Nigeria has more than 40 million MSMEs according to official statistics. Do you know that more than 95% of these businesses are considered very small or nano? It is okay to start small, but it is more important to attempt to grow. If 1 million businesses should improve and do better each year, that can lead to more job creation, more revenue for the business owners and wealth for their families, communities and the country.
The starting point to Business Growth in today's world is first to take your business online and go digital. Here are 10 reasons and benefits of doing that:
- Increased Reach and Customer Base: Going digital allows small businesses to expand their reach beyond their local area. With an online presence, they can target a larger audience and potentially attract customers from different cities or even countries. A business in Kano can sell to customers across the country. Take Mohammed as an example - he produces tie & dye materials in Kebbi State. Because he has a website and social media, he is able to get wholesale and retail customers from across the country to place their orders and h delivers to them His business has grown more than 10 times.
- 24/7 Availability: Unlike physical stores where you have to shut down in the evening, digital platforms enable businesses to be open 24/7. This accessibility allows customers to make purchases at their convenience, increasing the potential for sales and revenue. Adenike has a Gift shop in Oyo State and now that she has gone Digital, customers can reach her any time of day or night. When she wakes up, she finds lots of messages waiting for her. The business continues whether she is awake or not.
- Cost-Efficiency: Do you know you can start a business with just one staff and use digital platforms to run your business better and more efficiently. Establishing and maintaining an online presence is generally more cost-effective than setting up a physical store. Digital platforms often require lower initial investments and ongoing expenses, such as rent, utilities, and staffing costs, can be significantly reduced.
- Improved Customer Engagement: How do you engage with your customers today? Digital tools like social media, email marketing, and chat support provide businesses with more opportunities to engage with their customers. This enhanced interaction can lead to stronger customer relationships, brand loyalty, and valuable feedback for product or service improvement.
- Data Analytics and Insights: Here is another very important reason - have data for decision making. The digital landscape provides access to powerful data analytics tools that small businesses can use to gain valuable insights into customer behavior, purchasing patterns, and market trends. These insights can inform business decisions, optimize marketing strategies, and drive growth.
- Flexibility and Scalability: Ngozi started a restaurant 10 years ago. She recently went digital and now has the flexibility and ease to update her website and social media with the menu, post images of her food, celebration of her customers, her events, and her restaurants. Any changes she makes or information is immediately reflected for her customers anywhere. People place orders online and pass by to pick it up, or she delivers to them. Digital platforms offer flexibility for small businesses and allows businesses to scale their operations without extensive physical expansions.
- Global Presence: With a digital presence, small businesses can operate on a global scale, reaching customers anywhere in the world. This opens up opportunities for international trade, collaboration, and partnerships that were previously inaccessible due to geographical limitations. Take Ifueko in Benin City, Edo State as an example. She is a graphics designers. She opened up a small business running from her home and asked her friend to join as a writer. Together, they design and write for clients all over the world. They post their works, customers content them, offer the jobs, pay them directly into their company bank account and they delivered their designs digitally.
- Cost-Effective Marketing: Digital marketing methods, such as search engine optimization (SEO), social media advertising, and content marketing, provide cost-effective alternatives to traditional advertising channels. These strategies allow small businesses to reach their target audience with greater precision while staying within budget.
- Efficient Inventory Management: Going digital enables small businesses to implement inventory management systems that streamline operations, improve accuracy, and reduce costs associated with overstocking or stockouts. Real-time monitoring of inventory levels can optimize stock levels and minimize waste.
- Competitive Advantage: Embracing digital technology gives small businesses a competitive edge in today's fast-paced business landscape. By leveraging digital tools and strategies effectively, they can differentiate themselves from competitors, showcase their unique value proposition, and attract tech-savvy customers.
As a small business, our final note is this - DO NOT BE AFRAID OF DIGITAL. The benefits are huge and it is very safe. In our next article, we will share the things to watch out for when going digital.
Go out there and give digital a try and achieve the business of your dreams.