How SMEs can fast-track their growth by going digital

SMEs have never been under threat of closure due to tough economic environment in Kenya than it is today. The period of COVID-19 has thrown us into a world that we could never have predicted. All industries are affected, but still the level of resilience is amazing. Unlike big companies which can close shop and exit the market, for many SMEs, this is their daily bread, you just can’t leave. Businesses globally have been forced to change their service offerings, pivot their business strategies, and operate under modified conditions because people are spending less, and staying at home more.

Transitioning to accommodate for the impact of the pandemic has not been easy for many businesses. According to interviews conducted during the How Brands Are Born, many entrepreneurs are shaken but not giving up just yet. However, despite the difficulties small businesses and start-ups of Kenya are currently facing, there are tangible solutions out there that can fast-track business growth, even during tough times.

Throughout the past few months, we have seen restaurants and cafes restricted to online delivery services embrace this change launching new menus specifically for home delivery and teaming up with other business to offer beverages and desserts with the meal. These solutions have meant some businesses have been busier during the lockdown than they were outside of it and this would have all been impossible without taking the business online.

Here are a few tips on how businesses can go digital fast.

1. Get a good digital asset

Invest in your own website domain, Facebook page, or Instagram and you’ll reap the rewards. In order to have your business stand out from the crowd online, a dynamic digital asset that you can add content to and promote is essential. The CrystalPerk Kuza Biashara account is specifically catered for SMEs to quickly go digital with a robust strategy but at low costs. Having a digital asset means you can share your products, your customers can contact you on Facebook or purchase directly from your website and you can also have your own blog which in turn helps with search engine optimisation (SEO).

2. Remember that text is not enough

Having a blog and a website that explains what your business is and does used to be all customers would expect but not anymore. You need to promote a range of multimedia like graphics, images, GIFs and video. If a graphic designer is not something you want to spend on just yet, try using the Kuza Biashara Account to assist with creating good quality and attractive content for your website.

3. It goes without saying, get on social media

Even if you have your website up and running, for sure you need Facebook and Instagram business pages to help refer customers back to your website. The great thing about social media these days is that you can easily run marketing campaigns via these channels. It’s not enough to just post content. Everything is social, and everyone has gone social media these days.

4. Advertise!

Allocating some advertising budget and targeting the perfect audience for your services is essential for getting people on your website and buying your product or service.

5. Don’t just “sell” – make sure you “advise”

Going with the tactic of solely ‘selling’ your product or service isn’t the way to go. Positioning yourself as a thought leader and expert in what you are selling or doing is a much better way to build trust with your customers. Use the facility at Mombasa Sustainability Forum to hone your thought leadership ability. Instead of only posting discounts, sales and or product-focused posts (whether that be on your website or social media), it’s important to touch on what sets you aside from other businesses in the similar space, and share your knowledge.

6. Speak to your customers quickly and often

Make every interaction count, even the small ones; they are all relevant

It’s a business founder’s priority to be keeping in touch with customers as much as possible. Ensuring your business is active on platforms like Facebook is an excellent way to keep an open dialogue with your customers, and it also gives the impression your business is easily reachable for any customer queries. But make sure you answer them quickly, before they lose interest!

Mombasa, Kenya.

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