Agility is key for SMEs in 2023

Friday, Mar 10, 2023 07:45

Agility will help small and medium-sized enterprises to develop in 2023. — Photo Courtesy Visa Vietnam

Agility will be key attribute for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in the world and Viet Nam to thrive in another year of uncertainty, Visa said.

This is one among five trends that the company sees as pivotal for small businesses.

According to Visa's projection, similarly to 2022, high inflation, workforce constraints and supply chain challenges will be a factor for all businesses, including SMEs, in 2023. SMEs will need to be agile to succeed.

According to Visa research, 86 per cent of surveyed small business leaders cite economic uncertainty as one of their most common stressors.

Cloud computing, artificial intelligence (AI), and digital financial tools can help SMEs navigate ongoing uncertainty.

If this sounds far afield, recent research has shown that 44 per cent of surveyed small business leaders are either integrating AI, preparing to, or closely following the trend.

“Although it’s early days, I am personally excited to see how ChatGPT AI can be applied to real-world scenarios for SMEs. If any of this feels overwhelming, know that acquirers and payment facilitators – who specialise in supporting small businesses nuanced needs – are there to help make this simple,” said Jeni Mundy, Visa’s senior vice president, global head of merchant sales and acquiring.

According to Visa, in 2023, the consumerisation of business finance will benefit small businesses in big ways as they work to meet the pressures and opportunities of an uncertain economic environment.

“Though in Viet Nam, SMEs often give more weight to product improvement than business research and development, they are innovative and progressive adopters,” said Dung Dang, Visa country manager of Viet Nam and Laos.

Visa predicts that small businesses can win the war for talent with heart.

Small businesses have inherent disadvantages when it comes to attracting top talent such as the lack of a company gym, cafeterias offering free meals, or complementary transit or parking. But they can and should compete in other ways. They can provide employees with better work-life balance and a greater sense of personal purpose.

SMEs would do well to ensure every talent touchpoint – website, social media, marketing collateral – drives a personal, professional and optimised experience that reflects their values, Visa said.

The other trend is that closing the digital equity gap will continue to drive SMEs competitiveness.

The World Economic Forum predicts that 70 per cent of new value created in this decade will be based on digitally enabled technologies. With livelihoods and well-being increasingly determined by participation in the digital economy, this rapid transition can provide opportunity for everyone, everywhere.

Visa suggests that SMEs will need to put trust and security at the top of their agenda.

A 360-degree approach to digitisation will also be a key asset for SMEs.

How a small business pays its vendors, suppliers and partners is as important as how it receives payments from customers.

Jeni Mundy said while consumer payments could get most of the attention, digital solutions had made it easier to automate and track payments to outside partners who help keep a small business running.

“In 2023, I expect to see SMBs embracing the “consumerisation of B2B payments. SMBs will continue to set themselves up for ecommerce and online payments, but also increase their focus on embracing financial tools and apps that can help with planning, cash-flow, budgeting, expense tracking and tax preparation, among others. As these apps become increasingly integrated, small business owners will be able to run their business largely from the palm of their hand,” she said. — VNS

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