SMB owners need to develop a roadmap towards recovery by implementing digital transformation to remove obstacles from their journey, and identify new opportunities that will help grow their businesses.
The country’s 6 crore SMBs are seen as an important catalyst in helping India’s thriving economy; employing over 114 million people. In fact, SMBs in India account for 30 percent of the GDP as per the Confederation of Indian Industry. However, the total disruption due to COVID-19 has led to an economic slowdown. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) estimates that the global economy is expected to shrink by over 3 percent in 2020, which is the steepest slowdown since the Great Depression of the 1930s. India has already seen a rapid economic decline as FICCI recorded the economy growth at a six-year-low rate of 4.7 percent in the third quarter of the current fiscal year.
Small businesses have borne the brunt of this economic downturn. In April, a survey by Localcircles revealed that over 80 percent of startups and SMEs across the country expect to scale down their operations, while many anticipate a complete shutdown or selling off their businesses over the next six months. What is worse is that 47 percent have less than a month of cash left, while many of them have run out of funds already.
Even with the few government measures and stimulus packages in place, the SMB sector still faces numerous challenges such as low liquidity, disrupted supply chains and labour availability. There is an imminent need to create a seamless framework for SMBs to help them restart their business operations to full capacity.
Need for digitisation
Owing to the transformational changes brought on by the COVID-19 crisis, digital adoption has become a necessity for SMBs to survive. Even though the government has tried to raise awareness about the significant advantages of leveraging technology in increasing revenue growth, a KPMG-Google report stated that only a mere 2 percent of SMBs are digitally engaged and a staggering 68 percent are completely offline.
SMBs cited a lack of understanding of the benefits of digital technologies and technical skills as the essential reasons for being offline. Digital adoption can effectively bridge these gaps and empower thousands of Indian SMBs with the essential digital skills to rebuild and revive their businesses.
Benefits of digital adoption
SMB owners need to develop a roadmap towards recovery by implementing digital transformation to remove obstacles from their journey, and identify new opportunities that will help grow their businesses. Some of the key benefits of digital technology are highlighted below.
• Larger customer base
The biggest reason why SMBs need to focus on digitisation is that their consumers are already there. As per a Kantar report, the number of monthly active internet users in India was at 574 million in May. This user base is poised to touch 639 million by the end of the year with rural areas driving this digital revolution. Online shopping has gained even more prominence recently as customers today are looking for convenience and ease of use; and many prefer digital transaction methods. Hence businesses need to be where their customers are.
• Boost business revenue growth and increase profits
The KPMG-Google report also noted that digital SMBs grow revenues and rake up profits twice as fast as their offline counterparts. Creating a digital marketplace can make businesses easily accessible to consumers; helping them explore product offerings and place orders with ease. With social media, businesses can also engage more customers online.
• Expand and scale up operations
The key to a successful business is to ensure product differentiation in competitive and fragmented markets. Going digital will help you go beyond the store’s geographic boundaries and widen your customer base nationwide. Nearly 51 percent of digitally-enabled SMBs cater to customers beyond city boundaries. Get Lenovo’s ThinkBook—powered by the latest 10th Gen Intel Core processors—to launch your online portal and showcase your products to national and international audiences thereby increasing exports. It is equipped with AMD Radeon 625 and 620 graphic cards respectively, which helps load web pages faster, stream videos smoother, and display images more clearly.
• Manage business from anywhere
To fuel business’ growth and help you stay connected with your team from any remote location, it’s advisable to use one multi-purpose device. The right computer can serve as your command centre enabling you to perform multiple functions with speed and convenience.
Lenovo’s Rapid Charge technology charges your ThinkBook up to 80 percent in just one hour, allowing you to run your business all day without interruption. It is also integrated with a fingerprint reader for biometric authentication ensuring only authorised users can use the device; thereby providing data protection.
• Streamline workflows
By going digital, SMBs can also avail of cloud-based solutions to improve internal collaboration across departments, such as logistics, accounting, etc. One of the best products for SMBs is Lenovo’s ThinkBook series, which has been specially designed for small businesses, and built for superior security and productivity. It can help you streamline your operations, deploy marketing solutions, interact with clients/vendors/investors, and manage your digital marketplace remotely.
It's time to up-skill your team and equip them with the latest technologies and rewrite your growth story. Start your company’s digital journey now and explore solutions to give your business a competitive edge.
This is a partnered post.