SMEs urged to embrace growth strategies that focus on customers, cost management

Small and Medium Entrepreneurs (SMEs) have been urged to develop and adopt intentional growth strategies for the whole business that focuses on customers and cost management.

The WYLDE Kenyan SME Sector Performance report asserts that the top three challenges that COVID-19 has had on business are cash flow (58 percent), operational expenses (20 percent) and inability to hold meetings (11 percent).

Funding has been critical to keeping businesses afloat during the pandemic. Loans, investments and grants account for 56 percent of the importance that businesses consider.

SMEs cited non-funding needs as a review of business strategies (65 percent), business development and management skills training (46 percent) and tax relief, waivers and discounts (45 percent).

Entrepreneurs found VAT reduction most useful to them at 50 percent, followed by PAYE reduction at 44 percent and interest rate reduction at 39 percent.

The top priority for employers is health and safety at 69 percent, followed by retention of employees at 40 percent and finally skills development at 48 percent.

Curfews have had an adverse effect on business costs, productivity and efficiency.

SMEs were also challenged to take advantage of stimulus packages offered by different organizations including KEPSA, Mastercard Foundation, SNDBX and UK Tech Hub among others.

In addition, WYLDE stated that leveraging on digital tools to stay visible, having virtual business interactions and adopting e-commerce will go a long way in ensuring they are in business.

WYLDE International carried out a customized mobile-based survey among 132 SMEs in Nairobi between September and October 2020 to inform the report.


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