The Managing Director and Chief Executive, Heritage Bank Limited, Ifie Sekibo, has urged Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs), to adopt new business models and strategies, and embrace partnerships to remain competitive and overcome the challenges of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
According to him, there was a need for SMEs to continually embrace partnerships, and function as an integral part of Nigeria’s economic value chain in order to remain viable.
Speaking on “Converting ideas into reality with focus on SME’s,” Sekibo also charged them to adapt to the realities of a new world occasioned by the COVID-19 pandemic, especially the increased adoption of electronic channels (E-Channels) for productivity, and product marketing.
He said: “The truth is that even after this pandemic, we can never return to the former ways of doing business because this is the new normal and in our desperation to find solution, mistakes abound, failures will set in and most of us will hide from our failures other than face it.Advertisement
“We will blame everybody for it and some of us will throw in the towel. My advice to SMEs at this critical time is that since this is a failure not caused by you or anybody, you should accept the failure and begin to make amends.
“We now have conferences on E-Channels, so we can begin to sell our products by E-Channels, sell our ideas on E-Channels, continue to work at home, and still be as productive and disciplined as we should. Those are the new normal. So, if we know the new normal, then we should courageously face it and go on.”
He maintained that one big plus for SMEs is that they are small, and can easily change, noting that cooperation is vital at this point in time.
“I advocate always, competition is good but complementing each other is better, it comes with value chain principle. When you plan yourself in a value chain, you gain more because the big dinosaurs need the small SMEs to survive.
“The economy of Nigeria needs SME to survive. I recommend that partnerships be developed in the SME space. One-man businesses find it difficult to survive in an economy that is changing on daily basis or even hourly. If you want to remain viable, your dreams being viable, partnerships are good way to go,” Sekibo added.