No more ‘lala’ culture, change in mindset: SMEs on moving beyond startups
In post-pandemic India, small businesses and MSMEs are poised to play a vital role in the country’s growth journey by leveraging technological advancements and adopting to digital means.
At TechSparks 2022, YourStory’s flagship startup-tech summit held earlier this month, Sidhya Senani, Engagement Lead and COO, BAF Consultants; Chandu Reddy, Director, Sangeetha Mobiles; and Nikhil Ranjan, MD, William Penn shared insights on the roles small businesses are playing in the modern world and what all it will take to grow the sector.
In a panel discussion moderated by YourStory Founder and CEO Shradha Sharma, Chandu spoke about the changing business dynamics in the post-COVID-19 world. Though the last two years were tough, Sangeetha Mobiles opened more than 100 stores in 2020 and 2021. He credits this to a planned approach and investing with the mindset that retail won’t fade.
“Pandemic was a wake-up call as most of the SMEs are family-run. The lockdown gave them time to strategically think the way ahead,” said Sidhya, adding that SMEs must understand that the journey to making Rs 500 crore revenue won’t be the same when it comes to doubling it. This is the change in mindset that is needed for SMEs to adapt, she emphasised.
Adding to the conversation, Nikhil highlighted that there is a cultural shift taking place among small and medium enterprises as they are moving away from the traditional ‘lala’ culture and progressing towards building a corporate culture.
“The only thing which keeps SMEs in the backseat is the less exposure. You see, the pandemic taught us a lot of things. When SMEs were exposed to technology, they adapted to it. Similarly, it is with other things. The initiative should be bringing more and more people to MSMEs,” Chandu pointed out, sharing how mobile phones disrupted the online space where small players are also taking advantage of online platforms.
But how can MSMEs to progress in the fast-paced business ecosystem of today? Nikhil had an answer: “If you can’t beat them, join them.” He further explained that if there is a startup willing to buy the brand, SMEs should go for it and pick their battles.
Sidhya added that collaborating with startup companies is a great idea for small and medium enterprises, however, for any company, the primary concern is to win the trust of the SME since they are very attached to their business.
The bottom line is that SMEs are progressing for sure but they need exposure and handholding to be on a rising curve. This is why panellists emphasised that the ecosystem should invest time in understanding these businesses.
Edited by Kanishk Singh