The pandemic has changed how most businesses operate in Nigeria but experts say creating value and building relationships with customers will continue to be factors that drive business growth.
“Value preposition, which is the act of solving problems, is something customers cannot ignore, when you meet people’s needs, they will listen,” Chika Ikenga, founder, Eunisell, Recare and owner of Natures Gentle Touch, said at BusinessDay 2021 conference themed Founders’ Furnace, small beginnings and big ending, last week.
Ikenga also pointed out that a business must also have systems and a strong brand image to maintain long-term growth.
Building systems help businesses achieve their goals. A business system is a combination of policies, personnel, equipment and computer facilities to co-ordinate the activities of a business organisation.
Austin Okere, founder of CWG Plc, during the conference also mentioned that businesses must learn to see challenges as opportunities and treat success and failure as the same.
Okere also explained that customer intimacy was important to ensure business survival.
Customer Intimacy refers to the art of getting to know the Customer’s business and problems better, and being able to provide solutions that alleviate the customer’s problems rather than just sell one’s product or service to the customer.
According to Okere, building customer intimacy can be achieved by increasing customer touchpoints. This can be through customer service, direct mails, emails, apps, packaging and mobile messaging.
He further explained that service excellence was a key competitive strategy for business success.
“Businesses must learn to deliver their services better than any other person can do it,” he said.
This ensures delivering consistent and quality service, quick response times, and open channels of communication, which results in better customer experiences and potential increases in sales.
According to Oke Maduewesi, CEO, Zaron Cosmetics, in building a business, entrepreneurs need to acquire some level of experience in business operations from structured organisation.
“It is also necessary to acquire formal education to expand your knowledge horizon as an entrepreneur. This will provide a platform for diverse learning and inspiration to churn out great ideas, it will also help you avoid mistakes,” she said
Running a successful business goes beyond the benefits and financial gains, as such passion comes in as a driving force most especially when things are not going as planned, she said.
She mentioned the importance of technology and innovation in building a successful business as she noted that the system as well as consumer’s preference changes regularly.
“Innovation is key to business growth as consumer’s preference changes regularly, you have to be informed about new trends and discover diverse ways to address the needs in your market,” she said.
During the webinar, the absence of infrastructure, which continues to be a major challenge for businesses, was addressed but this could be navigated by being innovative.
Folusho Ogunwale, founder, I-Fitness Centre, said for every Nigerian business, infrastructure was a major challenge that might disrupt initial plans, he added that the first shock for entrepreneurs is when they have to provide everything for themselves
“There will always be trouble starting a business but the fundamentals of running the business successfully is when you can be consistent, innovative and determined. You will also be required to take a lot of proactive action and adapt to a lot of things,” he said.
He advised entrepreneurs to break new grounds and explore untapped markets as long as it addressed a need.
Giving key elements for a successful business, he said, “for a business that wants to scale you need the right people in the right places and these include investors, customers, staff, suppliers, partners, etc.
“Also, you have to ensure that you are working with the right systems and processes in place to avoid placing pressure on your business.”