By Alan Shannon
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.
Building on this momentum, Nedbank is squarely focussed on helping businesses reach their full potential by providing value-added services that go beyond banking.
We’re happy to be able to grow and nurture South African businesses, especially those who use technology in innovative ways to ensure future success.
We’ve made our national network of dedicated small-business bankers available to provide hands-on assistance and guidance.
Additionally, Nedbank’s online banking and app channels come with free features, such as budgeting and invoicing solutions, and our free SimplyBiz network and support platform delivers business tools, inspiration and insights that go far beyond banking.
Ultimately, we believe digital inclusion is non-negotiable. Small businesses that are excluded from these benefits will undoubtedly be left behind in the race to survival in challenging economic situations.
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 sectors to reduce costs, retain underserved clients and attract the unbanked market.
Upskilling and reskilling is 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.
Alan Shannon is the executive for small business services and private clients at Nedbank.