Digitalization: Scaling Your Small Businesses in Economic Crisis

Adapted from a Speech By Victoria Boafo-Asante at the WIEA nominees unveiling and Ellevate by Ecobank Summit

images of diverse businesses

As we have gathered to acknowledge and celebrate the feats of incredible female entrepreneurs, I would like to raise a topic of great importance in our rapidly changing world: digitalization and its role in scaling up businesses, particularly during times of economic crisis. 

The past few years have witnessed an unprecedented shift towards digital technologies, and businesses must harness their power to survive and thrive in challenging economic times. The key is not to solely focus on what is happening, but lean into how you will react and prepare for the future because change, as it is said, is inevitable.

As we navigate the challenges of the economic crisis, we may encounter obstacles that test our determination and creativity. Digitalization presents several opportunities to overcome these challenges and pave the way for your business to flourish.

How do you scale your business during the economic crisis and how can digitalization support your growth?

The Right Foundation
house on rocks

If you do not get the foundations right, when the tough winds come, your castle will not stand because it was built on sand and not solid rock. 

If you do not get the foundations right, when the tough winds come, your castle will not stand because it was built on sand and not solid rock. 

Every business wants to grow but for growth to happen, some things need to be present. For example, a plant will need space to grow, the right temperature, light, water, air, nutrients, and time.

The same is needed for a business to grow. You will need space, not a bigger store or a bigger spend. I mean the capacity to grow and contain the growth. Your vision, imagination, and ability to persevere will give you that space to grow. 

Secondly, you will need the right temperature,  the right environment, the right digital tools, the right employees or team, and even partners you work with. In times when the economy is tough, that is when the surroundings will be vital. You are as strong as the weakest team member or environment or systems. Without a good environment, your efforts may fail or it will become much more difficult to execute any plans or strategies.

Good Financial Management

Several businesses do not keep good records and finances. In fact, about 70% percent of businesses in Ghana fail because of poor resource and financial management. There are several digital tools you can use these days for planning, budgeting, idea generation, and even forecasting.

Managing finances

You can be getting customers, and making sales and people will be flooding your business but you will still be failing if you do not manage your resources and finances efficiently.  Some entrepreneurs do not keep separate bank accounts or separate their personal finances from business finances so they end up spending the business funds on personal items and not setting aside enough buffer funds for difficult times. Ecobank Elevate is right here. You can start today. Monitor your accounts online or using apps. Pocketi for example allows you to send invoices from anywhere (at home, at the office, or at the shop) and track these invoices and when your customers pay, you will know. You can track all your paid invoices easily online or in the app so you know how much your sales are. It is a good start. 

The difficult times will come so be prepared for it. Set aside some of your profits (after expenses, taxes and paying your staff, etc). For example, you can set aside 20% for tough times (preferably into a different account), pay yourself 20%, Pay your taxes (say 20%), and then reinvest the remaining 40%. You can determine your own percentages but do not dip your hands into the business. There is nothing wrong with paying yourself a salary. You deserve it too.

The difficult times will come so be prepared for it

The Importance of Time

In the technology age, we want everything right now, instantly. Unfortunately, life doesn’t always work that way so you need time. Time is the most critical ingredient for everything to work. Everything happens in time so do not rush and do not delay. You need to have the timing right. Be prepared for growth opportunities and also for hard times but also be fast to implement and change direction when needed.

EMbracing digital tools

Embracing digital tools and technologies improves operational efficiency, reduces costs, and empowers you to make informed decisions through data analytics. Digital tools like Zoho, Quickbooks, and our very own Pocketi (a Ghanaian-owned brand) enable you to manage your finances and operations seamlessly, allowing for better decision-making and increased profitability. In addition, these tools offer real-time data analysis and reporting, giving you the insights needed to stay ahead of the competition and make informed decisions. Remember, your intuition combined with data will be your guiding star in uncertain times.

By embracing innovative digital business models, you can adapt to changing consumer behaviours and diversify revenue streams. The rise of e-commerce, subscription-based services, and digital marketplaces has revolutionised the business landscape. As female entrepreneurs, you should embrace these innovative models, adapt to changing consumer behaviours, and carve your unique path to success.

POS App, Order Management & Invoicing with MoMo Payment Integration made easy

— With Pocketi App

With Pocketi App, you can easily record and send invoices and receive payments, all with just a few taps on your phone.

Challenges of digitalization

While digitalization offers immense potential, it is essential to acknowledge the challenges that come with it, like cybersecurity, data privacy, and acquiring digital skills. We have seen Instagram accounts being hacked and businesses losing their pages in minutes. There are several solutions you should consider such as using Two-factor Authentication, staying informed, and monitoring your accounts. Investing in robust security measures, educating yourself and your team, and complying with relevant regulations will build trust and create a safe digital environment for business success.

Business Adaptation

Your business has to be agile to adapt to changing business environments. With digital tools and platforms, businesses can explore new revenue streams, target different customer segments, and adjust their offerings to meet changing market demands more effectively. For example, you can shift easily from selling high-value items to low-value fast moving goods when times are tough or even target a different segment.

Looking beyond the horizon

Digitalization opens doors to a global audience, allowing you to expand your customer base beyond geographical boundaries. Tools like Facebook marketplace and Instagram broaden your horizons and diversify your customer base, reducing reliance on a single market or region and expanding your local market reach. 

Through social media, email marketing, and online customer support, entrepreneurs can maintain strong relationships with their customers even during challenging times. This enables businesses to understand customer needs, offer personalised experiences, and build loyalty, ultimately driving sales and growth. 

We saw how during COVID, online businesses thrived. This increase in online and digital delivery will continue in the long term so be ready and be prepared to adapt to the changing landscape of service and product delivery.


Digital platforms and communities allow entrepreneurs to connect with industry peers, mentors, and potential business partners. Through these networks, women entrepreneurs can access valuable knowledge, support, and opportunities for collaboration, fostering innovation and growth even in challenging economic times. 

Aside from networks, there is a tonne of opportunities to learn a new trade, a new way of doing things, or a new career. Do not limit yourself. As the Bible said, “Enlarge the place of thy tent, and let them stretch forth the curtains of thine habitations: spare not, lengthen thy cords, and strengthen thy stakes” Nothing is impossible but everything takes effort. It takes the first step so take that step and become unstoppable!

In conclusion, digitalization offers immense potential for female entrepreneurs, even during economic crises. By expanding your reach, improving operational efficiency, and adopting data-driven decisions, you can shape your path and inspire a new generation of women entrepreneurs.

Thank you.

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