Directors and management of businesses must adopt a flexible operational strategy to remain competitive and thrive in unforeseen circumstances, Nana Dwemoh Benneh, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Universal Merchant Bank (UMB), has advised.

He said such a strategy would enable businesses to quickly change their operations to meet the trends and needs of a particular time to remain relevant, competitive and achieve profit.

Speaking with the media on the sidelines of Ghana’s Most Respected CEOs Breakfast Series in Accra, Mr Benneh noted that even though all businesses felt the negative impact of the coronavirus pandemic, some businesses were able to stay relevant, competitive and made gains due to their ability to quickly adjust to the changing business environment.

The CEO opined that although it was not out of place for businesses to hold on to the core of their operations, adopting flexible operational strategies would allow them to thrive even in a crisis.

He said”we have businesses that hitherto had a different business line, people who were doing alcoholic beverages are now doing sanitisers so they’ve had to look at what they have as their core and adapt it to the needs and requirements of the environment that has come.”

Mr Benneh added that: “The winners and losers of this crisis will be the people who will be able to do a proper assessment of what the business module is, what is it that you are offering, vis a vis, the current changes that we have all witnessed as a result of the crisis and taking advantage of it.”

The Breakfast Series was organised by the Business and Financial Times and UMB, under the theme; Business Adaptability and Sustainability in 2021: The Role and Impact of Finance and Technology.”

It aimed at proffering strategies on how firms can overcome the challenges brought on by the Covid-19 pandemic to their operations to enable them to be competitive and profitable.

Mr Benneh said as a bank, UMB was committed to partnering with businesses to evolve and to remain competitive.

He, therefore, urged businesses, especially start-ups and Small and Medium Enterprises, to create credibility to allow them to obtain investments from the banks.

“Our clients must create credibility so that when they come with financing proposals we are able to finance them and this includes creating business modules that can be profitable, one that is commercial and can make money and also demonstrate the necessary discipline it takes to grow the business,” he said.

He added that “anyone who finances looks to a client who can demonstrate a clear value proposition and one that is very disciplined and committed to seeing the business to a successful end.”

CEO, Intelligent Capital Group, Ms Leticia Browne said even though businesses had realised the importance of technology as a result of the pandemic, more collaboration was needed between them and Fintech companies to enable them to stay relevant and become more competitive globally.

Meanwhile, data from the Covid-19 Business Tracker Survey conducted by the Ghana Statistical Service (GSS), in 2020 showed that during the lockdown, about 244,000 firms started adjusting their business models by relying more on digital solutions, such as mobile money and the internet for sales.

Other speakers at the event are Mr Daniel Kwadwo Owusu, Country Managing Partner, Deloitte Ghana, Mr Daniel Addo, CEO of Consolidated Bank Ghana, Mr Dominic Adu, CEO of FNB Ghana and Madam Ethel Coffie, CEO of Edel Technologies and Founder, Women in Technology.