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The Impact of Communication Technology on Nigerian SMEs: Examining the Communication Challenges Faced by Entrepreneurs



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The Impact of Communication Technology on Nigerian SMEs: Examining the Communication Challenges Faced by Entrepreneurs

INTRODUCTION

The role of small and medium-sized businesses (SMEs) in Nigeria’s Economy is crucial. They constitute the backbone of the nation’s Economy, significantly contributing to job creation, economic growth, and poverty reduction. The Nigerian small and medium enterprise (SME) sector has numerous problems, with language impediments particularly pervasive (Gumel, 2019, p.82). In a corporate climate defined by inadequate infrastructure, harsh market competition, unpredictable government regulations, and budgetary limits, efficient communication is not simply an asset; it is an essential prerequisite for survival and growth. This paper will analyze the difficulties that Nigerian small and medium-sized enterprise (SME) owners have with communication to highlight the revolutionary role that communication technology plays in resolving these concerns.

The success and longevity of Nigeria’s small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) hinge on their ability to communicate with one another effectively. This essay will explore these complicated problems, recognizing the gravity of the issues they pose in today’s rapidly changing business climate. Nigeria’s small and medium-sized enterprise (SME) sector struggles to communicate effectively due to a lack of infrastructure and inconsistent power sources (Ufua et al. 2020, p.6). Since there are so many companies vying for consumers’ attention, distinguishing oneself and breaking into new markets through effective communication tactics is crucial. The ever-changing nature of the business environment, coupled with the inconsistency of government laws and financial constraints, highlights the importance of effective communication. Understanding how small and medium-sized businesses (SMEs) in Nigeria can adapt, innovate, and survive in a competitive market requires research on the impact of communication technologies on these organizations (Ufua et al., 2020, p.7). The goal of this study is to help small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in Nigeria adapt to the dynamic business environment and seize development possibilities by studying the communication hurdles they encounter and the transformative power of technology.

COMMUNICATION CHALLENGES FACED BY NIGERIAN SMES

Limited Access to Infrastructure

Nigeria’s small and medium-sized businesses (SMEs) face significant obstacles to their operations and growth due to communication difficulties. The lack of easy access to necessary infrastructure is one of the biggest challenges these businesses encounter. The need for energy, internet access, and transportation networks in Nigeria severely limits the country’s small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs’) ability to communicate with one another (Nwekeaku and Ossai, 2019). Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) must improve their ability to compete in a digital world due to frequent power outages and unstable internet connectivity (Nwekeaku and Ossai, 2019). Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are negatively impacted by Nigeria’s inconsistent power supply, which includes frequent power outages and voltage changes. Power outages disrupt SMEs’ internal communication, and their capacity to interact with customers and suppliers needs to be improved. This can cause problems, including slower reaction times to customer inquiries, slower order processing, and less effective operations overall.

The expense of using generators or other alternative power sources to make up for the electricity shortage is a further strain on these businesses’ budgets (Mpi, 2019, p.535). Similarly, SMEs in Nigeria are hampered in their communication ability by the lack of cheap, reliable internet service. In today’s digital age, where companies rely heavily on online communication, e-commerce, and data exchange to expand their operations, SMEs suffer when their internet connections go down. The high cost of internet connections and the necessity for expensive data plans compound the difficulty for SMEs to implement technology-driven communication solutions due to a lack of access to infrastructure.

Financial Constraints

Nigerian SMEs face further severe communication difficulties due to financial restrictions. Since they need more capital to invest in communication technology and infrastructure, these businesses need help to enhance their internal and external communication (Ojimaojo et al. 2020, p.87). The inability to invest in cutting-edge means of communication hinders SMEs’ ability to compete in today’s worldwide Economy. SMBs’ adoption and use of communication technologies are greatly hampered by a lack of resources. For many startups, the initial cost of installing stable communication infrastructure and stocking up on hardware and software is too high to justify.

Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) often need more financial resources, making it difficult for them to afford the upkeep and upgrades necessary for keeping their communication technologies current. This can lead to ineffectiveness in serving consumers and general inefficiency in day-to-day operations. Access to inexpensive loans and credit facilities is also a difficulty faced by many Nigerian SMEs (Ojimaojo et al. 2020, p.89). The restricted availability of financing choices and the stringent standards for getting loans make it difficult for small firms to access the necessary capital for investment in communication technologies and infrastructure. Therefore, SMEs may miss out on development and expansion opportunities due to the difficulty of overcoming financial hurdles to improve communication capabilities.

Inadequate Skill Sets

Communication is difficult in Nigeria’s small and medium-sized businesses (SMEs) due to the workforce’s lack of necessary skills. Despite the obvious difficulties posed by insufficient resources and funding, the human capital factor is equally important. As stated by Ayo-Balogun and Ogunsanwo (2019), an organization’s success in the use of communication technology and the management of internal and external communications depends on the expertise of its employees.

Nigerian small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) frequently need more technical expertise for efficient technology adoption and use. According to research by Ayo-Balogun and Ogunsanwo (2019), many workers need more technical expertise to utilize and troubleshoot contemporary forms of communication technology effectively. As a result, the company’s total productivity may suffer due to inefficiencies and communication failures. Furthermore, the absence of appropriate communication skills among employees can hamper their ability to connect with clients, vendors, and other customers (Ayo-Balogun and Ogunsanwo, 2019). The inability to convey ideas can have a detrimental effect on professional relationships and lead to misconceptions. Growth opportunities for SMEs might be hampered by a need for more expertise in customer service, negotiation, and interactions between cultures, which are crucial in today’s globally competitive business climate.

Market Competition

SMEs in Nigeria also face a severe communication challenge in the form of fierce market competition. Differentiation, market penetration, and client retention in today’s highly competitive company climate require robust communication strategies. SMEs in Nigeria frequently face intense competition in oversaturated markets. If you want your brand to stand out and attract clients, you must communicate well (Oladimeji et al. 2021, p.94). SMBs must be able to convey their value proposition quickly and clearly to customers in an era of increasing competition and information overload. If you don’t, you can end up losing visibility and sales. Also, due to the ever-changing nature of competition, small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) must be abreast of market developments, consumer tastes, and rivals’ tactics (Oladimeji et al. 2021, p.95). Customers, vendors, and other business associates must be kept in the loop for this to work. Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) need the resources to collect and analyze market data to make well-informed strategic decisions.

Unstable government policies

Nigerian SMEs have a significant communication barrier due to the government’s policy uncertainty. Government regulation, taxation, and trade policies that are inconsistent create a climate of uncertainty that prevents small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) from making informed long-term plans and decisions. Since unexpected policy shifts may call for immediate adjustments and adaptations, it can be not easy to keep lines of communication open and consistent with foreign partners, investors, and even staff (Gumel 2019, p.90). Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in Nigeria face a unique set of issues due to the country’s political instability. As a result, they need to adopt fluid communication techniques.

DISCUSSION

The operations and growth potential of Nigerian SMEs are significantly impacted by the communication issues they face. A lack of infrastructure, such as a dependable power source and reasonably priced internet access, makes it more difficult for these enterprises to interact. Regular power outages cause operational inefficiencies by stifling internal communication and slowing down contacts with suppliers and consumers. Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) need help investing in stable communication infrastructure and technology due to the high cost of alternative power sources (Oladimeji et al. 2021). Furthermore, in the digital age, their capacity to carry out online company operations and participate in e-commerce could be improved by a reasonably priced and dependable internet connection. Another crucial issue is the financial limitations SMEs in Nigeria must contend with. For many small firms, the initial expense of investing in hardware, software, and communication technologies can be unaffordable. This lack of resources makes it challenging to maintain current technologies and prevents them from adopting new communication technologies.

