By Modupe Gbadeyanka
An initiative aimed to expose African entrepreneurs to available business growth opportunities has been launched by WhatsApp, a popular messaging application.
In a statement issued on Tuesday, it was stated that the scheme, WhatsAppreneurs campaign, will profile small entrepreneurs from Africa using the WhatsApp Business app to grow their business and reach more customers.
The small business sector represents a sizable percentage of the economic population demonstrating great potential for growth, opportunity creation, and overcoming poverty post-pandemic. WhatsApp said this informed its decision to provide support through digital tools to help them scale.
“Across Africa, small and medium business owners are using the WhatsApp Business app to develop their business, showcase their products, close sales, and connect with their customers.
“The WhatsApp Business app provides a tool to help businesses thrive in their markets, reach more customers, and grow their businesses consistently.
“We are delighted to be a part of the success stories of small businesses who are so important to communities across Africa,” the Public Policy Director for Africa, Balkissa Ide Siddo, said.
The WhatsAppreneur campaign serves the purpose of providing the resources businesses need to unlock their growth potential and help build a more resilient, inclusive, and empowered society.
In addition to helping businesses grow, the WhatsApp Business app provides an opportunity for businesses to create a much deeper and stronger relationship with their customers, often starting with real-time 1:1 conversations via chat, unlike transactional phone calls or SMSs.
The WhatsApp Business app is free and allows users to create a business catalogue on WhatsApp that can be viewed by users from anywhere.
Equity Exchange Loses N33bn Amid Low Turnover
By Dipo Olowookere
The bears returned to the domestic equity exchange on Thursday after profit-taking in banking and consumer goods stocks shrank the trading indices by 0.12 per cent.
Business Post observed that the banking index shed 0.62 per cent as the consumer goods counter depreciated by 0.03 per cent, while the insurance and industrial goods sectors gained 0.61 per cent and 0.10 per cent respectively, with the energy index closing flat.
At the close of trades, the All-Share Index (ASI) depleted by 60.87 points to 50,014.60 points from 50,075.47 points, while the market capitalisation deflated by N33 billion to N26.976 trillion from N27.009 trillion.
The loss posted yesterday was heavily impacted by blue-chip stocks led by MTN Nigeria, Zenith Bank and others as the market breadth closed positive with 21 price gainers and 15 price losers led by ABC Transport, which fell by 6.67 per cent to 28 Kobo.
Jaiz Bank went down by 5.56 per cent to 85 Kobo, Stanbic IBTC declined by 3.28 per cent to N28.05, Caverton depreciated by 2.86 per cent to N1.02, while UBA lost 2.78 per cent to sell for N7.00.
The share price of NAHCO improved during the session by 10.00 per cent to N5.83 as FCMB appreciated by 9.84 per cent to N3.35. Ikeja Hotel gained 9.43 per cent to quote at N1.16, Multiverse grew by 9.22 per cent to N2.25, while Courteville increased its share value by 8.51 per cent to 51 Kobo.
The activity chart was mixed on Thursday as the day was marred by low turnover after the volume of transactions decreased by 52.16 per cent to 133.6 million units from the previous day’s 279.2 million units.
However, the trading value improved by 17.06 per cent to N2.4 billion from N2.1 billion, while the number of deals appreciated by 20.02 per cent to 4,292 deals from 3,576 deals.
UBA sold the highest volume of shares on the floor of the Nigerian Exchange (NGX) Limited on Thursday, 20.5 million units valued at N143.7 million and was closely followed by Chams, which sold 9.0 million units worth N2.8 million. Access Holdings transacted 8.2 million shares for N72.7 million, Japaul exchanged 7.4 million equities worth N2.9 million, while Jaiz Bank traded 7.1 million stocks valued at N6.2 million.
Climate Disclosure Guidelines for Nigerian Stock Market Underway
By Dipo Olowookere
The Nigerian Exchange Regulation (NGX RegCo) is working closely with its sister organisation, the NGX Limited, to design a dedicated set of Climate Disclosure Guidelines that will address climate change-related issues and serve as a complementary set of procedures to the NGX Sustainability Disclosure Guidelines.
The chief executive of NGX RegCo, Ms Tinuade Awe, dropped this hint recently at the 16th Annual International Business Law Conference hosted by the Nigerian Bar Association Section on Business Law (NBA-SBL) in Abuja.
At the event themed Recent Developments in the Business Law Environment, she said the rules, which will be developed in line with the Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD) recommendations, are currently in their formative stage, adding that the zero drafts would be published in a few months and public consultations for feedback to follow afterwards.
The capital market expert, who was speaking on ESG and the Nigerian Business Environment during a panel discussion, used the occasion to appeal to the public and private stakeholders to urgently prioritise the implementation of key national and global Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) related regulations.
According to her, prioritising the implementation of key national and global ESG-related regulations will improve Nigeria’s ESG performance and reputation on the global stage and guarantee its contribution to the global development agenda such as the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the Paris Agreement.
“The rapidly evolving global ESG landscape requires a deliberate partnership between all Nigerian public and private sector stakeholders who must embrace their responsibility to help create a sustainable future by being transparent in their approach to addressing ESG-related risks and opportunities, and their contribution towards sustainable development,” she added.
