In a remarkable and insightful address at the recent Vodafone Micro and Small Enterprises (MSEs) seminar in Accra, Ama Bawuah, the distinguished Board Chair of Access Bank, shared invaluable wisdom and strategies aimed at elevating SMEs from “good to great”. The seminar, themed “Good to Great with Vodafone: Innovate, Comply, and Expand,” provided a platform for SMEs to gain a deeper understanding of the tools necessary to navigate the challenging business environment successfully.
Thinking Corporate, Acting Agile
Ama Bawuah’s central message resonated with the audience, as she stressed the pivotal role of structured operations in SMEs. “Structuring one’s SME is key to its success,” she affirmed. She encouraged SMEs to adopt a formal structure while preserving the agility that makes them unique. Her mantra: “Think like a Corporate, Act like a Corporate but Operate like SMEs,” captivated the essence of balancing corporate best practices with the nimbleness of small businesses.
Organized annually by Vodaphone Business, the forum usually attracts business captains operating in the private section with small turn-overs
Research and Communication Excellence
Recognizing the importance of staying well-informed, Bawuah urged SMEs to delve into research within the banking sector to align their strategies effectively. She emphasized that robust communication, both internally and externally, is non-negotiable in today’s fiercely competitive business landscape.
Setting Targets and Realistic Goals
Drawing from her wealth of business experience, Ama Bawuah underscored the significance of setting clear targets and milestones. She implored SMEs to ask themselves critical questions like “What can we achieve in the next year or two?” and “What resources do we need to reach our goals?” In addition, Bawuah reminded attendees that SMEs typically achieve break-even status after five years of existence, urging them to set achievable, realistic targets.
Financial Prudence and Planning
On the topic of financial goals, Bawuah encouraged business owners to identify their target clients and strategize on how to reach them effectively. She emphasized the importance of sourcing raw materials efficiently. Furthermore, she advised SMEs to set revenue targets that are both challenging and attainable, providing guidance for future growth.
The Governance Advantage
Ama Bawuah dismantled the misconception that governance structures are dispensable for SMEs due to their size. She illuminated the benefits of having a board in place, which can offer invaluable advice, facilitate networking opportunities, ensure adherence to state laws, and provide a strategic vision for the business. A board, she asserted, can be the compass guiding an SME’s journey towards growth and sustainability.
Monitoring for Excellence
Bawuah’s counsel extended to the importance of daily monitoring activities and understanding employees’ work plans and execution. She advocated for the implementation of weekly staff meetings as a vital practice for fostering growth within SMEs.
Ama Bawuah’s address left an indelible mark on the seminar attendees, inspiring them to apply these strategies in their own enterprises. Her profound insights bridged the gap between SMEs and corporate success, and her mantra echoed in the hearts of the audience, motivating them to think, act, and operate with excellence. The seminar’s overarching theme, “Good to Great with Vodafone,” encapsulated the aspiration of every SME striving for innovation, compliance, and expansion in today’s dynamic business landscape.