Small and medium businesses hit hard by Covid pandemic
Ask anyone about which segment of the business have been the hardest hit by the pandemic across industry sectors and across the world and the most common answer, invariably would be the small and medium businesses, or SMBs, in business parlance.
Ask anyone about which segment of the business have been the hardest hit by the pandemic across industry sectors and across the world and the most common answer, invariably would be the small and medium businesses, or SMBs, in business parlance. India, understandably, is no exception. A vast majority of these SMBs, operating out of India, have been going through severe negative impacts and most of them believe that it would take a year or more to go back to the pre-Covid levels. It would actually take even longer, if one considers the second wave of the pandemic, currently setting in. Little wonder therefore that this vital segment of the economy is looking forward to more measures, more active support and incentives and sops from the government. Mind you that many economists think (and rightly so) that if Indian economy has to recover at a faster pace, it will have to be driven by the recovery of such small and medium sized businesses. One often tends to forget that.
But do these enterprises look for much? Actually they do not. All they want are: better and efficient credit facility, better marketing support and better and effective adoption of technology. Without these, they cannot scale up their activities. And unless they scale up and avail economies of scale, it would always be very difficult for them to survive, let alone growing. Interestingly, the pandemic has speeded up the pace of digitization across sectors and businesses have reaped advantages like cost reduction and increased productivity. Small and mid-sized businesses will also have to take advantage of this. If these smaller outfits are to reduce their costs substantially and turn themselves into more competitive and efficient organisations, they will have to digitise their daily operations, by all means. In the changed scenario, there is no alternative to this.
One has to keep in mind that the global pandemic has disrupted, in fact completely devastated the supply chains and logistics. And therefore, adoption of the right kind of technology and digitisation have become all the more crucial or of critical importance. Mind you that adoption of technology or digitisation not only helps in drastic reduction of costs and in increasing competitiveness, It also helps, to a great extent, in understanding the customer behaviour in a much better way. And once an enterprise understands its customers' behaviours, business operations become much easier and much efficient.
Once these smaller business outfits successfully leverage the digitisation process, they will be much better positioned to address their key traditional problems that they have been facing over the years. They can, and then successfully put more focus on expanding the customer base, issues like data security and evolution of products and services.
The economy managers of the country must realise that small is beautiful and must focus on this segment and help them scale up and grow. The SMBs, themselves, must realise that too.