Ms Awe charged the Nigerian government to adopt initiatives that accelerate progress toward mandatory reporting on key ESG-related issues as well as climate-related reporting.
“These initiatives would ensure private and public sector companies become cognizant of global trends on climate-related reporting in line with leading guidance frameworks such as the TCFD recommendations as well as the International Sustainability Standards Board (ISSB) which has recently developed a comprehensive set of guidelines on general sustainability and climate-related disclosures to improve the availability of standardized, decision-useful non-financial data for the investment decision-making process,” she stated.
Concerning NGX RegCo’s contribution to the development and implementation of ESG regulation in Nigeria, she cited the 2019 NGX Sustainability Disclosure Guidelines which provide issuers with a step-by-step approach to integrating sustainability in their organisational activities and operations.
“These guidelines also provide guidance on best practice sustainability reporting that comply with global standards including the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI),” Ms Awe said, noting that “NGX RegCo also played a leading role in developing the regulation for the development of Nigeria’s green bond market and other sustainable financial products that address environmental and social challenges affecting Nigeria along with the Federal Ministry of Environment, NGX Limited and other industry stakeholders.
“This was done in recognition of the climate finance needs particularly in Nigeria, and the urgent action required to combat climate change as enshrined in the Paris Agreement on Climate Change, and the efforts culminated in the issuance of the maiden N10.69 billion ($25.8 million) 13.48% 5-year green bond in 2017.”
How to Keep Your Business Running After Working Hours
By Otori Emmanuel
Most offices operate their days from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm, which only lasts during the daytime and because the cost of running a shift by servicing the office at night with an equal number of staff, if need be, might be cost-intensive, most organizations suffice to the normal routine of running an office by the daytime.
The concern is that our customers don’t sleep, when they want a solution, it can be urgent and important and the earlier they speak to someone, the more relief they get that their solution is on the way and that they can beat the deadline.
Knowing that most offices are closed after 5:00 pm and on weekends makes customers want to explore other options of reaching out to the service providers. With a business whose focus is centred on customer satisfaction and an amazing experience, there are options to keep your office running after working hours.
- Take advantage of social media pages
To run a business effectively, our online presence helps the most and involves our presence on social media channels by creating pages.
Facebook pages, for example, can be automated to reply to messages the moment a user sends an enquiry. It is made to generate a predetermined customized message. Facebook also lets the person know the possible time range within which to expect feedback and this is made possible based on the time it took the business to reply to a message, which provides a summary of the possible time of reply to the customer. This keeps the expectation of the customer that they would be replied and when the reply eventually comes, it proves the assertion that they are dealing with an organization that is customer-centric regardless of whether they are at work or not. In fact, the message can be crafted in such a way to contain a number that can be used for emergency contact.
Typically replies in a few minutes
Hi, Thanks for messaging us.
We’ll get back to you soon first name, last name (of the sender)
An auto-responder is a system that organizations use to respond to a user that sends a message via email whether they are out of the office, on leave, on a special assignment or outside the country of operation, with a message informing the person of the possibility of when they are likely to read and reply their message or an option of reaching another individual in the organization that could help process their enquiry. The line below is an example of the use of an automated message using an auto-responder
Thank you for your message.
I will be out of the office until Monday, August 20, 2022.
If this is an emergency, please contact first name, last name on
email@example.com, otherwise, I will reply you on my return.
First name, last name
- A 24-hour office phone
I once read in an online forum where a customer needed a product for use first thing on a Monday morning and tried to establish contact with the supplier that they researched online, they found the office lines and called and it kept ringing without anyone picking at them the other end. They kept on researching and found another supplier who they called and got an immediate response and delivery of the raw materials to start the production at the agreed time. What is the point of having an office phone that lies in the office without anyone to engage callers? I think today’s definition of an office defies the limitation to place and gives us a meaning that refers to the person and processes which can be operated from any place and at whatever time of the day. I am of the opinion that every phone that an office use should be a mobile phone with a person that handles it and returns enquiries at any time of the day, even if it means the company would provide the handler with the opportunity of benefiting from the usage of the phone from the provision of airtime and data services, it is worth all the effort to keep the business running all day. Although the telephone etiquette still applies.
- Online Support Services
With the goal of maximizing the online platforms of an organization, all platforms must be considered. Websites should be integrated with an online support system that can be installed on a PC (Personal Computer) and on a mobile phone, which can be accessed with internet services at any time of the day.
These chat boxes are also automated to reply to messages and the user gets a notification when there is an enquiry to be answered.
- Integration of Chatbots
Chatbots function with the integration of artificial intelligence to answer questions based on the similarity, pattern or keywords consistently used by customers. This integration works as a temporary alternative to provide basic information before a human eventually connects with the customer when the chatbot has exhausted its ability with no respite to the demands of the customer. A full technologically integrated team is needed to execute this across platforms.
A sustainable business is built around the speed of attending to customers’ needs within a reasonable timeframe, the communication that helps to flatten the gap, concise information needed to make an offer and meeting with the expected date or time of delivery of the customer. When all these are in cohesion, a business can definitely become a household name.
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