MarketCentral’s weekly stories on the small business world
What The Facebook, WhatsApp Outage Can Teach Small and Medium Indian Businesses
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What’s the News:

On October 4, 2021, Facebook, Whatsapp, and Instagram were offline for 6-24 hours. This had a huge impact on small and medium businesses in India. With a lot of small businesses relying on social media as the primary medium of sales and customer communication, this outage meant that many SMBs were suddenly facing a day of lost revenue.

Read about it here
What does this mean for Small Businesses?
  • Over 15 million users in India use Whatsapp business, and several startups use Instagram, Facebook, or Whatsapp to communicate with customers.
  • SMBs also depend on Whatsapp for chatbots, Facebook for marketplace listings, and Instagram for direct-to-customer sales.
  • The global shutdown however highlighted the problems with such a situation.
  • Dependence on these giant tech platforms, and their monopoly, has made some sellers vulnerable and reliant on them for revenue. And lost revenue in post-Covid times, even for one single day, is no small amount.
  • There are also other risks: government policies can cut users and sellers off from social media, the algorithms that drive these channels might change, and the platform might decide to demonetize the business at any time.
  • While SMBs should definitely have an online presence via social media platforms, they should try to use these platforms to add on to their online business, instead of being completely at their mercy.
The way forward
  • According to experts, the way forward is decentralization. What does this mean?
  • An SMB with a decentralized online presence will not be dependent only on big platforms like Amazon, Facebook, or Whatsapp to conduct its business.
  • Instead, SMBs should be able to diversify and manage their own websites, marketing, accounting, logistics, and payments on the internet through smaller technology providers.
  • The biggest challenge to this is of course the expenses of creating and managing such channels and their effectiveness in comparison to such large platforms as Facebook or Whatsapp.
Our Final Viewpoint

While we believe that social media is a way to bridge the gap between small businesses and customers for sure, it also should not be the only way that SMBs do online business.

At MarketCentral, our mission is to equip SMBs and MSMEs with tools that help them to do business their way. Without depending on any massive tech platform, and for zero cost, SMBs can create and maintain their online website, manage their billing, and market their products to customers. This reduces the dependence of SMBs on huge platforms where any change can result in massive loss of revenue and/or customer base. At the same time, at MarketCentral we also encourage and provide ways to integrate social media channels into your websites.

The statement is “don’t put all your eggs in one basket”, and the latest Facebook and Whatsapp outage only proves the truth of it in online business.

MarketCentral will bring you interesting business stories and Small Business news every week through ViewPoint. Let us know what you think about this article at support@marketcentral.in. For more, you can follow our social media handles below:

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E-Commerce Market in India to reach $350 Billion by 2030: What Will This Mean for SMBs?
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What’s the News:

Consulting firm RedSeer’s new reports say that the online retail market in India is set to grow from $45-50 billion to $350 billion by 2030. This will make Indian e-commerce the third-largest market in the world. Over 500-600 million Indian shoppers will go online in the next few years, leading to much more returns for online sellers. As the volume of customers from smaller Indian cities start increasing, made-in-India companies can also start expecting to compete in a vibrant market.

Read about it here
What does this mean for Small Businesses?
  • Payment Methods will Change: As India starts to move towards a digital economy, new transactional methods like UPI payments (Bhim, Google Pay), Whatsapp payments, digital currency and vouchers (e-Rupi), and payment methods like ‘Buy Now, Pay Later (BNPL)’ will replace traditional cash or card payments. This will mean that Small Businesses (SMBs) need to have access to payment portals to provide a more wholesome customer experience.
  • Personalization and Customization will Become Important: With more and more shoppers online, standing out from the competition is what will lead to success. SMBs who can provide shopper-specific products or services can expect more customer loyalty and therefore increased revenue. In the time of digitization, the ability to take custom orders and offer a more personal experience will lead to a greater brand value.
  • Fintech, Government, and Private Sectors will Offer Lending: A host of stimulus packages, credit lending, and solutions to delayed payments will become available to SMBs. This is because the success of MSMEs is also linked to increased employment, exports, and the rural economy. If SMBs and MSMEs can take advantage of the wave of digitization and make use of technology, they will also be able to modernize their businesses and create digital records. With even the RBI now accepting digital business records, MSMEs can soon get access to flexible, low-cost credit faster.
Our Final Viewpoint

Online activity for MSMEs is set to take a huge jump. MSMEs who are smart at adopting new technology will emerge as the winners in the next few years. New digital solutions can support SMBs to manage remote transactions, shipping and deliveries, and even access to financial services. Using them, small businesses will be able to benefit from new revenue streams, reduce costs, and eliminate their technological pain points.

