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Till a few years back, the lure of a high-paying corporate job was far too much to jump into the murky entrepreneurship territory.
Being in business meant risks, huge investments and the ability to sustain losses for a long time. This scared even the enterprising lot to stick to the safety net of the MNCs that guaranteed a "settled" life complete with an enviable pay package and the essential ingredients of a good life
This widespread attitude, however, changed with success stories of start-ups fast making headlines over the last five years or so. Encouraged by the subsequent rewards, the fearless, young entrepreneur decided that it wasn't such a bad idea to launch his dream venture after all.
Yes, the territory is still rife with challenges, but there is also support from the current government's many initiatives, a breed of venture capitalists and the power of technology that are making it far more lucrative and safe. Today, India is at the threshold of a start-up boom that's likely to disrupt sectors across the spectrum.
Let's explore the many factors that have egged the entrepreneur to drop the inhibitions and take the plunge.
Even before the government woke up to the latent power that's vested in the forward-looking and innovative entrepreneur, the clan had discovered a way to maximise its ROIs by tapping into the e-commerce space.
The young generation's hectic life and their constant yearning for "convenience" simultaneously created the necessary customer support to keep an e-commerce platform going.
Increasing internet penetration and rapid adoption of smartphones furthered the cause. In short, there hasn't been a better time to operate in the digital space.
The reasons that have boosted the growth and opened up a whole new world of opportunities for the new-age e-commerce retailer/entrepreneur are far too many. For one, the cost of a brick-and-mortar set-up, complete with an attractive window display is no longer a prerequisite.
This takes away a major chunk of the initial investment costs. It also means that by taking the product/service online, the businessman can reach out to a wider audience that's not restricted by geography. Then, there's the understanding that it cuts labour and inventory-related costs by relying on a web-based inventory management system that effectively automates the process.
It also does away with the restrictions on the open-and-close store timing. By being at the customer's service 24*7, an e-commerce venture has a higher chance of being preferred over an offline store that might either be too far or shut at a time the customer wishes to make a purchase.
Finally, if the user is happy, there are chances of free advertising too - reviews, ratings, likes and shares on social media platforms have the power to attract a whole lot of new customers and lead to higher sales.
A lot of bootstrapped ventures are also building up from a solid foundation by making customer care their main operating principle. Entrepreneurs who come armed with the belief that customer satisfaction is the key are usually the ones to bulldoze competition and carve a niche in the e-commerce space.
This has been a turnaround success mantra that's encouraged a lot of aspiring entrepreneurs to work backwards from enhanced customer service to a user-friendly interface. In this sense, technology and customer support have to work together, in unison, if a budding entrepreneur wishes to succeed.
This apart, an entrepreneur who carefully plans the big launch and is hands-on with the social media aspect is more likely to make a tangible impact.
With the help of a robust analytics team, this equation is complete. Of course, the digital space is evolving rapidly and is constantly throwing up challenges that require expert troubleshooting, but in today's day and age, an online presence is a necessary evil. The journey has indeed reached a point where it might not even be a matter of choice - but that of necessity.
To make sure that SMEs and new entrepreneurs continue to grow, impetus from the government's recent "Start-up India, Stand Up" India campaign will indeed play a big part in the future.
The availability of credit, easy exit options, tax relaxation, financing opportunities, hassle-free patents and easy registration are some steps that are bound to create a more reliable framework for new entrepreneurs to function in. This ease of doing business will make sure that start-ups and SMEs continue to be the propelling engines of our business economy.