By Ibrahim Senyonga
The pandemic has ceased to be news and is now part of our lives. However, what still catches the ears of the public is the impact the pandemic is creating in our society.
For businesses especially, some have suffered the wrath of the ever-changing economic landscape occasioned by the virus. The tough punch dealt to potential customers’ incomes through job loss doesn’t help the situation.
However, a firm and determined business should house the agility to adapt to the situation.
One of the ways to remain afloat and beat the virus is to digitize.
Since the onset of covid-19, we have seen a paradigm shift towards digitisation of business operations across the 21 sectors.
We are witnessing an extreme reliance on ICT solutions as businesses seek for alternative ways to remain productive during and after the pandemic.
A plethora of businesses have shifted operations to digital platforms. Host platforms have reported an increase in merchants and evidently the rationale is to boost sales even during the lockdown.
This is also evidenced by the increase in demand for stable internet connection especially working at home as well as mobile money payments for businesses both in Kampala and outside Kampala.
Effective and frequent communication
However digitization ought to be coupled with effective communication if your business is to succeed.
At MTN, we offer customized three in 1 packages including voice, SMS and internet to enable you effectively run your online business.
Expose your business widely
One of the concerns with the pandemic is the reduced disposable income amongst the public. But the beauty with digitization is the endless pool of markets.
Digitization opens your business up to markets in Uganda, across regions and globally. This is important because whereas one market could be affected, another market presents an opportunity for your business.
Endeavor to scale your business operations online. Do not limit your business only to in-country operations, have a presence and representation through website, phone contacts among others on not only national but also international level.
Look for value pockets
As a small business, it is also important to carry out a post-mortem during this period to understand your value pockets. It is important to understand who is currently driving your revenue. Your current client base might be different from over 6 months or even two years ago.
Once you have figured that out, create a strategy on engaging those currently driving your revenue and the future prospects of the client base and ensure discipline to follow through with the strategy to the letter.
Focus on that strategy and ensure you have the technical capability to effectively execute it.
One of the tenets of the strategy should be to examine the way a business can redefine its products and services to suit the demand or situation caused by the pandemic.
In MTN’s case, prior to the pandemic, investment of large scale internet majorly targeted large corporations in central business districts but that has since changed to cater to residential areas and smaller businesses as working from home persists.
Standing out on digital
And as more businesses digitize, your business needs to set itself apart.
The first step is to ensure your business is digitized with great connectivity.
MTN has fibre from border to border across over 50 major districts in Uganda and we have channel partners to support the digitization process.
MTN also has fibre close to over 300 estates in the central business districts available to support work from home.
As a business, you also ought to have a number of payment options to enable customers to pay from anywhere at their convenience.
Through mobile money, one of the commonest means of money transfer in Uganda, MTN enables businesses to ease the payment process through MoMo for Business solutions which can be accessed at talk business on the MTN website.
Ibrahim Senyonga is the MTN General Manager Enterprise Business Unit