As mass adoption of e-commerce pushes more MSMEs to adopt digitally-- why not try it at zero cost? MarketCentral’s commitment is to help small businesses get online faster and do online business better. Our no-fee digital-commerce portal is easy-to-use and can be free for a lifetime. With payment gateway integration, your own free website, and business-to-business networking, meet the increased demand for online services faster at your own pace.

MarketCentral will bring you interesting business stories and Small Business news every week through ViewPoint. Let us know what you think about this article at support@marketcentral.in. For more, you can follow our social media handles below:

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50 Lakh MSMEs Have Registered on Udayam portal. Enroll your business today.
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What’s the News:

Udyam is the Indian government’s portal for small businesses. Using the Aadhaar number, MSMEs can register their enterprises on this portal.

On 28 September 2021, the Udyam Registration portal has crossed 50 lakh registrations. With 47 lakh micro-units and 2.7 lakh small businesses, the paperless portal provides MSMEs with permanent registration numbers and a certificate post-registration.

Read about it here
Here are the advantages to registering on Udyam portal:
  • It is zero-cost, no fee, free registration.
  • Helps government to have data on the number of MSMEs, using which new beneficial policies can be structured.
  • Gives MSMEs certificates and QR codes with which information about the business can be accessed. This helps businesses become eligible for loan schemes, get interest subsidies, and benefit from tax exemptions.
  • Get government support to recover delayed payments and access to government trade portals.
  • Get discounted IPR (intellectual property rights) registration fees.
  • Get special preferences for tender allocation and other benefits within SEZs (special economic zones).
What you need to register on the Udyam portal:

You will need the business owner or the applicant’s Aadhar Card, and a PAN number. You can register one business against each PAN card.

How can you register?
  • Visit the official website to register: https://udyamregistration.gov.in/.
  • Enter the 12 digit Aadhaar of the applicant and complete verification process.
  • Provide the name of the owner as mentioned in the Aadhaar card.
  • Provide the applicant’s social category (general, SC, ST, other backward castes etc.).
  • Provide the name of the enterprise (fill the name by which you want your business to be known).
  • Select the type of organization (private, public, LLP, partnership, trust etc.).
  • Verify your PAN details.
  • Enter the location of the businesses.
  • Enter the address of the business.
  • Add the date on which the business was started.
  • Enter details of bank account of the company, including IFSC code and bank account number.
  • Select your major business activity - manufacturing, service etc.
  • Enter your total employee size.
  • Enter your GST details (you can leave this out if your business is not registered under GST).
  • Enter any amount of money you’ve invested in the business.

Finish the application process and submit the data to immediately print the Udyam Registration Certificate!

What can you do after registering on Udayam?

Now that your business is registered on Udayam portal, why not take an extra step and take it online?

With banks accepting digital transaction records, having an online business just became all the more important to MSMEs. MarketCentral can help by providing a zero-cost, no fee online business portal. Registering on MarketCentral helps businesses set up their own free website, access billing solutions and network with other businesses.

You can learn more about MarketCentral here or register in 2 easy steps here.

MarketCentral will bring you interesting business stories and Small Business news every week through ViewPoint. Let us know what you think about this article at support@marketcentral.in. For more, you can follow our social media handles below:

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3 Recent Schemes and Funds for MSMEs and What They Mean
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What’s the News:

While MSMEs are known for their resilience, in 2020 the sector took a hit due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Reviving the MSME sector and growing it to help it compete in a global market is a big deal for policy makers. This will push forward India’s goal of “self-reliance” while making sure that the country’s economy does not take any hits. As such, new programmes and schemes are coming out every month.

Let’s look at a few of the recent ones.
  1. The Production Linked Incentive (PLI):
    • The PLI scheme is a government incentive for the MSMEs in manufacturing sectors, including Electronic and Technology, Food Products, Pharmacy, Automobiles, Steel Products and White Goods.
    • By encouraging companies to establish manufacturing facilities, this scheme hopes to also create more jobs
    • The scheme is open to companies registered in India who are engaged in manufacturing
    • Through this scheme, domestic manufacturers can get incentives of 4-6% on incremental scales of their products
  2. RBI’s Account Aggregator program:
    • RBI has launched an “account aggregator” program to help MSMEs get faster access to loans by sharing their financial data digitally
    • An “account aggregator” helps a business securely and digitally access their financial information, and share this information from one financial institution to another
    • This means that MSMEs with multiple financial records in several banks can now submit an organised digital record to the RBI
    • Using simple, mobile-based and safe digital data sharing, MSMEs can share information (including digital invoices and tax returns) from banks like ICICI, Axis, HDFC etc
    • They can use RBI-approved aggregator platforms like PhonePe, Finvu, OneMoney, and CAMS Finserv for doing this.
    • This will replace long physical processes of submitting bank statements, notarisation, stamped documents etc with a much easier digital technique
    • Read about it here
  3. The ‘Ubharte Sitaare’ Fund:
    • Announced by Financial Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, this new fund has been set up Exim Bank and SIDBI
    • This fund will identify Indian enterprises which are currently underperforming but has the potential to become ‘future champions’, especially through exports
    • With an allocation of Rs. 250 crore, the fund is a mix of support through financial, technical and advisory assistance
Our Viewpoint

With all eyes on the revival of the MSME sector, schemes and incentives will keep coming. Experts agree that e-commerce, faster loans, and digitalization are the way forward for this sector. With the RBI now favoring digital financial records, and the ‘Ubharte Sitaare’ fund looking to identify businesses with global potential, this is a good chance for Indian MSMEs to turn challenges into opportunities.

