According to the India Brand Equity Foundation, India has about 6.3 crore MSMEs. Despite the onslaught of the pandemic, the number of new company registrations rose 26% in 2020-21 over the previous year. While the economy is quite abuzz with excitement, the real question that needs to be addressed is one of viability and success. Do SME owners have the tools to survive and thrive? What are some of the greatest growth enablers for small and medium enterprises? Let us take a look at some of the key factors.
- Vision – The vision of an entrepreneur is possibly the greatest growth boost that any small or medium enterprise can get. We are in a time when new businesses, enterprises, and start-ups are leveraging the incredible innovations that technology offers. With every new idea comes a number of new avenues for application. Some of the top 100 fintech influencers of the country, such as Sanjiv Bajaj, Mukesh Ambani, Azim Premji, and Shiv Nadar, have transformed how traditional businesses function with the help of technology. While vision is important, it is equally important that the leadership of the SME offers positive support through financial planning and achieving goals.
- Business culture – A growth enabler businessman is one who can create a company culture that will help the enterprise thrive. This is one of the fundamentals of business, and it is just as true for small and medium enterprises and start-ups as well. In a world where social media has put every small and big brand on the center stage and essentially leveled the playing field, it is easier for a small enterprise to get noticed. Business culture, communication, customer service, brand building, and stakeholder involvement could be some of the biggest growth enablers for small businesses.
- The economic environment – The entire global economy has been through a major slump since the onset of the pandemic. Since most countries instated stay-at-home protocols, many SMEs had been forced to go out of business and others had to downsize. Now that the economies across the world are opening up, the environment will act as one of the greatest growth enablers for small and medium businesses. In a country like India, self-reliance-oriented policies such as Atma Nirbhar Bharat are now creating the perfect environment for more SMEs to come up.
- Funding – It is certainly quite easy to understand why financing is a key growth enabler when it comes to SMEs. In India, the government has come up with quite many policies that help small and medium enterprises find funding. Recent studies have shown that following the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, several small businesses have mushroomed across the country. They come with a great appetite and potential for growth but lack funding. NBFCs such as Bajaj Finserv, under the vision of the growth-enabler businessman Sanjiv Bajaj, have been doing much to help SMEs secure funding. However, we need more private and public institutions willing to fund SMEs.
- Building customer relationships – One of the key differentiators that will differentiate an average start-up from a really successful one is the confidence and trust that the SME can instill in the customer. Relationship building has become the most important factor influencing brands and their performances. Delivering on promises and showcasing values that represent most customers is key. With social media chatter becoming one of the great influencers of our times, it is quite easy for any target base to pick out brands and companies that showcase relatable ideals and values.
We live in the age of entrepreneurship. Hundreds and thousands of small and medium enterprises are starting up each year worldwide. And the economic environment is just right too. People are ready to ditch traditional products and brands and try innovations. Despite this, there are a number of barriers that SME owners face when it comes to survival and growth. These could include inimical policies and political climate, lack of avenues for expansion, availability of poor technical skills and resources, or even lack of vision or inability to adapt to transformation.
New entrepreneurs need to understand that the larger picture is positive, and in countries like India, entrepreneurship is firmly supported by economic policies. Technological support, too, is easily available to realize whatever entrepreneurial visions one may have. The sky’s the limit for businesses that are innovative, adaptable, and willing to work hard to earn the confidence of customers.
The current economic scenario provides small and medium enterprises unprecedented opportunities to survive and thrive. Countries like India have MSME-friendly policies that make for ease of doing business. There are a number of factors such as vision, culture, policies, funding, and customer communications that can be vital in determining the growth and success of SMEs. Leadership is the key to identifying these factors and leveraging all available technology and resources to build a successful business.