Leveraging Technology To Reset, Revive And Recover To The New Normal
Grow Your Business, Not Your Inbox
You're reading Entrepreneur India, an international franchise of Entrepreneur Media.
Small and mid-sized businesses (SMBs) are the primary source of jobs and innovation. There's no question that digital transformation has become a bigger priority for SMBs during COVID-19. While some businesses buckled under pressure, some have leaned on technology to find solutions to the new challenges the pandemic has presented. In fact, one study from SMB Group in September 2020 reported, “SMBs that have accelerated technology adoption and investments are 42 per cent more likely to have increased their revenues since March than SMBs that decelerated in this area.”
While all businesses have been affected in some way by COVID-19, arguably no segment has been challenged as hard as SMBs. Many SMBs have been forced to close permanently due to restrictions and evaporating demand. The ones that are still alive have undergone a tumultuous change in how they need to do business, and this new way of working is likely here to stay even as the COVID-19 curve slides down.
Digital contactless payments are here to stay. Small businesses, kiranas, and merchants have learned the importance of digitizing their business, transacting digitally, and enabling online shopping amidst the pandemic-induced lockdown.
The widespread shift to remote work has also necessitated technologies that are easily adaptable and can be accessed from anywhere. COVID-19 has made them more likely to select a cloud solution when considering new app investments. This is largely because cloud technologies are more flexible and can adjust to meet any of the business's needs. If this pandemic has proven anything to SMBs, it's that a business's agility is a deciding factor in whether or not it can stay afloat.
Particularly for small businesses with lean budgets, the emphasis on cloud-based technology has a direct relationship with the growing market of managed service providers (MSPs). Cloud services like cybersecurity, infrastructure, and disaster recovery allow businesses to experience the productivity and performance of cloud technology without an advanced degree of technical knowledge in-house. When a business is able to outsource their IT needs to a third party, it also allows them to reprioritize their time and money to support other goals — like pivoting during a global pandemic. This is largely why MSPs that deliver cloud services are expected to account for 17 per cent of SMB IT spend by 2025, according to a report by Analysys Mason. MSPs make it easier for small businesses with lean teams and small budgets to manage IT operations.
As FloBiz founder and chief executive officer Rahul Raj with his co-founders Aditya Naik and Rakesh Yadav, fundamentally believe that technology will play the most crucial role in redesigning the world for the better.
Raj told Entrepreneur India, the philosophy that he follows at the company and shared, “We are building FloBiz with a very clear mission of accelerating the growth of SMBs through digitization. SMBs form the backbone of our economy as is evident from their 40 per cent contribution to GDP and 45 per cent to the export-import volume. They need the support and ecosystem for digitization-which is exactly what we are building at FloBiz.”
The Bengaluru-based serial entrepreneur firmly believes that technology has played an important part in expanding the establishment as everything they do, revolves around making use of or developing new technologies. Digital transformation and digital inclusion go hand-in-hand. To push for widespread adoption of technology, it needs to be crafted to a purpose. You write code to be able to do things in a simpler, easier or better fashion. With this in mind, they design all their products, tools and services to ensure that they do well what they are supposed to while never compromising on the experience. They come from an expertise in building robust scalable systems and the way they have designed the architecture for their products enables them to gain deep user insights, predict the health of their SMB customers, and leverage such information to serve the target audience very efficiently.
“There are two large impact areas that we are aiming to achieve with FloBiz. First, we want to take business operations fully digital & completely paperless. That alone will have a huge environmental impact. Second, SMBs are run by ambitious entrepreneurs who assume risks while supporting families - if our solutions can help in the growth of their enterprises, we will be able to touch many lives and contribute to their upliftment,” he commented.
About 80 per cent of Indian SMBs still operate on pen and paper, which means they are now beginning to take their first steps towards digitization. In making this a reality, Raj said that his team has tirelessly worked through several iterations of multiple product screens just to provide a familiar and comfortable experience for first-time users.
“We are also doing a lot of things on the awareness and education front. We’re partnering with agencies to provide live, in-person demos for the product; working with trade bodies and associations to reiterate the importance of going digital for SMBs; we run a 24x7 vernacular customer support function to troubleshoot for all our users in near real-time,” the FloBiz founder evidently shared.
As of today, the company has more than 3.5 million SMBs using its flagship product myBillBook - a GST billing and accounting application built from the business owner’s perspective. These SMBs record more than $9 billion worth of trades on the platform annually.
FloBiz has said to have recently raised $10 million as a part of its Series A funding round led by Elevation Capital while in the Seed stage round, the company raised $3 million in 2019.
“We plan to introduce 5-10 more vernacular languages in the next 3-6 months. Along with this, there is some really exciting stuff under development right now which will expand our market potential and reach, enabling the next trigger of growth for our business. We also began monetizing myBillBook through annual subscription plans and will continue to find more ways to deliver value to our SMB customers,” he further added.