First Bank of Nigeria Limited (FirstBank) has canvassed for a robust, profitable and sustainable Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) sector to boost the Nigerian economy as this will ensure that the country takes its pride of place in Africa and even global economies.
The first generation financial institution made the assertion during its SMEConnect Webinar for business owners with the theme: Pioneering SME Success: Growing Profit and Sustainability Goal, aimed at delivering its value-adding propositions within the SME ecosystem and keep business informed of essential tips to guard against and mitigate the challenges faced by Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) in the country.
During the Zoom meeting, the bank explained that the Webinar was targeted at critical areas capable of influencing the growth and development of SMEs with a view to assisting them to cultivate resilience nuggets at various stages of their business journeys, considering Nigeria’s peculiar business landscape.
Speaking during the virtual meeting, Executive Director of Mesh Consult Limited, Ayotunde Meshioye, who lamented that SMEs in Nigeria fail between three and five years of being set up, said small businesses provide over 80 percent of job opportunities and contribute about 49 percent of the nation’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
He pointed out that small businesses also possess the ability to get youth gainfully employed, have capacity to reduce poverty and reduce crime rate in the country.
On how SMEs can grow profitably, he stressed that small business owners should ensure that their products and services get regular patronage, put good and practicable sales and marketing strategies in place and ensure that their businesses are adequately funded.
Meshioye also maintained that small business operators must offer high quality products and services to their customers, as well as leverage the power of technology by exposing their competencies to online platforms including Facebook, Youtube, Instagram and LinkedIn, among others.
In his presentation on how to sustain profits, he explained that good structures and systems to ensure that business runs smoothly, continuous improvement on offerings, good customer relationship, understudying the competition to keep ahead, understanding the business environment, as well as responding timely to changes, remain sacrosanct to the success of businesses.
He also highlighted the challenges that lead to failure of SMEs to include inadequate funding, poor documentation, inability to generate regular sales, non-compliance with regulatory and statutory requirements, inability to separate personal funds from business capital and poor Profit and Loss (P&L) analysis.
Meshioye recommended that business owners should put in place workable strategic plans to mitigate the above listed causes of failure and engage the services of financial experts and business coaches at all stages of their business.
Also, in his presentation, Head, SME Banking & Money Transfer at FirstBank, Dr. Abiodun Famuyiwa, who gave an overview of the SMEs sector in the country, maintained that to grow sustainable and profitable MSMEs in Nigeria, small business owners must endeavour to shun short-term interests and develop medium to long-term strategies for success in their various chosen sectors.