Women entrepreneurs in Nigeria can scale their businesses by adopting relevant technology tools like social media platforms, and focusing on the businesses that give them the most competitive advantage.
Experts at a workshop organised by the SME Boutique Women’s Exclusive Club (SWEC) said that many businesses owned by women usually burn out because their owners were often distracted by many things they want to do, hence the need to focus from the beginning. Technology is also a major key component of success for any business in the digital era.
SWEC is a member-based group of aspiring women in business and leadership, seeking business growth and personal development opportunities, powered by Addosser Microfinance Bank.
Nkemdilim Begho, managing director of Future Software Resources Nigeria Limited, said the pervasiveness of technology in that sense that any enterprise that would not leverage it over time might possibly be out of business.
She highlighted enterprise resource planning (ERP) tools that entrepreneurs could employ, such as Zoho, Dapulse, Evernote, and many others. An ERP is business process management software that allows an organisation to use a system of integrated applications to manage the business and automate many back office functions related to technology, services and human resources.
ERPs are often made in such a way that an entrepreneur can easily integrate without a third party. However, most people go for ERP consultants to ensure they are maximizing the full benefits.
Begho cautioned that people needed to be careful when picking an ERP consultant, saying, “There are people who do not understand that you are a small business, so they come with big ideas you cannot pay for or manage.”
The whole idea of an ERP is to enable business owners track their customers spending, behaviour, financial trends and what people are really buying.
Data-driven businesses are better position for effective strategies, she pointed out. “Only your numbers can tell what sales strategies can work,” Begho said.
Oyindamola Honey Ogundeyi, CEO of Fashpa, said pricing can determine the future of an enterprise. Upstaging a competitor does not necessarily translate to cutting price, she said. “Learn to build a business that is sustainable, makes more than you spend.”
Part of the ways to achieve that is to be clear about the problem you are trying to solve. “When it is not working, do not over flog it. Diversification is about having a plan but have a success story, have processes in place and know your customer,” Ogundeyi said.
Ijeoma Ndukwe-Egwuronu, CEO, Bubez Foods, highlighted challenges small and medium enterprises face daily. The challenges include funding, human resources, cost of doing business in Nigeria, epileptic power supply, ease of doing business and multiple taxation.
“Building a global brand is very expensive. To build a brand is a journey,” Ndukwe-Egwuronu said.