MarketCentral can help MSMEs take the first step towards positive change by enabling them to go online.

MarketCentral will bring you interesting business stories and Small Business news every week through ViewPoint. Let us know what you think about this article at support@marketcentral.in. For more, you can follow our social media handles below:

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Entrepreneurship and Competition in the Time of Covid-19
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What’s the News:

The news we’ve read about Covid-19 and the economy points to downward trends, struggles and new challenges. However, now research suggests that there was also a positive in the form of new companies being created across India. Registration of new companies over the period of April to August 2021 has increased by 25.3 percent as compared to the previous year.

Read about it here
What does this mean for Small Businesses?

As more and more companies choose new business practices, the competition in the market is going to increase. Here’s how new company creation will change the competitive landscape for SMBs:

  • Digital transformation will set businesses apart: Covid-19 sped up digital adoption across India, which means that more and more new businesses are now learning how to use online tools. With lower capital investment and physical space required to start up, these companies are finding ways to reach their customers faster. This trend will make getting online necessary for all businesses if they are to survive and succeed.
  • A new, lower barrier to entry for small businesses: New public policy ideas created due to the pandemic, such as ‘Work from Home’, digital payments, e-currencies and emergency government welfare schemes, have all been helpful in speeding up new company formation. Virtual business meet-ups, online conferences, and small business webinars have helped more people access and understand the business world better. This has reduced barriers for new businesses to enter the field.
  • New customer needs will dictate which businesses succeed: With lockdowns, work-from-homes and new working models, the needs of customers have changed. On the demand-side, online purchases have risen as more customers stay at home. On the supply-side, obtaining resources can become difficult, and so entrepreneurs are forced to innovate. Many people began to move into fields previously unexplored such as fitness and wellness, crafts and hampers, home-cooked food and premixes, catering, and hobby stores. This promises an increase in new SMBs catering to new customer needs online.
Our Final Viewpoint
  • The pandemic has created challenges that can be turned into golden entrepreneurship opportunities.
  • With rising competition online, SMBs will have to modify existing business models, add new channels and grow business networks to adapt faster.
  • As small businesses undergo this transformation, MarketCentral is here to equip them with the necessary tools required. Specially created for helping small and medium businesses succeed, MarketCentral is a platform where SMBs and new companies can enter the growing online market and manage their business with ease.

MarketCentral will bring you interesting business stories and Small Business news every week through ViewPoint. Let us know what you think about this article at support@marketcentral.in. For more, you can follow our social media handles below:

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Amul, Parle Among Businesses That Has Cut Supplies to Udaan
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What’s the News:

Business-to-business e-commerce platform Udaan focuses on providing small and medium enterprises (SMEs) with honest pricing and a wide variety of products across multiple categories. But recently, some of India’s large FMCG companies like Amul and Parle have said that Udaan is monopolizing distribution. This has led to them not supplying goods directly to Udaan.

Read about it here
What does this mean for Small Businesses?

Udaan wants to simplify distribution of goods and services among small and medium businesses, wholesalers, manufacturers, traders and retailers. Now, stating that Udaan has too much control over distribution of their products to retailers, companies like Parle and Amul have stopped supplying to Udaan.

  • The concern of the FMCG companies is that Udaan is doing distribution to retailers directly. For a company like Amul, which has over 10,000 exclusive distributors, Udaan’s method of selling directly to retailers means that it competes with Amul’s own distributors. This ends up negatively impacting Amul’s distributors.
  • But for retail small enterprises associated with Udaan, these new changes might cause uncertainty in prices. This is because, in the absence of direct supply from Amul or Parle, Udaan will have to buy their goods from the open market. This will increase prices on Udaan, thereby causing challenges to the SMBs that buy from them at lower costs.
  • These SMBs will then have to turn to other wholesale distributors, where they might not receive competitive prices or ease of buying as they would with Udaan.
  • For “must-stock” items such as Parle biscuits or Amul products, such price fluctuations will put a big strain on small and medium retailers.
Our Final Viewpoint
  • While large distributors and retailers have a wider support network, smaller businesses often deal with unpredictable market conditions and pricing changes. Marketplace model e-commerce is not free from such fluctuations, as we can see in this case with Udaan. One way for small businesses to combat uncertainty is by investing in creating their own online channels.
  • By having control over buying and selling leads, reaching more customers, and expanding their own network, small businesses can make themselves shock-proof from such sudden challenges.
  • MarketCentral is also committed to equipping small businesses with these tools. Growing stably without disruptions is the need of the hour. At MarketCentral, we help businesses do exactly that.

