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WE ARE POISED TO BUILD ONLINE PORTALS & WEBSITES FOR NIGERIAN SMEs – HARRISON OKAFOR

 

In this interview, Harrison Okafor, the Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Harnix Tech, an indigenous web development and online presence firm located in Lagos talks about the need for the small and medium enterprises (SMEs) to invest in online presence. He complained of the low adaption of virtual presence by Nigerian business owners. He talks about how they generated two million followers in the social media page. Anthony Nwosu captures this in an exclusive interview

 

Tell us about Harnix Tech as an IT firm?

Harnix Tech is a creative digital agency, located in Lagos. We are a team of IT professionals combining the knowledge of our skills to provide outstanding digital solutions to our business clients.…. We are a team of professional graphic designers, web developers, content writers, marketers and IT specialists combining the knowledge of our skills to create beautiful designs and strategies, aimed to meet your business’s needs.

As a web developing firm have you ever thought of building software which is a clear departure from web development?

Yes, I have. But, before I move into details, we provide other services other than web development, we currently provide graphic design, digital marketing, SEO, content writing, social media management, and branding services too. Now back to a software, as I said earlier, I do hope to someday create a Book-Keeping product that specifically helps business entrepreneurs track their revenue, transactions, expenses, profits, tax and so on. The goal would be to make it super-easy for entrepreneurs to navigate through and understand.

The need to have virtual presence is very important for many organizations. What do you think are the Nigerian SMEs attitude towards building web or online presence?

Currently due to the bad economy, they feel the prices are on the high side, and most businesses just choose to opt out and keep running their business offline even when they know we live in a digital era when having your business online is very vital. However, we are working on something at Harnix Tech that would help accommodate SMEs in Nigeria. We believe as time goes on, businesses will evolve and come to understand the importance of virtual presence.

Do you think that cost of building websites is chasing or scaring Nigerian firms away?

Currently, I would say yes. Now when we look at the analysis of how many small businesses there are, you will notice there are over 80% small businesses and more are still going to come up. Now if we decide to check the rate of how many small businesses own a website, they are very few. We could say around 5-8%. But again, sometimes it is not about the price, it’s actually about small business owners lacking knowledge about the digital space and how the digital space could help scale their business. Businesses that do not key into the vast opportunities that internet offer is basically missing it big time.

Do you think of hosting apart from web development?

I have given it a thought, but right now, I just want to focus on scaling Harnix Tech to a whole new level. Hosting will come as we evolve but now, we are focused on our core.

As a digital marketing firm, what do you think can be done to push SME brands in the country?

Firstly, I would say we need to educate small business owners on why it is very important to have their business online. The reason I am saying this is because, we have dealt with clients who are clueless about the digital space, and when we present them with results of how their website was performing, they simply don’t get it. We have to break it down, so that they could truly understand what we are doing and what the next step is, when it comes to positioning their brand online.

Secondly, I will say making use of affordable resources. I say affordable because, we are talking about SMEs here, if they find the price of a website too expensive, then what happens when we start pitching SEO to them? They would take to their hills, because SEO is very costly. SEO costs ranges from 100k – 300k monthly, and an SEO campaign could take up to 6 months or more. You don’t want to pitch SEO to an SME brand, rather you want to draft out affordable marketing strategies, which they can use to scale their business. At Harnix Tech, one of the things, we do is create and optimize our clients Google MyBusiness account, one of our clients, Parkview Astoria Hotel is on their top game, when it comes to ranking on Google MyBusiness, when you search for keywords like luxurious hotels in Ikoyi, 4 star hotels in Ikoyi, or hotels in Ikoyi, Parkview Hotel is with in position 1 or 2. This has helped their business generate over a million in 4-5 months. So, when dealing with SMEs, think of Facebook Ads, Instagram Ads, Influential Marketing, Google MyBusiness or Apple Map listing. Then once they start generating that revenue, they would have more confident in the online business, and then you could pitch SEO to them.

What are the challenges that you face doing business in Nigeria?

Well, there are myriads of them but I will bring to these few things such as Getting the right people to work with. Clients delay in balancing payments, because we charge 60% upfront before we embark on any project and 40% after project is done. Bad Economy. Getting International SMEs to trust your brand. Today, a lot of Nigerians especially in the med field and tech are leaving the country.

How has this affected you?

I will not say that it has affected us, because some of our very good clients are Nigerians based abroad. And I won’t really say them moving abroad isnt the best option, because clearly it is. I also want to take my brand international one day, because it is high-profitable out there than within Nigeria.

Your team use SEO, PPC, social media and Content Marketing, among other channels, to build your brand and achieve goals. Tell us how?

At Harnix Tech, we make use of Influencial Marketing, social media, SEO, and Content Marketing currently. Now when it comes to Influencial Marketing, it has helped our brand generate visibility in the online space. While social media has helped us communicate more with our audience, our posts, our designs, everything communicates and we have used that to generate revenues for the brand. Content Marketing helps us build trust with our clients and create a bonding relationship with them, one of the things we do at Harnix Tech is study our client’s industry, and provide our clients information that can help them scale and stand a chance to compete in that industry. SEO has helped us generate online traffic and even sales for the brand. We are currently looking at using a new strategy, which involves turning our customers to our ambassadors, and creating a referral system.

You’re into digital marketing. How has this been?

In short words, it has been an awesome experience, the brand has really grown this year and we have generated more than double of our revenue last year.

Tell us your expectations this later part of the year?

We are aiming to generate 3M, Harnix Tech was launch 23 April, 2021. And last year been our first year, we did 785k+. We started this year with a lot of fire, and everyone on the team has been spectacular, with our new implemented strategies, we have not only generated over 2M+ this year, but also increased our client lists. We are confident to we can achieve this before the year runs out. We are also looking at exploring and dominating other social media platforms as well as keep increasing our client lists. Currently we have brands who trust us in Nigeria, UK, Russia. But altogether we have offered digital services to different brands in 5 countries. We believe there is still a long way to go when it comes to the issue of SMEs in Nigeria, and we will be looking at educating a lot of SME Entrepreneurs.

 

 

Well, there are myriads of them but I will bring to these few things such as Getting the right people to work with. Clients delay in balancing payments, because we charge 60% upfront before we embark on any project and 40% after project is done. Bad Economy. Getting International SMEs to trust your brand. Today, a lot of Nigerians especially in the med field and tech are leaving the country.

 

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