Article first appeared in Small Enterprise India on 2 November, 2017
India is in the midst of an incredible digital revolution. With close to 400 million active Internet users, India is home to the second largest Internet user base in the world. The recent government push towards Digital India has seen the emergence of several classes of SMBs and entrepreneurs. We are witnessing the rise of social entrepreneurs, lifestyle entrepreneurs, women entrepreneurs and members of the young digital generation, who are starting on their own. The number of Indian ‘netizens’ is now expected to double by 2021, according to a report by Cisco.
A combination of factors like lower data cost, easier access through smartphones and growth in rural penetration is contributing to this rapid growth.
As India’s Internet audience continues to grow and evolve, it also paves the way for the growth of small and medium business (SMBs) in the country. India has the second highest number of small businesses in the world; 51 million SMBs contribute to more than 17 percent of the GDP and employ over 117 million people. So it’s not surprising that the SMB sector is vital to the economic growth and development in the country.
The Internet has opened up new horizons and opportunities for SMBs in India, with new business models, disruptions and new ways to run and manage operations, connect with customers and meet increasing demand.
However, only 32 percent of Indian SMBs are online, according to a study by KPMG, and not many have a website or use the Internet to run or support their businesses. This indicates that there is tremendous potential for the SMB sector to grow much faster by embracing technology to help their businesses grow. It is a market reality that even though we have a significant number of small businesses in India, only a small percentage of them are online.
Digitization is often perceived as a complicated process, which is not true at all.
There are several reasons for the low adoption of the Internet by SMBs, and the biggest of them revolve around the three As – Awareness, Access and Affordability. Many small businesses do not understand the benefits of going online. A lack of technical knowledge, misconceptions about high complexity and “return on investment,” and a perceived lack of support and guidance acts as hurdles for them.
GoDaddy is a champion for small businesses and entrepreneurs and is committed to contribute to the growth story of Indian SMBs, helping them grow and driving to eliminate the online barriers that prevent them from getting online.
First, we want to create awareness through our campaigns and case studies. Second, give small businesses the right access and provide right training to help ensure they get the right support during their initial days. Third, affordability; offer attractive pricing for our products and services.
GoDaddy has launched several educational initiatives and programs, content and campaigns that are focused on building awareness among SMBs and entrepreneurs on the benefits of being online. In fact, our communication to small businesses has always focused on highlighting internet adoption as a better alternative to grow revenues and improve productivity.
Our latest 360-degree campaign, built on a simple message – ‘Internet ko kaam pe lagao’ or ‘Make the internet work for you,’ focuses on educating audiences on the importance of having an online identity, the ease of launching an online presence and how they can supplement their efforts with a website as a way to promote themselves and realize the benefits of the internet for their business.
Over 60 percent of the overall Internet growth is now coming from tier-two and tier-three cities conversing in their local languages. GoDaddy’s regional language campaigns help to eliminate this language barrier and make the Internet easy to embrace for the non-English speaking SMBs.
At GoDaddy, we provide award-winning customer support to help small businesses at every stage along the way 24×7, which is an intrinsic part of our India vision. Hence, along with localizing our website, product offerings and awareness campaigns, and customer support, we place a lot significance on our commitment to small business owners across India.
Our GoDaddy local customer support representatives can help answer questions or provide support small businesses may need at hours that meet their busy schedules. An expert conversant in their choice of language will be available to walk them through the process of creating a website or other support they require to help manage their online presence in over six regional languages.
As a part of its five-year India anniversary celebrations, GoDaddy has set up a ‘Customer Engagement Program’ to get first-hand feedback from small business customers on new and existing products. As part of this Program, GoDaddy meets customers’ in their own environment to be able to better discover unique behaviors, wants and needs of the Indian SMB market.
This approach helps us gain meaningful insights and will help pave the way for the future, building innovative solutions to help SMBs create and grow their digital presence.
Small business owners often have a misconception that going online is not affordable and involves high costs. GoDaddy offers price points for different services that are affordable for SMBs. Today, one can get a domain name, create and host a website, and use professional email to engage with customers, with little or no technical know-how at an affordable cost as part of GoDaddy’s Get Online Today package.
Local bundles that bring integrated solutions and tools together also make online adoption more affordable and help to reduce the number of steps for customers. Our message is that as a technology provider, we really want to be a part of the journey of success for small businesses. We want to help them grow profitably and to do that we look at it, not as a one time transaction, but as an entire journey.
It eases out the investment level and their fears around it, because it is not as difficult as it looks.
Third is affordability and we are providing that. The broad message is that we are working in partnership with all stakeholders to help overcome all these barriers, whether they are around costs, skills development, awareness, data storage, structure or the ecosystem.
For Indian SMBs, the future of growth is on digital. To help reap value and maximize returns in this hyper-connected world, going online is a key to business growth and GoDaddy is committed to support small businesses achieve their dreams by helping them leverage the Internet for growth.