Improving MSME Sustainability with Survival Tips

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Lately, more and more companies are reporting low or no profits and, in some cases, no revenue. The case of corporate bankruptcies is equally high and widespread, which could be attributed to the changing landscape in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, high inflation, poor supply chains, poor diet high exchange rate and a host of other struggles.

Although the coronavirus pandemic has drastically changed business operations and customer experience, many businesses in Africa, especially in Nigeria, have stuck to the old model of customer service, which often involves a lack of comfort and a low customer satisfaction.

Although we have seen more physical retail strategy, digital innovations, remote work, e-commerce arrangement, adoption of knowledge technologies in businesses to improve performance and retain anchoring clients in small and large businesses in Nigeria.

Despite the evolution of business models in different industries around the world to meet today’s harsh economic realities, business operators need to adjust business models to flexible and practical models to meet customer expectations.

Therefore, according to experts, companies that wish to maintain their survival needs should adapt without delay to the realities surrounding customer expectations, preferences and convenience, stating that if small businesses do not recognize these changes in customer expectations, they could face business continuity. threat rather than just poor performance, as do large companies.

Business and enterprise management experts Dr. Timi Olubiyi said the majority of business advancements in recent times have been driven by technology, especially in service businesses and catering sectors, in especially restaurants and transport.

“For example, if you consider the case of Uber, the car rental company and others, the business model was driven by changes in consumer behavior and convenience was the main driver. The success of the business model is not based on a deep emotional connection with customers, but success can be summed up in one word: convenience.

“Additionally, based on sightings around Lagos State, the economic capital of Nigeria, we saw a restaurant with multiple outlets offering a single meal, rice with a boiled egg, for 500 naira It’s less than a dollar for the meal, noting that a dollar costs around 600 naira in the country.

“Similarly, banks are offering mobile banking software applications (apps) through which accounts can be opened online and transactions can be carried out, even to borrow funds, without having to enter the banking hall. Another example is the sudden rollout of point-of-sale (PoS) terminals to agents across the country, with agents performing certain banking transactions almost anywhere outside of banking halls.

“All of these concepts are aimed at capitalizing on customer convenience and current realities, nothing more. Therefore, business owners and SME operators need to understand this and know that when it comes to the most crucial aspects of customer needs, convenience is paramount.

“Each customer, however, may have different ideas of what constitutes convenience, from pricing to business location, payment options, ease of purchase or transactions, opening days and flexibility of time, customer experience of ordering, delivery, etc. It is important to note that most consumers are price sensitive and base their purchasing or service decisions on it,” he pointed out.

The survey conducted by LEADERSHIP found that Lagos State, with strong business concepts and retail knowledge, operates on this convenience model, even though it may seem like an insignificant way to run a business. where turnover, revenue and profit could be enough to sustain the operators.

Customers are expected to need items or products quickly, and such businesses exist on this premise. While I see large companies with a brick and mortar retail strategy paying exorbitant rent to maintain a physical presence without operating online or embracing technology for convenience.

Ignoring the digital age that has changed the retail industry, and indeed most sectors of the economy, where businesses can connect with customers anywhere and anytime is a flaw.

Olubiyi said it is high time for structured businesses, retail outlets and large corporations to adopt the convenience model to improve business sustainability and profitability.

He said convenience is more important than ever for consumers, especially in terms of price (affordable services or products) and easily accessible location (physical or online), adding that what matters to most consumers , it’s the time and effort they have to expend because they are largely impatient – the less time the better, and the less the better.

Olubiyi argued that giving an illustration of how convenience can make a business more profitable in the case of a hypermarket, where footfall can be increased by having a good convenient location, reducing expensive, specialty or high range and exponentially increasing practical goods.

He claimed that convenience goods are items or products that customers can easily afford and frequently buy on impulse without thinking too much and risk taking out high-interest loans. These items are groceries, foods, detergents, toothpaste, paper products, and emergency items such as light bulbs, etc.

He postulated that the idea is that a large volume is likely to be sold in a short period of time, and that repeat purchases will occur continuously and that these activities will be active and successful. Moreover, technology can also be of great help in this case, which is where e-commerce comes in. Added levels of convenience for customers to efficiently use their phones with seamless payment platforms or gateways to make purchases or transactions will help a lot, no matter how small. He claimed

For micro businesses, he said, social media platforms and WhatsApp status can also help advertise cheaply and keep customers informed about new market entrants.

“For other forms of business, especially large enterprises, a business model can be designed or redesigned around practical solutions. To create convenience, businesses need to find ways to eliminate any “friction” that may arise when a potential customer interacts with or purchases from their business. Such convenience can be designed around packaging, delivery, user-friendliness, automation and product variety,” he noted.

Also speaking, the National Chairman of the Association of Small Business Owners of Nigeria (ASBON), Dr. Femi Egbesola, insisted that SMEs should diversify their business interests by focusing on areas of business that attract more sales and consumer interest.

He further noted that the only way for SMEs to survive the current cash crunch and economic realities on the ground is for them to be creative in offering already made products to Nigerians.

This, he said, would ensure the survival of SME businesses to adapt to realities by focusing on major consumer trends rather than just offering services that the market would reject.

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