How can SMEs Prepare for the ‘New Normal’?

The need to adapt to new changes for small business owners has never been greater than it is at the moment. Shop owners and vegetable vendors can attest to this. Though it is too early to assess the full scope of long term impacts, outlines of a new small business normal are taking shape today including an emphasis on digital transformation, technology investments and logistical flexibility.

SME Competitive Outlook 2020 recommends the need for business owners and policymakers to shift their focus towards the post-pandemic world because the economy is not likely to be like it used to before the pandemic once all this is over. It also outlines action plans for strengthening the recovery and resilience of the key factors.

SMEs now have to rethink of established systems that will boost their resilience and recovery bearing in mind that strong sanitary measures may persist to prevent future pandemic outbreaks. Their output will also be needed when generating ideas on sustainable and inclusive solutions to economic disruptions.

Yes, adopting future-forward technologies by small business owners and business organizations may seem like a distant priority, but it is what the new normal requires. They are expected to be at the forefront in the crisis response, embracing of digitization opportunities, inclusiveness and sustainability, regardless of the challenges they may face.

The art of fostering business resilience during good times is a KEY factor that greatly contributed to the strengthening of the economy. This is an important lesson most countries have discovered. And now that the crisis is here with us, most employers and business owners have seen that making businesses more resilient to shocks, while strengthening their links among them and with their business ecosystems, will help the economy as a whole withstand the next storm.  

“Digital-first” is an anchor truism of the new normal. Whether SMEs like it or not, digital technologies which were ascendant before the pandemic are here to stay with us or even accelerate. The whole part of the economy has shifted onto digital platforms.

This is the time for SMEs to use available online opportunities that technology providers are availing to improve digital capabilities. There are already businesses operating online reinforcing their ability to manage the surge in demand for goods that consumers crave.

The new normal has accelerated the already trends in motion like the use of cashless payments. Consumers are now flocking places that have the above services. This is an eye-opener to SMEs if they want to stay competitive and on the same level with other business owners, it is time for them to implement the use of M-PESA, debit cards or contactless credit.

Read also: Identifying business ideas during a crisis

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