Just like in other countries, Mozambique has also felt the impact of the novel coronavirus. It has been a difficult moment in most parts and many entrepreneurs such as Catarina Bie have struggled to keep their businesses running. Catarina’s shop in Maputo, Mozambique was on the verge of getting closed. Most of her customers disappeared when COVID-19 erupted. Things got worse to appoint that she was almost about to close her business – a decision that could have had a long-term impact on her family’s future. Fortunately, she got involved in digital technologies which introduced her to better approaches that helped her keep her business running.
A Shift to Digital
Millions of small businesses globally like Catarina’s have experienced challenges as COVID-9 cases increased. With social distancing and travel restrictions, it was hard to do business. Every industry was affected from agriculture to retail and supply chain to tourism. To keep the sales flowing and operations running, businesses turned online and mobile platforms such as Facebook and WhatsApp became the new marketing hubs. In the agriculture sector, shifting to digital tools not only maintained the sales, locally and internationally, but has also enhanced crop productivity.
A Blueprint for Success
However, some groups find it difficult transitioning from traditional methods to digital formats. To overcome these challenges, there are a few factors that should be put into consideration. They include:
- Understand your needs as an entrepreneur and familiarize with various technologies in your field: These days, most entrepreneurs have smartphones which means they are connected to the internet. With adequate knowledge, they can turn their smartphones in to a marketing hub through platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, and WhatsApp. Before investing in technology, start-up and well-established businesses should first understand their needs and weigh different technologies that they can use to improve their services and operations.
- Choose the delivery methods and the most suitable technologies: To keep the entrepreneurs engaged, an interactive structure such as a WhatsApp or Facebook group is important. This can provide an ideal ground for various businesses to share ideas and market their product. After weighing down different technologies, the next step is to select the most suitable technologies to integrate into the business. Embracing marketing platforms such as social media platforms can be a blueprint for success.
- Measure the effectiveness with regular feedback from various groups: If you are using marketing platforms and your products are ordered online, you should measure the effectiveness of your marketing strategy and technologies using the generated returns and feedback from the customers. You can even create a WhatsApp or Facebook group to interact with regular customers.
Catarina invested a part of her savings in the business. She bought a few chairs to attract and accommodate more customers outside. Catarina says that she could have thought it’s possible to make her small business profitable during the pandemic. The new technological approaches helped her reach customers despite the COVID-19 pandemic. “Social media has helped me improve my business skills,” she cites. She can now afford a smile as she looks at a group of people settling down in one of her new outdoor tables and order a meal.
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