Human existence and the human way of doing things no doubt has been altered and eternally changed with the discovery or introduction of information, communication and technology. The human species has seen itself move through various stages, from the stone age through the iron age, the renaissance period saw to the birth and free flow of new ideas, most of which when harnessed has in time past have seen to the advancement of humanity. Imagine the cavemen using a jawbone to fish in the Nile, or imagine any of them standing in the middle the stream catching fishes with their bare hands. However so much has changed as men in their ages of growth and development has continued to make life meaningful and easy for themselves. The world has seen various technological advancements and scientific breakthroughs, the invention of the electricity by Michael Faraday, the Wright brothers with the first flying machines, the amazing breakthrough of genius minds like Thomas Edison, Albert Einstein, Michael Angelo, Charles Darwin and a whole lot of others. The 21st century saw to the emergence of brilliant minds like Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, and Mark Zukenburg etc. Of the numerous innovations which the human race has seen or produced, none is as impacting and all-encompassing as the introduction of the ICT that is information Communication and Technology. The world has become a global community where by you can reach out to any part of the world to make things happen within a jiffy and at a very minimal cost.
Touching every aspect of the human existence, the introduction of information communication and technology has altered the way we do business as it has become absolutely easier to transact any business activity all by using the internet and the various ICT tools. As the world prepares for its Post- Covid realities, with economic recession looming at the door of most world economics, the limitation of doing business which is necessitated by the various health rules and regulations made by the world health organization to curtail the spread of the virus which has led to the death of thousands across the globe, the world has it found a breakthrough in doing business during the lockdown period will definitely find further succor in the various ICT tools as a viable means of doing business as well as sustaining the economy of their respective nation.
Information and Communications Technology (ICT) has an important role in the world since we are now in the information age era. With ICT, the company can make the business easier to happen with the client, supplier and the distributor. It is also very important in our daily lives. The lack of appropriate information at the right time will result in low productivity, low quality research works, and waste of time to pursue information and even to do research which actually others had done or in other countries. Nowadays ICT cannot be separated with our daily needs.
ICT has a great impact in our daily lives. For example, we can read our local newspaper using the online newspaper. Another example is we still can get connected with our family, relatives, or colleagues even if we are abroad by using the electronic mail, yahoo messenger, call conference, or video conference.
Digital computer and networking has changed our economy concept to the economy with no boundary in time and space because of ICT. It brings a lot of advantages for economic development enabling millions of transactions to happen in an easy and fast way. ICT is one of the economic development pillars to gain national competitive advantage. It can improve the quality of human life because it can be used as a learning and education media, the mass communication media in promoting and campaigning practical and important issues, such as the health and social area. It provides wider knowledge and can help in gaining and accessing information. ICT has become an integral part of everyday life for many people. It increases its importance in people’s lives and it is expected that this trend will continue, to the extent that ICT literacy will become a functional requirement for people’s work, social, and personal lives.
While the World Bank has recently predicted that the Nigerian nation and its economy might be heading towards its biggest recession in Forty years, the effective use of information communication and technology will definitely bridge the gap in helping businesses in Nigeria thrive, contributing its quota in sustaining the ailing economy. While the world was on a lockdown, and people were forced to stay indoor leaving out only the essential workers, the internet, the internet became the market sphere for many Nigerians.
This has shown that through the proper use of the ICT and its various tools, the economy of the nation Nigeria, Post- Covid era can be well managed if businesses in Nigeria come to fully
Utilize the components of the information communication and technology and its tools to determine what type of business they can engage in, how they can grow their businesses.
Benefits of Information communication Technology to small scale business
In small scale businesses, the importance of information communication technology cannot be overemphasized in Nigeria nor undermined as it helps them to store, process analyze and also disseminate large units of information. These information enables these various owners of small scale businesses and ventures to keep abreast with the various business trends and changes, it helps them acquire the strategic knowledge and information which are quite important in the running and managing of their various business ventures. It gives them the much needed information about their products, the market itself and about consumers’ choice and preference. Through a proper information storage system, they get to have an in-depth and well detailed information about their businesses and all that related. This in the long run enables them to make the right decision for their businesses. This cut down the chance of taking bad risks as they have the right knowledge to make the right decision for their business outfits. Communication networks also enable decision-makers in different locations to work together easily when they need to take joint decisions.
Increased Manufacturing Productivity
Time they say is valuable, it is a vital resources in business which if well utilized provides immense growth and productivity to your business venture. Through the use of certain information communication and technology tools, it improves the rate at which you carry out certain functions. Jobs in Nigeria gets to grow and expand at an incredibly fast rate with the incorporation of automated business processes and also by giving your employees or workers Information Communication and Technological tools. The time spend to manually carry out certain activities can be reduced greatly if an information Communication and Technological tool is being used. A typical example is the use of the internet to run advertisement for your small scale businesses. Instead of having to spend a great deal of resources, time and energy to create awareness and give visibility to your businesses you can choose to use the internet where you can just with the use of your phone reach out to thousands of people strategically to create the much needed boost for your businesses in Nigeria or any part of the world. Another example is the use of the internet banking e.g. the use of the POS to collect payment from your clients or customers will not only save you the hassle of having to stand and collect money from your clients and customers, but it makes it more save as you do not have to carry money around in cash. On the production line, for example, solutions such as computer-aided design can help to reduce set-up times and improve manufacturing accuracy so that employees spend less time on reworking. Access to manufacturing data enables managers to plan production more effectively, making better use of resources and reducing lead times.
