Invest in Technology, Localise Supply Chain, Redefine Purpose, Airtel MD Advices SMEs investors at UBA Business Series

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In adjusting to the new normal, business owners and operators of Small and Medium Scale businesses have been advised to invest massively in technology and find ways to source their raw materials or supplies locally, as this is expected to boost their activities and help them stay afloat especially in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer, Airtel Nigeria, Segun Ogunsanya, who gave these tips at the UBA Quarterly Business Series on Tuesday, said that it is important that businesses redefine their activities to adapt to the new normal which most economies have found themselves as a result of the raging virus.

The UBA Business Series, organised by Pan-African financial institution, United Bank for Africa (UBA) Plc, is a capacity building initiative held every quarter, where leading business leaders share insights on best business practices and how entrepreneurs can build a sustainable business empire especially in the challenging business environment in Africa. This edition was moderated by the Chief Executive Officer, Lyd Consulting, Bankole Williams.

Ogunsanya spoke on the topic: ‘Strategies and competencies for adjusting to a Post COVID-19 Business Environment’, where he sought to equip business owners with the 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, forcing 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 said, “I must stress the need for business owners to invest in technology as it 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. More importantly, look for ways to configure your businesses to what your customers actually need especially in this era of physical and social distancing.”

While giving examples of companies that have changed the direction of their businesses due to the limitations occasioned by Covid-19 pandemic, Ogunsanya told the over 2,000 participants at the webinar, that this period called 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” he said in response to a participant who wanted to know how to increase productivity.

UBA’s Group Head, Consumer and Retail Banking, Jude Anele, who spoke ahead of the webinar, said that far beyond banking services, UBA is interested in ensuring that customers and entrepreneurs run businesses that can stand the test of time, adding that the Business Series seeks to arm business leaders with all the knowledge and experience required to take their businesses to the next level. “it is always an opportunity to learn something new from the people who have the experience,” Anele said.

United Bank for Africa is a leading pan-African financial institution offering banking services to more than twenty million customers globally. With footprint in 20 African countries and presence globally in the United Kingdom, the USA and France, UBA is connecting people and businesses across Africa through retail, commercial and corporate banking, innovative cross border payments and remittances, trade finance and ancillary banking services.

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