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Can Sustaining A Small Business Be More Daunting Than Sustaining A Start-Up? It is nurtured by young achievers with a zeal to excel and the confidence to take on any challenge head on.

By Sunil Gupta

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The term "Start-up' usually brings to mind a eureka moment, a vision followed up by a zest to step into the unexplored vistas. It is nurtured by young achievers with a zeal to excel and the confidence to take on any challenge head on.

The ambitious journey of building a start-up from the scratch and watching it grow successfully is a vision harboured by many promising entrepreneurs. Thus, there is no denying of the fact that such thoughtful leaders are all set to bring about the change that most only talk about.

The immense potential available within this space has paved the way for some valuable contributions. Initiatives like "Startup India' that support this ambition & determination and also foster innovation, has been launched by the Government of India appreciating these entrepreneurs.

Similarly, several prominent stakeholders from India and overseas have begun to invest heavily in hopeful ventures, allowing such enterprises to scale up their businesses manifold within a short span. So, a large number of people have jumped on the bandwagon and are willing to experiment but there is no denying that, on an average, nine of 10 bite the dust in little time because they chose to jumpstart on an idea without an effective backup of experience and even before understanding the real nitty-gritty.

Meanwhile, many growth drivers have turned to channelize their energies on the Indian Small and Medium sized Enterprise (SME) sector and are taking necessary measures to alleviate challenges that are hindering its growth.

Challenges Faced By Indian SME Sector, How Can The Government Help?

The Indian SME sector has evolved over the years, thanks to the rising awareness about the hard work of small business owners and efforts made to help such enterprises. However, various proposals are at a nascent stage and it still has a long way to go in terms of matching the support that is being enjoyed by the start-ups.

Following are some of the biggest challenges faced by Indian SMEs.

  • Lack Of Proper Infrastructure

The Indian SME sector is largely unorganized owing to substantial number of small enterprises that are still technologically and financially challenged. Lack of basic facilities, infrastructure, and marketing tools make it really difficult for most small & medium businesses to survive or compete with relatively strong players in the market. Some even burn out or fail to sustain their venture and are eventually forced to shut doors. Thus, the need of the hour is to introduce initiatives that can help such companies flourish.

  • Difficulty In Acquiring Adequate Funding Or Credit Instruments

While most entrepreneurs have the opportunity to pitch their ideas to potential investors with an objective to secure funding for their new start-ups, the same cannot be said for Indian SMEs. Small businesses in India tend to have a more difficult time in accessing loans from either banking institutions or Non Banking Financial Companies (NBFCs) due to the inherent doubts about their chances of success. Some banks that do offer loans to SMEs involve tedious paperwork, leading many small business owners to run from pillar to post to submit the right documents, and in the process, they lose valuable time and effort. In order to improve the situation, the Government of India should make it easier for small business owners to access loans to sustain their ventures.

  • Helping Small Businesses Gain Sustainability Is A Good Thing

It is now a known fact that the growth of Indian SME sector can also lead to the country's overall economic growth, as the segment contributes up to eight per cent to the country's GDP, constitutes 45 per cent of the manufacturing output, and 40 per cent of the exports. It comprises more than 51.1 million units and is responsible for creating employment opportunities for over 120 million people across the country.

The traditional set-ups come with loads of experience in their specific domains and their entrepreneurial efforts are akin to sizeable success. Therefore, it is evident that sustaining small businesses is absolutely essential for the growth of Indian economy and they should be provided equal opportunities as start-ups to gain stability.

Of late, the Government of India has made some efforts to improve the overall SME sector in the country. Some private players who understand the requirements of such businesses have also stepped in to provide requisite support to the SMEs.

Certain B2B platforms have also come up with SME-centric solutions that allow sellers & buyers to interact and provide paid services to facilitate better placement, exposure or response. SMEs can now connect with manufacturers, exporters, suppliers and buyers to generate value from unlimited online trade opportunities & buyer enquiries. Such platforms understand the fact that SME owners work hard to sustain in the ever-growing competitive arena. So they are constantly equipping the latter to stay on top and in the process learning the fundamentals of various advancements that have catastrophically changed the way business is done.

Considering these facts, it can be stated that in the current scenario sustaining small businesses has certainly become more daunting than supporting a start-up. It is the need of the hour to provide such enterprises with opportunities that can help the latter gain strong foothold, ensuring a favorable impact on our economy.

Sunil Gupta

Founder & Director, ExportersIndia.com

Sunil Gupta is the Founder & Director of ExportersIndia.com.

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