Experts at the 2013 edition of the BusinessDay annual small and medium enterprises forum which held Thursday in Lagos, are of the view that businesses well positioned in the areas of information and communication technology, internet and social media can grow as much as 2800 percent over a three-year period.
They however say, in spite of the potentials of the internet and social media, most firms in Nigeria do not view it as key to their strategies for growth, and noted that firms can use the internet to overcome the disadvantage of being small in size to reach customers especially international markets.
The growth of the internet, according to them, has opened up a vast arena, providing more opportunities for businesses, particularly small to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to sell their products and services to a global audience than they would have been to afford to reach using the traditional methods.
This year’s conference with the theme ‘ICT, Internet and Social Media Marketing Platforms: New Growth Strategies for SMEs’, sponsored by Access Bank and Vconnect with the support of Connect Nigeria, focuses on how Nigerian SMEs can tap into the new growth strategy to grow their businesses profitably.
Analysts say the patronage of the internet all over the world is monumental and has remained on the increase. They say however, with the enormity of businesses on the internet, Nigeria is yet to harness the opportunities for optimal financial gains.
Ninety percent of Nigerian SMEs lack online presence, according to a past survey, buttressing non-compliance with the use of ICT, internet and social media platforms.
‘‘Market has transitioned from seller centric market to buyer centric market. Yesterday to make purchase buyers needed to get information about the product from business or sales person, but today the user gets the information from various sources online,’’ said Deepankar Rustagi, co-founder and general manager, Vconnect.com in a keynote address.
‘‘We are in a digital age and do not need to run analog businesses. SMEs can choose social media platforms that work for them,’’ Augustine Edet, executive director and chief operating officer, Nextzon Business Services said in a presentation on ‘Growing your Business through Social Media’. According to him, ‘Skillfully used, social media can help SMEs grow their businesses, by acquiring customers, connecting with potential hires, including increasing public awareness of their businesses’.