SMEs SHOULD RELOOK OPERATING MODELS
Enterprise businesses, normally referred to as small to medium businesses should embrace different operational models that are more sensitive to the nature of the business and capital available to them if they are going to thrive.
According to Ms Auxilia Kambasha, head of enterprise banking for Stanbic Bank Zimbabwe Limited the potential for these enterprises to grow is great.
“This is why at Stanbic Bank, we stopped terming them small to medium. The size of a business is rendered obsolete once their operational model shifts from the two extremes, which is the norm in such organisations. The two extremes are credit laden as a result of borrowing from lenders whose rates are punitive and will erode the little income earned.
Secondly the lack of formal operating procedures, which result in hand-to-mouth tendencies that consume income and eventually capital.”
According to World Bank reports, 90 percent of worldwide businesses are “small to medium enterprises”, and they create 50 percent of the jobs while contributing one third of the Gross Domestic Product. These statistics explain why different economies have put in place measures that create a favourable environment for these businesses to flourish.
Institutions such as banks and revenue authorities in many countries have taken these factors into consideration, however, there is still need for institutions to do more on capacity building to assist enterprise business owners. Issues such as lack of information have caused a lot of enterprise businesses to struggle to break even, and some to the extent of closing shop.
The Zimbabwean economy is propped up by businesses that are classified into many groups depending on factors such as annual turnover, number of employees, value of assets. This segmentation alone can be translated to mean that operational models of these different businesses are expected to be different and aligned to the various factors that are the focus areas determining whether or not the business stays afloat.
Ms Kambasha added that over and above the stated impediments, most enterprise organizations require access to markets and connections more than they need funding for them to grow.
She advised that; “enterprise organizations need to embrace all the low cost financing available to them in order to meet their capital and day to day operating requirements”, sighting that they should be wary of borrowing costs.
“Enterprise banking clients are characterized by huge volumes of banking transactions and “cash heavy”. However, transactions become expensive if they are carried out through the branch which is why digital banking should be their go-to solution”, she says.
“As Stanbic Bank, we have since introduced a banking model that is cost sensitive to our enterprise banking customers, an out of branch approach to banking that is facilitated through our ‘Enterprise Direct’ customer contact centre as well as our Enterprise Online banking platform which are cost effective and user friendly.
“It is understandable that some of the organizations in the enterprise business category may be conservative due to different reasonable factors, but testing out some of the best practices that have been recorded for profitability’s sake is worth it”, added Ms Kambasha.