COVID-19: SMEs Must Reinvent To Remain Competitive – Heritage Bank CEO

Managing Director/Chief Executive, Heritage Bank Limited, Mr. Ifie Sekibo has charged Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) to reinvent themselves in order to remain competitive and overcome the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Speaking on “Converting ideas into reality with focus on SME’s”, Sekibo  stressed the need for SMEs to continually embrace partnership and function as an integral part of a value chain.

He said: “For SMEs to thrive, they must continually re-invent themselves and be  prepared to embrace change.

Sekibo noted that one big plus that SMEs have to their advantage is that although they are quite small, they can easily change and expand.

To achieve this, he urged that “Cooperation is key at this time.. Competition is good but complementing each other is better as 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 the SME to survive”

He therefore recommends that partnerships are developed in the space of SMEs since one-man business finds it difficult to survive in an economy that is changing on daily basis or even hourly.

Sekibo also counseled SMEs on the need 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 normal way 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. We will blame everybody for it and some of us will even throw in the towel.”

He therefore urged SMEs to embrace the new normal and explore the opportunities it presents for new possibilities for expansion and profit.

“My advice to SMEs at this critical time is that since this is a challenge not caused by you or anyone, Let us begin to make amends. Today, we are having conferences on E-Channel and exploring new possibilities.  Can we begin to sell our products through E-Channel? Can we begin to sell our ideas on E-Channel?  Can we begin to work at home and still be as productive and disciplined as we should? Those are the new normal. If we know the new normal, then we should courageously face it and go on.”


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