SMEs are constantly looking for new ways to grow and scale, but they usually encounter various roadblocks. These play a big role in why a lot of them don’t get past the initial stages, or why they struggle to grow to the point that they aim to.
Our #GrowWithFlutterwave campaign emphasises the ways in which SMEs can grow through different tools and products that we have available for our merchants. It shows that even if you are a small business or just starting out, you have the capacity to build and compete with the big players.
What are some of the growth hindrances that SMEs face today?
Access to capital
Access to capital is probably one of the most common issues faced by SMEs. According to a study by US Bank, 82% of small businesses fail due to cash flow problems. Banks are typically apprehensive of loaning to startups and entrepreneurs, as they have low faith in their ability to pay back or their success prospects. And if they do loan to them, the interest rates are usually unnecessarily high. Due to this, most do not get the support they need in terms of loans.
Collection of payments
Collecting payments from customers also can be a blocker for SMEs’ growth. Having to always track bank transfer payments or cash payments can become tiresome, especially if you are aiming to grow your business. As your customer base grows, it becomes more stressful to manually keep track of all the payments. Additionally, some customers may not always pay on time, or try to defraud by sending fake bank statements.
Discovery and visibility
Another major problem that SMEs face is the lack of visibility and awareness of their products and services within the market they operate. Marketing and advertising costs are quite high and most SMEs do not have the budget for this, at least to do them to their full capacity. It is one thing to have products to sell, and another to have them discovered and visible to potential buyers.
With the number of new companies that pop up daily, in addition to the existing ones that have been around for longer, there are so many to keep up with. Popular markets are becoming saturated; an example is the tech industry, which everyone wants to get into somehow. This is even a bigger issue when you consider businesses in more advanced markets as part of the competition. It becomes harder for SMEs to stand out and have access to the same tools that big businesses have in order to succeed.
Government and regulatory restrictions
Not all countries are lucky to have regulators that actively work in favour of small businesses. Usually, governments have little confidence in how successful a small business is likely to be as time goes on, for various reasons including cash flow and ability to scale. Additionally, a lot of government policies tend not to benefit small businesses; an example is the tedious and overly rigorous process of business registration for SMEs.
The Solution – Flutterwave’s Arsenal
Given all the issues outlined above, we at Flutterwave found areas that we could plug into to solve these for SMEs. Our products are tailored to suit a host of business types, but we make particularly sure that SMEs are well-equipped. Our solution is to continuously drive growth for our merchants, and here’s how.
Capital, which was unveiled in Flutterwave 3.0, is a product that offers quick access to flexible loans (and no collateral required) to support business growth. You also will not need to worry about stressful documentation processes and overly strict terms and conditions. Whether you are an entrepreneur, or a small business, seeking out a loan has become a lot easier with Flutterwave Capital.
Payment links and Invoices are two of our tools that make it super easy for merchants to collect payments from their customers without hassle. Once you are ready to receive a payment from a customer, all you need to do is create a payment link from your dashboard and share it with them. Likewise, you can create professional invoices and track payments, again from the comfort of your dashboard.
Flutterwave Market supports business visibility and reaches a wider customer base. It is a collection of Flutterwave Stores that can be found in an online marketplace, consisting of a wide range of categories, products and merchants. As long as you are registered in the Store, your business will be featured on the market. It’s basically free advertising!
At Flutterwave, we believe in the power of the small players as well as the big ones. SMEs contribute to and are more accessible to society, so we will continue to explore new ways of helping them thrive. Start here by joining Flutterwave and get access to all these tools too!