In times of immense uncertainty, SMEs need to be able to pivot swiftly. In the face of rapidly-evolving customer needs and a trading environment that changes from one day to the next, an open mind is essential. However, this kind of agility doesn’t come naturally to everyone. Can you create the conditions necessary for success? Traditional thinking says that entrepreneurs in their early stages of growth need to hasten from the comforts of their offices, ‘hit the pavement’ and meet as many potential customers as possible. But what happens when your prospective customers are working from home or hesitant to entertain anyone outside of their close circle? Thankfully, the internet is still very much open for business.
There are ways for you to find new customers, learn about their needs and test the viability of your ideas using online channels — and it’s your responsibility to find (and master) those channels.
Embarking on a regular, high-quality content marketing plan using your company blog is a solid start, along with seriously increasing the frequency and quality of your social media posts. Online ads, using Facebook especially, will help drive traffic to your website, giving you the perfect opportunity to gather customer contact details, run online surveys and host live Q&As. COVID-19 is not an excuse to stop learning about your customers. Whether remote or face-to-face, seize this opportunity to sharpen your information-gathering and problem- solving skills. With this knowledge now in your hands, the question becomes: ‘Do we persist with our existing business model, or do we pivot?’
To pivot effectively, entrepreneurs must bring more to the table than ever before. How can you make use of the skills you already have individually and collectively — to deliver greater levels of value to your customers? What new income streams can you generate to complement and enhance your core offering? The emphasis here is on developing ideas which you can roll out quickly, cheaply — and at low risk. It’s a three-step process: build your concepts, test them immediately — and measure your results in real-time. This environment of rapid change will present a stern challenge even to the most creative and energetic of teams. Encourage your best and brightest to embrace this fight. It will be worth it.
About Atlas Mara
Atlas Mara (www.atlasmara.com) was listed on the main market of the London Stock Exchange in December 2013. Atlas Mara's strategy is to create Sub-Saharan Africa's premier financial services institution through a combination of its experience, expertise and access to capital, liquidity and funding.
Its goals are to combine the best of global institutional knowledge with extensive local insights and to support economic growth and financial inclusion in the countries in which it operates.
BancABC Botswana is a part of the Atlas Mara Group. Our vision is to be the trusted local bank in Botswana, offering world-class solutions and building profitable, lifelong customer relationships through the provision of a wide range of innovative financial products and services to benefit all stakeholders. BancABC in Botswana, Mozambique, Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe.
The group offers a diverse range of products in corporate banking, treasury services, retail & SME banking, asset management and stockbroking.