MarketCentral will bring you interesting business stories and Small Business news every week through ViewPoint. Let us know what you think about this article at support@marketcentral.in. For more, you can follow our social media handles below:

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Covid-19 Second Wave: What Can Small and Medium Businesses (SMBs) Learn From It?
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What’s the News:

A series of lockdowns last year have made big shifts in how Indian small businesses work. The SMB sector is challenged by stress on cash flow, government regulations, and restrictions on movement. This makes it important that small businesses adapt and make changes to how they operate. Many small business entrepreneurs have been discussing transformations which can help a small business grow and sustain during this time.

Read about it here
What does this mean for Small Businesses?

As things return to normal post the second wave, many entrepreneurs will turn to the following ways to grow their business:

  • Digital Commerce Will Grow Faster: As more companies go online, they will be looking for complete online business solutions. Companies will need online websites, accounting, invoicing, digital marketing and business networking to help them succeed. This will enable SMBs to grow beyond borders and reach more customers.
  • Cloud-Tech Solutions Will Make Business Operations Simple: Cloud technology includes internet services that customers can use without purchasing physical hardware or software. Cloud-tech will help SMBs improve data security, manage shipping and payments, create better customer experiences, and run business operations without depending on multiple vendors.
  • Digital Payments Will Help with Financing: By moving to digital transactions, billing and invoicing, SMBs can create a good financial record. This will be helpful in securing funds through government welfare schemes, RBI loan programs, or micro-lending.
  • Going Online Will Bring Future Security: Being present online will reduce dependence on manual processes. Using and analyzing customer data will help businesses respond to changing demand and market trends. This will allow businesses to overcome restrictions like lockdowns.

More Channels, More Reach, More Customers, More Revenue: Having a presence both online and offline is of greater benefit as you can reach more customers anywhere.

Experience Offline, Buy Online: Your customers can see and feel the product in the offline store, while being able to buy it online later. This leads to better customer experience.

Better Brand Building: You can grow your brand and improve your brand’s name, image and loyalty by being present offline and online, wherever your customers need

Future proofing: You can take advantage of changes in the market, or unpredictable situations. During lockdown, for example, online businesses saw a sudden boom.

Our Final Viewpoint
  • As the economy revives post second-wave, businesses that utilize new technologies will gain the most benefit.
  • A good financial record is important for businesses to make the best of the government’s new digital currency, emergency welfare schemes, or e-discounting systems. Managing transactions online can help create this record and improve credit scores.
  • Digital commerce and cloud software will bring in many more new channels such as social media or e-mail marketing, thus opening up new revenue streams for SMBs.

MSME entrepreneurs are choosing digital commerce to create a more secure future. Are you?

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Amazon is Opening Physical Stores. What Does it Mean for Small Businesses?
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What’s the News:

The business world has been talking about Amazon opening supermarket-style stores. The online giant has tried offline sales before: its Amazon Go model had small, semi-automated shops, and it had also opened stores for Books and devices such as Kindle. However, this is the first time that Amazon is launching large department stores.

We read the news here:
What does this mean for Small Businesses?

Even Amazon, which had a huge increase in shoppers during the COVID-19 lockdowns, is expanding its model offline. Amazon is not the only online company to try this. Furniture stores like Pepperfry, makeup website Nykaa, and even food website Freshmenu are all trying offline stores.

Why should you also go for more than one channel?

More Channels, More Reach, More Customers, More Revenue: Having a presence both online and offline is of greater benefit as you can reach more customers anywhere.

Experience Offline, Buy Online: Your customers can see and feel the product in the offline store, while being able to buy it online later. This leads to better customer experience.

Better Brand Building: You can grow your brand and improve your brand’s name, image and loyalty by being present offline and online, wherever your customers need

Future proofing: You can take advantage of changes in the market, or unpredictable situations. During lockdown, for example, online businesses saw a sudden boom.

Our Final Viewpoint
  • The trend of online businesses opening offline stores, or offline businesses coming online will continue. This is because businesses are realizing that customers prefer to shop in a mixed way.
  • For example, a customer might first see a product online, try it offline, purchase it online, and then sometimes return or repair it offline. Therefore, being on both channels is important.
  • Companies need to keep pace with customers by being where they shop: offline, online, on Instagram, Facebook or even Whatsapp. The ability to change and adapt is key to building a business that can grow in all situations.

Amazon’s decision to open offline retail means they’re not ready to lose a single possible customer, both online and offline.

How about you?

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