By Omobayo Azeez
Seventy-three per cent of Nigerian small and medium business (SMBs) owners remain optimistic and see light at the end of the tunnel about the future of their business despite the Coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic, a new report has shown.
The Global State of Small Business Report by social media giant, Facebook, was compiled in partnership with the World Bank and the OECD.
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The report surveyed over 30,000 small business owners and employees from around the world in over 50 countries.
It revealed that over 73 per cent of operational SMBs on Facebook feel optimistic about the future of their business, with 77 per cent of female led SMBs on Facebook (and 72 per cent of male led SMBs) currently operational or engaging in revenue lead activities.
Compared to other African small, medium businesses (SMBs) surveyed, Nigerian SMBs on Facebook seem to be more optimistic when looking ahead to cash flow over the coming months, with 37 per cent, compared to 45 per cent in South Africa, 47 per cent in Kenya and 42 per cent in Ghana saying they expect cash flow to be a challenge in the next few months.
Despite the positive outlook, 46 per cent of operational SMBs on Facebook have reduced the number of employees/workers as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, with 37 per cent of those operational reporting that their sales this year were lower than last year.
However, digital continues to play a key part in the economic recovery of these businesses, with 43 per cent of operational SMBs on Facebook reporting 25 per cent or more of their sales were made digitally in the past month.
Nunu Ntshingila, regional director, Facebook Africa said, “These survey results further highlight what we are already seeing, that the COVID-19 pandemic isn’t just a public health emergency, but also an economic crisis that is hitting SMBs exceptionally hard, and one that collectively as a community we need to urgently address.”
The global survey also highlights that globally the tourism and hospitality sector worldwide has borne the brunt of COVID-19 related restrictions and reduced consumer spending – with around half of businesses in these sectors reporting that they have had to close.
Smaller businesses, those owned and operated by one person, have seen these closures at a greater rate than others, with globally 26 per cent of SMBs reporting that they had closed between January and May 2020 – over 50 per cent in some countries.
Ntshingila added: “Globally more than 160 million businesses use Facebook, Instagram, Messenger, or WhatsApp every month to reach their customers, sell their products or services and ultimately to grow.
“They are the heartbeat of Facebook’s community and since the early days of the pandemic we have taken steps to help them weather the storm. These are tough times for businesses all over the world; we would like to help with their recovery.”
As part of its ongoing commitment, Facebook continues to support SMBs and has created a Business Resource Hub where SMBs can get training, advice, and information – including from healthcare experts.