A safety net for small businesses [DNA : Daily News & Analysis (India)]
(DNA : Daily News & Analysis (India) Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) "Why work for someone else ? This question seems to be the rallying cry for many Indians and has led to the SME revolution.
Gone are the days when large MNCs offered job security and better pay packages. Today, downsizing has become the norm and one person doing the work of three has become a standard business practice. This realisation has inspired many to become their own boss.
According to a special report on entrepreneurship in The Economist , in 2003-05, some 5,000 tech-savvy Indians with more than five years' experience of working in America returned to India. These people have helped to fill some of the skills gaps created by the country's recent boom.
In the last two decades, entrepreneurship in India has been significantly fuelled by the knowledge economy. The IT sector with revenue at USD 76.1 billion has contributed significantly to the economic growth, from 1.2% of GDP in 1998 to 6.4% of GDP in 2011, reveals a Nasscom report.""Selling online
With the advent of several innovations online, small businessmen are able to deliver better products and services to consumers. A recent study by Nathan Economic Consulting, Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) and Google India concludes that small and medium enterprises (SMEs) that use the Internet extensively have seen steady rise in profits. The study titled, Unleashing the Potential: The Internet's Role in the Performance of India's Small and Medium Enterprises, reveals that a country's economic performance sees a high growth when small companies rely heavily on the Internet to promote their businesses.
Of SMEs that use the Internet, 64% have seen an increase in sales, 65% an increase in profits, 69% an increase in customers, and 63% an increase in geographic reach. On average, an SME that uses the Internet is able to expand its customer base by 7%.
While Internet does promise growth, there are other crucial factors that small business owners must take into account. This included understanding the consumers better and offering different modes of delivery.
"People may use the Internet frequently, but may hesitate to purchase a product online. This is because most of them want to see the product before buying. Some consumers may not trust the internet for purchases; others believe e-tailers have less product variety compared to traditional retailers; many consumers fear late delivery of products. But now, with cash on delivery and home delivery options, consumers have begun recognising the convenience that online shopping offers," says Chaitanya Aggarwal, Founder & CEO, Juvalia & You.""Challenges aplenty
To run a successful business online, entrepreneurs need to keep themselves updated. Nitin Raj, Chief Marketing Officer, Stylemydiamonds.com, says one needs to keep track of new trends and technology in the market. "Updating your website with fresh content on new products is also a must," he adds.
Hiring the right people is a challenge for SMEs. It's tough to find people who share your vision and passion,opine entrepreneurs.
"It is indeed a task to hire talented manpower but it is a bigger task to retain them. In today's world, one has to innovate not just for customers, but also for manpower-- to constantly keep them motivated," says Simran Sial, co-founder, Findmystay.com.
While many entrepreneurs do grapple with not having enough funds, but by having enough chutzpah and an understanding of how to market yourself, entrepreneurs can make a mark for themselves in India--the land of opportunities.
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