In the last few years, we have seen an increasing number of African startups emerging and disrupting various industries. The growing digital economy, availability of affordable internet and mobile phone tariffs, coupled with cheaper online software development kits have all contributed to this upsurge in African startups.
Based on a report by TechCrunch, in 2021, African startups raised a record-breaking $4.3 billion to $5 billion.
Regardless of where your startup stands right now, it is crucial to consider the future impact that these trends might have on your business. Changing environments will affect the scope and intensity of competition, impact demand for your product/services, and influence supply chains.
The emergence of new technologies also means that you need to think about how they will change your business model. Read on to discover five key points that you should keep in mind as you plan for the future of your startup.
Continuous Advancement in Technology
The way people use technology is constantly evolving, and this will have a big impact on the future of your business.
According to AMC Laboratories, artificial intelligence and machine learning are perceived as game changers by 71% of executives.
You need to be aware of the emerging technologies and how they will help you to be more efficient. In fact, advancements in technology often make existing products and services obsolete. For instance, the rise of artificial intelligence (AI) is expected to eliminate many jobs, particularly those that are routine in nature.
It may also increase demand for other jobs as companies replace workers with automation. Moreover, the type of platform you choose for your startup is important as it will determine how your business will evolve in the future. For instance, if you decide to create a mobile app, be aware that you may need to make a significant investment in order to update it should a new technology emerge or be introduced in the app store.
The Expectation of Omnichannel Experience
As internet penetration and digital adoption increase in Africa, people are likely to expect a seamless experience across different channels. They will also expect quick and accurate response times, regardless of the channel they choose to communicate with you.
This has significant implications for your business operations since you will be expected to have a well-integrated system that will enable you to respond to customer inquiries across channels with minimum delay. The mobile channel is likely to be the main source of customer engagement, which means that you should prioritize building a good mobile application and having a responsive website. You should also consider using SMS, chatbots, and other digital communication channels that are currently growing in popularity.
The Growing Importance of AI and Robotics
The rise of AI and robotics will result in a shift in how businesses operate, how supply chains are managed, and how people work.
In a research by Semrush, AI is expected to grow at a 33.2 percent annual rate between 2020 and 2027.
While some people worry about machines replacing humans, others see this as a positive development, suggesting that machines can be more efficient and precise than humans, enabling people to do more creative and interesting work. Therefore, if your startup is in a sector that would benefit from robotic advancements, you should consider how this will affect your business.
If your industry is likely to be disrupted by robotics, you should start planning for this as soon as possible. If you create a service that requires human intervention, you may be able to defend yourself against the growing importance of AI and robotics. Nevertheless, you should keep an eye on developments in AI and robotics so that you can respond to changing needs and employ new technologies where appropriate.
Expanding African Markets
Africa is expected to become a key player in the global market, primarily due to an increase in income. As countries across the continent are experiencing sustained economic growth, consumers are becoming more receptive to new products, brands, and services.
Brookings stated, ‘Africa’s potential as a growth market for business remains both underestimated and misunderstood- as does the potential for business to play a transformative role in solving the continent’s biggest challenges.”
African markets are becoming more open to the rest of the world, which means that foreign businesses can also use Africa as a gateway to other developing markets. This presents an attractive opportunity for your startup since there will be a growing demand for your product/services in the near future. You should therefore carefully examine the demand for your product/services and identify the best ways to reach customers in each market.
However, you should be aware that in some countries, you will have to comply with specific regulations and standards. You should also understand the local culture so that you can tailor your communications accordingly.
The future is uncertain, and it is impossible to know exactly what it holds for you and your business. However, by considering the trends outlined in this article, you can make informed decisions about how you can shape your future.
This will enable you to reach your goals quicker and more efficiently so that you can focus on building your business rather than worrying about how it will be affected by external factors. By keeping these trends in mind, you will be better prepared for what lies ahead and have a better chance of achieving success with your startup.
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