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How SMEs are benefiting from the internet?
In recent past we have seen a surge in internet penetration in India. The reasons are multiple like the ambitious Digital India program, the reducing cost of internet, increase in reach of smartphones and finally Reliance JIO and others providing internet at lower prices to end users. This surely has affected a whole lot of things across India.

The media, the election campaigns of political parties among others have started using internet as a significant layers. Social Networks like Facebook & Twitter have exploded with views of people and together with WhatsApp they have made the world more connected. And yes, it has both negative and positive effects.

But one of the most important things that the internet penetration has brought is bringing businesses online. There are multiple aspects to it actually, some more visible, some less but combinedly they have made the business environment for businesses and especially for the small and medium ones more friendly. It's something that they can't ignore if they want to remain in business.

Transactions on internet

You got it right. Demonetisation has pushed the smallest of sellers and buyers (think about your local kirana store & chaiwala) to shift to alternative modes of payment primarily dependent on internet. Paytm, Mobikwik, Freecharge and others are well on their way to replace cash as the commonest method of transaction among businesses.

Companies selling on internet

This had been there earlier too, but has lately seen a major surge with multiple players entering the market. Companies like Amazon provide you with an option to become a seller at no cost. The rise of B2B ecommerce companies like Tolexo (Subsidiary of IndiaMART), Bizongo and now Instamojo allow SMEs to directly sell through their platforms. Instamojo, although small, has created a different kind of market for itself by focusing more on SMEs & B2B transactions. Although the advent of PayTM has somehow undermined it but still it seems to be the first choice of SMEs & MSMEs due to its its marketing and its SME friendly policies. According to multiple studies, SMEs who have started selling online are performing better than those who are not in terms of volumes of sales and finding new leads.

Apps & websites for SMEs

The larger companies already had websites and apps, but a few companies in recent past have significantly changed the game in favour of smaller players. Right now, there are startups like Ongo Store, & Bizporto who will make an app for your small business in less than INR 5000 or so and that too within hours. This for sure has brought more SMEs online and has given them some kind of relief when it comes to getting customers through online channels which earlier was only for bigger players. Also, it has somehow shifted the center from big players like TradeIndia who were somewhat overcharging businesses to get their web sites created. That sure is a big improvement.

Communities of SMEs & MSMEs on the internet

This is rather a new segment as compared to others. There are startups like CoreLogs and SMEJoinup who are focusing on creating an internet-based community of SMEs & SMEs. They are working to bring manufacturers, suppliers and service providers, all on one platform and let them interact freely. In generic terms, this segment is doing to SMEs what Facebook, Twitter & LinkedIn did for individuals – Reducing the gaps.

Although SMEJoinup works offline and is primarily based in Mahrashtra, CoreLogs has actually created a perfect community and what is promising about it is that the SMEs are sharing their business requirements here. This gives other SMEs a hold on information like from where they can get more business and it provides them a better edge over others.

The way things are moving, local industry associations are becoming a thing of the past. There are startups who are providing loans and solving other problems for small businesses and they are gaining ground. Offline communities will be nullified (although they will retain their significance) with the advent of online community like CoreLogs. There are already very established startups like Mjunction which are helping the SMEs purchase raw materials at best price.

Many SMEs are already using cloud-based services from Zoho, Google & others. There is a race among these to acquire more SMEs on their platform as it is a big and largely untouched market.

To sum it all up, the future of business is online and as an SME, sooner or later you have to accept it and utilise it for your good, the sooner, the better. The effects of all these platforms is going to multiply and it is not a wave that will vanish soon. It is a necessity and is here to stay.

Editorial NOTE: This article is categorized under Opinion Section. The views expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of In case you have a opposing view, please click here to share the same in the comments section.
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