Improved Customer Service
Having a good customer service is essential to businesses in Nigeria especially the small scale businesses in Nigeria who are just starting out and are looking to get more customers or clients and also to expand their customer or client base. In doing this they need to ensure that they not only have new customers or clients but also to find ways of holding on to them while also reaching out to many more. This might seem quite a herculean task, but then it is quite easy to do through the use of the tools of information communication and technology. In the businesses world today, there are quite a lot of competition, people who are doing the same businesses like you do, someone who is offering same services as you offer. In the light of this having an improved customer service will definitely prove a turning around for you in establishing a good rapport with your respective customers. Through the use of online surveys, telephones, frequently asked questions option on your platforms, you get to get feedbacks on your goods, products and services, the perception of the public towards them and this will help you n knowing what to do in order to improve your businesses by adding more flair and quality to what you do. Your company can use ICT solutions to offer faster response to and higher standards of service to its customers. If you run a call center, for example, your agents can access databases that provide comprehensive customer information, including purchase history and product preferences. The information helps them deal quickly and efficiently with inquiries, boosting customer satisfaction. Service personnel working in the field can access customer, service and product databases using smartphones with secure Internet connections. This enables them to fix problems quickly and effectively, again boosting customer satisfaction.
Greater and Virtual Collaboration
This is essentially important for business men and women who whose trade depends and rest greatly on the importance of networking to advance their business outlook for strategic growth and development. Through the use of the internet, communication and networking for effective collaboration becomes easy. Through the use of the various videoconferencing or web conferencing application over the internet, businesses owners can now effectively trump distant barrier to facilitating productive virtual meetings where they can meet with the various stakeholders in their business and discuss various strategies that will help grow their businesses. Thus also to a large extent helps in saving time and finances in setting up physical meetings or travelling down for meetings which can be really time consuming. Also through this, it makes it easier to create a proper network of people, update them with information and data that the businesses requires to thrive. There various applications which can be gotten free on the internet which can be used to facilitate these various businesses meetings and gatherings within the shortest period of time without any hassles.
There is no gainsaying about this, the use of the information communication technology helps to a great extent save money that could have been spend if business owners had decided to use the manual way of running businesses. The need to travel for businesses, the need to spend a lot of money on advertising your business and giving it visibility has been simplified and this you can do yourself. You get to as a business owner save a lot as you cut cost incorporating ICT tools into your businesses.
Information, communication and Technology, Small Scale Business and the Nigerian Economy
The importance of small scale businesses in Nigeria and to the Nigerian economy cannot be undermined, their existence plays a very important and crucial factor in the development of growth of the nation’s GDP, as they have greatly and immensely contributed to the Nigerian reality in terms of employment, growth and development, and marketing of goods and services. The Nigerian Government is turning to small and medium scale industries and entrepreneurs as a means of developing the economy and solving problems a great percentage of all registered companies in Nigeria are constituted by small scale industries and they have been in existence for a long time
According to an article on UK Essays titled,” Importance of Small and medium Enterprises in Nigeria” it stated that, “According to the United Nations Industrial development Organization (UNIDO), developing countries can conquer poverty and inequality by democratizing, deregulating, and liberalizing the integration of global economy. Recent studies have shown that SMEs contribute to over 55% of GDP and over 65% of total employment in high income countries also that SMEs and informal enterprises account for over 60% of GDP and over 70%of total employment in middle income countries.”
This aforementioned explanation states and shows the importance of small scale business to the Nigerian Economy, thus in the wake of the critical times that we have found ourselves in view of the onslaught of the Covid-19 on the nation’s economy, it is important that we remove the various challenges that may serve as an hindrances to the effective usage of the ICT as a viable tool in growing the various small scale businesses that we have in the nation.
Using date gotten from the aforementioned article gotten from UK Essays titled,” Importance of Small and medium Enterprises in Nigeria” it stated that,” In a survey conducted by Ani et’ al (2007) on bridging the digital divide gap in Nigeria, it was identified that the most serious divide is that of education or literacy level of citizens. The survey showed that the most illiterate people in Nigerian towns or cities were ignorant about the existence or usefulness of ICT. However, three factors that the survey identified to affect the use of internet in Nigeria are:
Poor internet services and infrastructures;
Lack of financial capacity to pay; and
In accessibility to the internet. “
The Federal government as part of its economic policies must ensure that the high number of unemployment in Nigeria is curtailed by providing the right infrastructure in our various localities, if done this will go a long way in motivating young people in the nation to take up businesses enterprises. There are various brilliants business ideas in Nigeria that if fully tapped into will not just be for the good for individuals alone but also that of the government. However it’s quite disappointing to note the high cost of using the internet or buying data in the country, the Nigerian government must ensure that it plays its own role in ensuring that these data rates are subsidized.
Also the provision of electricity in the Nation is of great importance, the internet needs electricity to function, the rising and fluctuating price of the petrol has made it hard for many small scale businesses to thrive and grow as they get to use the capital of their businesses to buy petrol in order to power their business outfit.
The importance of small scale businesses in Nigeria are numerous , it is however good to note as pointed out in this article that they can play more viable roles especially in this Post Covid-19 era in ensuring that the nation’s economy is kept floating if we truly incorporate the tools of information communication and technology.
My Amudipe Marcus