By Alan Shannon, Executive for Small Business Services and Private Clients at Nedbank
ARE small businesses in South Africa harnessing the power of technology fast enough? The reality is, as the lifeblood of the economy, small businesses must incorporate innovation into their DNA. To stimulate and compete in a challenging economic environment, all companies need to embrace technology to benefit more in business.
When entrepreneurs and their employees adapt to new technology, the impact on the business can be immensely positive. For one, they are empowered with tools to simplify and streamline various operations and save time, energy and ultimately money. And technology doesn’t have to encompass large, sophisticated tools. An increase in revenue, customer engagement and above-average employee growth can all be achieved with simple and easily accessible digital tools.
Now is the time to take advantage of systems that can connect with customers instantly. The old saying of ‘location, location, location’ no longer needs to limit business growth. Businesses with storefronts, for example, can create additional online stores to increase their visibility and reach target markets beyond their immediate location and community.
According to the African Digital Banking Transformation Report 2022, there has been an accelerated shift towards digital banking models over the past few years. Encouragingly, 49% of African banks have stated that they have greatly increased the speed of implementing digital initiatives, as the perceived value of business technology has risen. Right now, many small businesses are already relying on technology to help them operate daily. From laptops with internet capabilities and printers to online file storage and web-based applications, technological advances influence small businesses across various industries.
According to the BCX Innovation Report 2022, sub-Saharan Africa is one of the fastest growing fintech hubs in the world. With the emergence of innovative digital financial solutions, it’s now up to players in the financial sector to reduce costs, retain underserved clients and attract the unbanked market.
Upskilling and reskilling are essential to prepare every business to seize opportunities and create a sustainable future within a digitised economy. Small businesses are now relying on the collective insights, creativity and vision of the banking industry. Ultimately, when clients and banks connect digitally, the economy flows more freely, which benefits all.