what your strengths are and building a network around you to build upon those in order to reach goals in the quickest and most efficient way possible. This is important for SMEs in our part of the world because the speed at which people are using online portals is growing fast.
3. Working with the right device – Access to the right device is key to be able to leverage the numerous applications provided on smart mobile devices by manufacturers. These apps can teach simple things like bookkeeping, among other things, including the ability to stay on social media to interact with many other people.
4. Be conscious online – Being online to engage with people must be a conscious activity. SME owners must not really have to be tech savvy. They can engage other people to do so for them. This is important because aside from creating a job avenue for people, they also stand the chance of making use of that space to sell their products or service.
Springboard tips
A couple of weeks ago on the Springboard, Your Virtual University, the host, Rev. Albert Ocran, engaged the Senior Manager, Regulatory Affairs at MTN Ghana, Sam Fifi A. Bartels, and the Chief Executive Officer of Adroit 360, Jacob Kwaku Gyan, for the second time to share some tips on how businesses could use technology to scale up their ideas.
Top lessons from Sam Bartels
1. In-shop-analytics; cameras in shops now observe your movements, purchases, and preferences to make suggestions. Attention is the most sought-after commodity in the world.
2. Church; Churches were slow to adopt to technology. But today, multi-site churches share one service from different locations. Cyber-enabled churches now have online devotionals and offering options.
3. Sports; Recruitment of players, coaching, training and physiotherapy are all driven by data and analytics. Today, there are smart jerseys and helmets that monitor data. The consumption of sports has been changed by technologies like pay per view, virtual and augmented reality etc.
Top lessons from Kwaku Gyan
1. Collaboration; Some of the greatest successes are achieved when companies collaborate instead of competing with everyone.
2. Data-driven decisions; Don’t try to show off by trying to be everywhere. Not every idea can work in other locations. Using data-driven research helps you to know what will work without assuming.
3. The GOBE App; I developed an app for a popular gari and beans seller at Alajo called Lebene. After her initial hesitation, she’s now so excited because sales have trebled by the power of technology.
4. Commerce; Technology gives convenience and instantaneous options. You can now sit in the comfort of your home, virtually examine products and order. Smart softwares also suggest other things you might need and reviews from other users to help you decide
5. Flexibility; For a Customer Relations Manager technologies now allow the business to personalise your customer experience and get you a refund when needed. These apps know your birthday and even offer you birthday discounts.
Way forward
SMEs must be able to take the opportunities digitisation offers seriously because that is what can make them bigger or sustain their businesses.
Many big brands in the world that refused to move along with the fast evolution of technology in the world have either folded up or are now playing catchup.
The future of money is digitisation and this is the reason SMEs must work to be a part of the changing times.
Again, Ghana has signed up to the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) which offers them leverage to access a huge market.
It is also worthy to note that digitisation can help SMEs to leverage crowd funding. Crowdfunding is a financing method that involves funding a project with relatively modest contributions from a large group of individuals, rather than seeking substantial sums from a small number of investors
Access Bank and Graphic Business gives value because it provides technical support to SMEs to do better.
It is expected that lessons learnt will be adopted to better their lot.
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