Due to a lack of readily available finance options, small and medium-sized enterprises need help raising the money to invest in communication technologies. Because of these financial obstacles, many businesses may pass up chances for development and expansion. For SMEs, inadequate skill sets in the workforce present extra difficulties. Employee competence is essential for the efficient use of communication technologies. Inefficiencies and communication breakdowns come from a need for more technical expertise among many workers, which makes it challenging to use and fix modern communication equipment (Oladimeji et al. 2021). This shortcoming may make it more challenging to communicate with customers, suppliers, and other stakeholders, which could damage business ties and limit the chances for SMEs in Nigeria to expand. Another vital communication difficulty is market competitiveness. In order to draw in and keep clients in fiercely competitive marketplaces, SMEs need to swiftly and effectively express their value proposition. If one doesn’t, visibility and sales may suffer, particularly in this age of information overload and shifting customer preferences. Robust communication techniques are all the more critical when considering the necessity to stay updated about developments in the market and rivals’ strategies. Practical communication skills are necessary for small and medium-sized firms (SMEs) to gather and evaluate market data to make well-informed strategic decisions.

Lastly, Nigeria’s erratic policies foster an atmosphere of uncertainty that makes it difficult for SMEs to keep in regular contact with overseas investors, partners, and employees. Abrupt policy changes may need quick revisions and adaptations, which could interfere with business operations and communication (Oladimeji et al. 2021). Because of this, SMEs in Nigeria must learn adaptable communication strategies to negotiate this challenging regulatory environment successfully. In conclusion, Nigerian SMEs suffer various communication difficulties that significantly affect their capacity to operate and expand. A complete strategy that includes infrastructure investment, financial accessibility, staff training, market research, and communication tactics is needed to address these issues. Nigeria’s economy depends heavily on small and medium-sized businesses (SMEs), and removing obstacles to communication is critical to their performance going forward, as well as to their ability to generate jobs and contribute to economic expansion.

CONCLUSION

Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in Nigeria, which represent the backbone of the country’s Economy, confront several significant communication issues that hinder their ability to function and expand. Several factors have been recognized as substantial roadblocks: limited access to infrastructure, limited financial resources, insufficient skill sets, fierce market competition, and uncertain government policies. These difficulties hinder SMEs’ internal and external communication, hindering their capacity to manage the ever-changing business landscape efficiently. It will take a comprehensive strategy to address these difficulties. Investment in improving infrastructure, such as a steady supply of electricity and cheap internet access, is crucial to resolving the issue of inadequate infrastructure. Financial and skill-related barriers can be reduced by facilitating access to funding and providing training programs to improve employees’ technical and communicative abilities. In addition, small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) need vital market research and communication strategies to keep up with larger rivals.

 

 

 

REFERENCES

Ayo-Balogun, A.O. and Ogunsanwo, A.O., 2019. Impact of small and medium enterprises on the growth of the Nigerian Economy.

Gumel, B.I., 2019. Mitigating the challenges of small and medium enterprises in Nigeria. Gumel, BI (2019). Mitigating the challenges of small and medium enterprises in Nigeria. SEISENSE Journal of Management, 2(3), pp.82-99.

Mpi, D.L., 2019. Encouraging micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) for economic growth and development in Nigeria and other developing economies: The role of the Igbo apprenticeship system.’ The Strategic Journal of Business & Change Management, 6(1), pp.535-543.

Nwekeaku, C. and Ossai, O., 2019. Small and medium development agency [Smedan] and development of small-scale businesses in Nasarawa state, Nigeria.

Ojimaojo, A.P., Murtadho, A.M. and Bhaumik, A., 2020. Effect of Small and Medium Scale Enterprises on Nigeria” s Economy. World Journal of Innovative Research (WJIR), 8(3), pp.87-92.

Oladimeji, M.S., Sofoluwe, N.A. and Odunaya, H.A., 2021. MACROECONOMIC BUSINESS ENVIRONMENT AND THE DEVELOPMENT OF SMALL AND MEDIUM ENTERPRISES IN NIGERIA. Modern Management Review, 26(4), pp.93-105.

Ufua, D.E., Olujobi, O.J., Ogbari, M.E., Dada, J.A. and Edafe, O.D., 2020. Operations of small and medium enterprises and the legal system in Nigeria. Humanities and Social Sciences Communications, 7(1), pp.1-7.

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