Small and medium-sized businesses (SMEs) nowadays face the same difficult conditions as giant firms today: each entrepreneur’s capacity to adapt to changing situations and embrace creative ways is essential to their survival.
How do SMEs in Botswana define their markets? How do they become innovative? Every SME is unique in its way – different management, varied locations, diverse business ideas and unique structures. They have different strategic meanings behind them. Because entrepreneurs, like big firms, exist to generate profits for the owners, SMEs significantly contribute to emerging markets.
SMEs in Botswana have different thresholds.
Table 1. 1: SME Threshold in Botswana
|Item||Size Category||Employment levels||Annual turnover in Pula||In US$ equivalent|
|1||Micro-Enterprise||Less than 6 workers||Less than 60000||US$7200|
|2||Small Enterprise||Less than 25 workers||Between 60000 and 1 500 0000||Between US$ 7200 and US$ 180 000|
|3||Medium Enterprise||Less than 100 workers||Between 1 500 000 and 5 000 000||Between US$ 180 000 and US$ 600 000|
These SMEs perform and contribute to the economic space uniquely. Numerous organisations, like the Citizen Entrepreneurship Development Agency (CEDA), which provides financing, and the Local Enterprise Agency (LEA), which provides finance and business advisory support, support these SMEs locally. However, according to Chimucheka & Mandipaka (2015), who referenced Dunn (2008), the ability of the company to retain and obtain its resources from stakeholders is crucial for SME survival. Chimucheka & Mandipaka (2015) also noted that their inability to compete is hampered by a lack of information, experience, and abilities. The setting is also extremely competitive. Strategic intelligence is a tool essential to curb some of these lacks.
In this article, strategic intelligence is seen as a combination of business intelligence, competitive intelligence, and knowledge management. Strategic intelligence is based on information. According to Pellisier & Kruger (2010), Strategic Intelligence is incorporating all of an organisation’s data and intellectual capital into a single, simple-to-manage system that will enable it to meet the intelligence needs of management’s strategic planning and decision-making processes.
It is built from the collection and analysis of data to form practical intelligence. The data collected for Strategic Intelligence is from several sources, such as internal business intelligence, external competition intelligence and human capital, which should be combined to produce the information that decision-makers in organisations use. It is intellectual capital for organisations and worth investing in it.
However, if wrong systems are used to incorporate such data, it may lead to wrong information being used to make decisions, which is why it is very important to also consider systems to use to collect and analyse data and to have a well-organised Strategic Intelligence system. This will help Strategic Intelligence provide relevant, reliable, timely and precise information to the decision-makers.
How can Strategic Intelligence help SMEs position themselves in the economical space of this country and the world? Even though the support is a handful towards SMEs, they fail in the strategies they implement due to a lack of awareness of strategic management. The pressure for SMEs’ survival is both external and internal. Any business needs to know about its environment so that it can establish a strategic position.
Strategic management has various practices and tools which help assist an organisation from the ideas they scratch from their heads to seeing the idea come to reality. It also helps enhance implemented ideas for business growth. Learning how to use those tools to obtain strategic information and make use of it will assist these SMEs to make sound decisions for their future.
In the next article, those tools and techniques will be discussed broadly.
Are Botswana SMEs ready for the global market? With the declining trade barriers through the emergence of trade unions like the African Continental Free Trade Area (AFCFTA) and technological advancements, will they be competitive? Do they have the right resources, the right utensils, up-to-date information, and the right people to make them strive through this changing economic sphere?
They can make themselves ready by making use of Strategic Intelligence. Information is very vital and nowadays it is accessible everywhere. Sound decisions are always made from good information.
*GAONE MODISAAKGOMO graduated from the University of Derby with a merit in Msc Strategic Management and a distinction in her Thesis titled Assessment of the Effect of Strategic Management Practices (Tools and Techniques) on SMEs Perfomance in the Hospitality Industry in Gaborone. Currently studying ACCA professional level, she also has a BA (Hons) in Accounting and Finance with University of Derby and AAT. She has 7 years experience in accounting and auditing. She was a class president for the MSc SM 21/22 Cohort.