10 Jan 2019, 10:48 — 6 min read
Summary: How can SMEs make digital disruption a competitive advantage in 2019? A formidable challenge for businesses is to drive their firms through rapid digital change, but this also presents the greatest opportunity to scale and streamline operations. The big question then is, how can SMEs practically embrace digital transformation. Based on his expertise in creating customised mobile-app based solutions for small and medium businesses, Dhiraj Bhandari shares some concrete suggestions to make digital deliver for your business.
For decades large enterprises have maintained an almost unbeatable advantage over their smaller counterparts by leveraging their greater resources, manpower, processes, tools, machinery, marketing budget and technology know-how. However lately, the way technology is shaping the social and physical landscape (with smartphones, social media, marketplaces, on-demand services, etc), a new socio-economic plane for organisations to operate and survive in is being created.
In this new socio-economic realm, there lies an opportunity for businesses of all sizes (micro, small, medium, large, or even virtual) to quickly learn, leverage, adopt, benefit and grow. Few have done it so well and so quickly that they have become the cynosure of the eyes of their larger counterparts, be it Mi/Samsung, PayTM/Traditional Banks, Ola/Car Manufacturers, Swiggy/Restaurants, Hotstar/Cable, BookMyShow/Cinemas, Oyo/Hotels, Udaan/Traditional Traders and many more in the making.
Interestingly, one thing common among all these winners of today is that they have only reached the top leveraging the recent tools and technologies available and not the means that their larger counterparts have. They have also focused on the changing needs, preferences, habits of our society that prefers convenience, transparency, accessibility, self-service, real-time etc.
If that’s enough indication of a trend that’s here to stay and evolve, may I urge all the MSME (Micro, Small & Medium Enterprises) owners out there to start paying attention to these changes more closely and the several digital tools and technologies available and coming up every day; and consider leveraging them for your business. Some of these have the potential to be a ‘game changer’ for your decades old business too.
Here are a few examples of how MSMEs can adopt digital solutions to scale and streamline business operations.
Have you thought of offering 24x7 customer service?
The digital tools and technologies available today allow the opportunity to deliver round-the-clock customer service at an almost negligible cost. No need for a call centre, or a large customer service team, or even a glorified customer service software or IVR (Interactive voice response) system. Simple and self-service live chat helpdesk can be setup to attend to customers and visitors at very low cost. Something which even big businesses like TataSky or Zomato have setup, but at a fraction of the cost.
Is your business growth limited in the way you manage your distributor/dealer network?
A regional manufacturer of water storage tanks based in Bengaluru manages its 1200+ dealer network across south India using an app-based dealer management solution that allows its dealers to have 24x7 access to product catalogue (with latest availability and prices), real-time ordering, tracking, promotions, performance, rewards. The dealers are no more dependent on the salesperson to call or come take the order, to know the order status, or to know the latest product availability or pricing or the B2B schemes, etc. Now isn’t this a smart way to manage and scale your small business by leveraging technology!
Do you have a tough time managing your sales force spread across regions?
Again, a mobile app-based tool lets you track your sales force GPS location, assign them tasks in real-time on the field, seek status updates, upload expenses, request leave, etc all from anywhere, anytime. Dedicated mobile apps are available for your field team to receive tasks, submit reports, attendance, and get rewarded.
All of above is not science fiction it’s a reality that a minuscule of businesses today have adopted and are reaping the benefits. Just how PayTM, Bookmyshow, Ola, Mi, Oyo have now almost become household names, MSMEs can also leverage digital technology as a game changer for their business.
In conclusion, today's digital tools and technologies can enable all this for you, if leveraged properly and timely. And guess what, you are not late! Your customers have only recently graduated to a point where they all own a smartphone, are connected 24x7, feel informed and powerful enough to choose and refer your brand up or down, demand the ability to transact and track instantly etc. And your larger peers are still struggling to cope with digital disruption as their heavy traditional footprint makes it difficult for them to quickly try these new modes of connecting and serving customers.
It's opportunity, opportunity, opportunity for MSMEs and now is the time to make the most of it.
I wish that 2019 be the year of digital disruption with unprecedented growth for MSMEs!
I look forward to comments on this article from business owners, tech-savvy fellow colleagues about their light bulb moments, thoughts, ideas, and other examples on how micro, small, medium businesses have leveraged or can leverage digital technologies of the day to their advantage.
To explore business opportunities, link with me by clicking on the 'Invite' button on my eBiz Card.
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views, official policy or position of GlobalLinker.
Posted byDhiraj Bhandari
Nexxio offers technology solutions for micro, small and medium enterprises. With our technology solutions we can help increase your business' productivity and efficiency,...