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What it takes for a business to survive in this economy

Aside from sheer grit and in some cases divine providence, businesses must quickly come to terms with the new digital realities that Covid-19 has now forced on us.

It used to be that businesses including large institutions could get away with not needing to be future proof. But that all changed post Covid and unfortunately, many businesses are still not evolving quickly enough to be relevant by 2025. Business landscapes have drastically changed over the last two years in order to match people’s evolving behaviours. One does not need to get overly technical to evaluate the impact of this.

 

The Revolution

Like most of Africa, Ghana skipped the online revolution and went directly into a mobile one; low-cost feature and smart phones were a big catalyst of that. All of a sudden, technologies like M-Pesa which would have been obscure anywhere else, became a force to reckon with. M-Pesa wasn’t just disruptive technology, it sparked a behaviour shift fuelled by the African context. Suddenly, financial inclusion no longer depended on banking institutions. Suddenly, Mobile money went from an interesting idea to a banking threat.

Consider WhatsApp – Usually the domain of the literate demographic. However, with the simple addition of voice notes, adoption has exponentially multiplied to include a semi-literate and illiterate demographic, no longer constrained by typing or the English language. Meanwhile, among the corporate crowd, WhatsApp is slowly growing into a recognised channel for corporate communication and has been touted as a potential email replacement.

These are two examples where simple technology has significantly influenced business transformation. Both these examples, Mobile money and WhatsApp, are things most business owners and decision makers have become so accustomed to, that they take for granted.

So, what makes them believe their own businesses are exempt from such significant transformation?

Digital Reinvention

Our own Tema port, the largest port in West and Central Africa, has had to reinvent itself digitally in order to be more efficient, prevent wastage and make processing a lot more efficient for both staff and customers.

Of course, it can be daunting if you don’t know where to start. To do it on your own, will mean finding ways to plug in to different players and services. It will mean building new relationships and paperwork. For example, before interoperability, it was very difficult to spot merchants who had all available mobile money channels as options for payment.

Fintech As A Service (FaaS)

This is why the idea of Fintech as a Service (FaaS) is a necessary solution for every conscious business owner. FaaS is a one-stop solution that allows your business to plug-in to a platform that is already built with the necessary connections and integrations. This enables your existing operations to be digitised and made more accessible to the evolving digital customer.

We’ve seen the steady rise of FaaS as a catalyst to transform how quickly businesses can go digital. We’ve also begun to see prominent African Fintechs like DreamOval take a step further by adding various value added services to help future-proof businesses even further.

For example, with one click of a button, a business can receive payments, no matter what channel its customers choose to use. The company’s technology automatically settles and reconciles all the receivables in one place, so business owners don’t have to spend manual effort reconciling everything by themselves.

DreamOval’s platform also delivers the ability for business owners to keep their eyes on their business in real time, with updates of transactions, reconciliations and settlements. Perfect for the on-the-go business owner or the side gig hustle.

Besides the company’s Plug-and-Play FaaS platform, the company also runs a technology consultation unit that allows businesses of all sizes to have bespoke technology built for peculiar requests. For a company that has digitised everything from the Tema port to doughnut eateries, there’s a solution for everyone.

But back to the point. Your own habits have changed drastically in the last couple of years. If you hadn’t evolved, you’d find it very hard to function as productively as you do in today’s world. In the same way, businesses of every size will have to evolve with technology or risk obsoletion. It has begun.

Are you prepared? And are you doing it with the right partner?

Kenneth Ohene-Sam, CAIA