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Indian SMEs Can Save Themselves From Getting Offline-zoned, Here's How? The 2017 Google-KPMG Study revealed that digitally-engaged SMEs grow twice in comparison to those offline

By Komal Nathani

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

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In quest of opportunities in the boundless space of digital arena where every business entity is striving hard to make its digital presence strong, are Indian Small and Medium Businesses (SMBs) lagging behind in the race?

The MSME sector has driven its growth for years through its unaltered traditional ways, as it hardly welcomes any change.

2016 brought many fruitful opportunities for SMBs to grow digitally. But, the sector showed its reluctance to adopt new business strategies.

The beginning of 2017 saw SMEs slowly making a move towards digitization.

The shift of the government of India's focus from start-ups to SMEs to provide them financial and technical support coupled by top-notch companies offering SMEs a platform to go digital marked a new episode.

Digitally-engaged SMEs to Grow Twice than Offline SMEs

With more and more consumers going online, especially on mobile, isn't it the right time that Indian SMBs expand their frontiers and look beyond the conventional rules of doing business?

The 2017 Google-KPMG Study revealed that digitally-engaged SMEs grow twice in comparison to those offline. Indian online SMBs can make profit up to two times faster than their offline counterparts, spread across the country and employ up to five times more people compared to those offline.

The report also classified that 350 million internet users increasingly discover, engage and transact with businesses online.

Top-notch Companies Giving SMEs a Platform

To empower small and medium businesses, Google India launched a range of programs and products in May in the Chandigarh region. These will help the SMBs to leverage the power of internet and technology and become successful.

Indian telecom giant Bharti Airtel's enterprise solutions vertical Airtel Business is now providing internet plans to companies, without any data caps, via its newly launched digital platform. The move on Airtel's part is taken to aid the development of SMBs.

Also recently, Singapore-based telco Singtel and DBS bank campaigned together to further help small businesses digitize their operations and explore e-commerce options.

Both the companies were targeting to list 5,000 SMBs on the 99% SME website, which was part of an annual campaign, launched in 2015, to help such businesses expand their outreach.

Digital Adoption Extremely Low

Despite significant dividends, digital adoption by Indian SMBs is extremely low. The report shows that a staggering 68 per cent of SMBs in India are completely offline while only 2 per cent are digitally-engaged.

Isn't it high-time that SMBs should come out of their comfort-zone as the figures are suggesting a slowdown and it may become a reality if SMBs don't take concrete steps to counter it.

Komal Nathani

Former Correspondent, Entrepreneur Asia Pacific

A firm believer of hard work and patience. Love to cover stories that hold a potential to change the momentum of business world. Currently, a part of all-women web team of Entrepreneur’s Asia Pacific edition to jig the wheel of business journalism!

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