Experts have identified effective human resource management and strategic partnerships as important ways to boost the profitability of Small and Medium Scale Enterprises in Nigeria.
Speaking at the 2023 BusinessDay’s Top 100 Fastest Growing SMEs on Friday, Akintunde Marinho, CEO of Utopia Media Group, said the most valuable asset for any business is its people and the experience and expertise of the employees are what drives a company’s success and sustainability.
Yetty Ogunnubi, CEO of YD Company noted that strategic partnership is the way to grow.
Oluwatoyin Bakare, executive director of SAS Textile Limited noted that the most critical resource is the skilled manpower and human resource management.
“The staff you have can mar or make your business,” Bakare said. She also noted that financial management and access to finance is another critical part and that having good records of all transactions for one’s business is needed to build sustainability.
In Africa’s biggest economy, the micro, small and medium enterprises sector contributes 50 percent of the GDP and has provided over 48 percent of all employment opportunities in the country, according to the United Nations Industrial Development Organisation.
However, many of the 39.6 million businesses have been struggling to survive in recent years owing to the fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Russia-Ukraine war, petrol subsidy removal and the naira devaluation.
Small business operators have been grappling with a combination of issues, including poor power supply, rising borrowing costs, soaring inflation, restrictive economic policies, foreign exchange volatility and tax multiplicity.
According to the Small and Medium Scale Enterprises Development Agency of Nigeria, 80 percent of SMEs in Nigeria fail before their fifth anniversary due to harsh economic environments, lack of access to capital, and poor business practices, which have stunted the growth and transition of micro-businesses.
“We are in an era in Nigeria is a place where talent is leaving the country, after investing into them, and you don’t want to stop them, the best way is to look for a way that you both can work till you find better hands, including flexibility,” Ogunnubi of YD aid.
She noted that employers need to be more flexible to attract and retain talent.
“In today’s tech-driven economy, flexibility is essential. Employers who are willing to offer flexible work arrangements, no longer the usually 9-5 work schedule will be better positioned to attract and retain top talent,” she added.
Bakare underscored that recognising employees as company representatives and valuable assets are key to talent retention. “Business is all about you see people, how do you see your staff, it is important to see them as ambassadors of the business.”