The Citi Business Festival’s forum on Micro Small and Medium Enterprise (MSME) discussed ways of resetting businesses after COVID-19.
The forum saw Kosi Yankee, the Chief Executive Officer of the Ghana Enterprise Agency; Audrey Abakah, head of SME, agency and partnerships at Absa; the CEO of Busara-Africa, Taaka Awori and Richard Densu, the Senior Manager, Enterprise Customer Enablement & Solutions, MTN Business proffering solutions on how businesses could rebound after the pandemic.
MSMEs must focus on the big P.I.C.
Taaka Awori outlined what she described as P.I.C. for MSMEs to focus on–“P” for people, “I” for innovation and “C” for cash.
She said these three things were related to how businesses could become more resilient.
She stressed that recovery starts with a focus on the people in your organisation and ensuring they have the “right type of skills to adjust in the market.”
“It might not necessarily mean expensive training. It might also mean the ability to move people in different functions.”
When innovating, one pathway to consider is leveraging partnerships and understanding one’s limits.
When considering cash, Taaka Awori urged businesses to diversify income streams and ensure savings for a rainy day.
“What do I need to be putting aside as my business every month so that when my next crisis comes, we are ready to ride it out,” she noted.
MSMEs must position themselves for banking support
Audrey Abakah urged businesses to be mindful of regulations and banking relationships if they want credit support.
“A lot of them are not well-positioned at all,” she said, noting that some businesses do not have bank accounts or registered businesses.
“If you really want a bank to support you, one of the easiest things you have to do is establish a relationship by opening an account with the bank and also registering your businesses,” Audrey Abakah noted.
“At this point in time, if an SME has not registered its business, honestly, I really don’t know where you want to go with your business.
MSMEs must be proactive and anticipate industry trends
Kosi Yankee stressed the importance of MSMEs continually learning new ways of doing things and understanding the way market tendencies have changed.
“Businesses need to pay attention to what has changed in the world and what is important for people,” she said.
Taaka Awori also urged MSMEs to learn from similar shocks and be future-oriented to weather storms and take advantage of opportunities.
She advised businesses to spend time researching and understanding one’s MSME market.
“The problem we find as MSMEs is that we are reactive,” she said. “As an owner, your obligation is not only to pay attention to the immediate but also to have what they call perceptual acuity”.
MSMEs must leverage technology to improve their businesses
MSMEs were advised to digitise the way they buy, sell and manage business data.
“You have to start small. It doesn’t have to be big. There are a lot of applications that have a free package. Start with the free package and then scale up,” Richard Densu said.
As an example, he noted that traditional ways of bookkeeping are “no longer useful.”
“You can bring efficiency into your business through technology and make it easier to for them to assess your business for [loans]”.
MSMEs must take advantage of business coaching services
Kosi Yankee urged MSMEs to sponge off business development services (BDS) and business coaching.
This coaching is key to ensuring the MSMEs do not remain stagnant.
“It is important for us to transform the economy by providing support to these entrepreneurs and the MSMEs to watch them grow, if not they will stay where they are,” she said.
She noted that her outfit was working to take BDS to the doorsteps of MSMEs with better decentralisation.
The Ghana Enterprise Agency is also roping in the private sector to support business coaching and mentoring initiatives.
“We have also realised the need for industries, the private sector and existing business to come in and support some of the smaller and medium enterprises and pull them up,” Kosi Yankee said.
ABSA Bank is the main sponsor of the Citi Business Festival 2022 and supported by MTN Momo and MTN Business Support, IT Consortium and the Ghana Investment Promotion Centre (GIPC), and GIRSAL.