This Company Has All You Need As an SMB Owner Savage & Palmer has worked with over 1,000 SMBs across India and has helped them with their accounting and taxation requirements

By Shishir Jajoo

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Savage & Palmer

Small and medium business (SMB) enablement has become a huge theme in the startup narrative over the last few years: companies are getting funded to provide capital and technology tools to this segment of the market. In short, everyone is after the pot at the end of the SMB rainbow in India.

Although capital and technology tools are massive requirements for SMBs, innovation in this space needs to move beyond these fields. SMBs are one of the largest employers in India but often struggle to deploy people, processes and technology seamlessly across their departments to scale up and become large organizations.

That's where Savage & Palmer has come in, the company boasts of having worked with over 1,000 SMBs across India and has helped them with their accounting and taxation requirements. The company has since expanded to set up multiple lines of business and has become a one stop shop for SMBs and Startups across India.

Savage & Palmer was started in 2017 when childhood friends Rehan Netarwala and Mihir Lunia were attending school at the Indian School of Business. The duo began working on their ideas for a services company to help small businesses get large. All SMBs businesses across the world have the same problem, says Pinkesh Avlani, CEO of Savage & Palmer, "They need to grow sales, bring down costs, improve cash flow and bring in great talent."

Savage & Palmer has now set up verticals across digital marketing, accounting and tax, debt collection, payroll automation and recruitment to plug for each gap. With respect to competition they differentiate themselves for the customer on customer obsession and efficient communication, and internally through the use of technology, their robust hiring and training, it comes from doing all the little things well together simultaneously across all touchpoints that a customer experiences. Savage & Palmer is one of the few services companies that offers dedicated onboarding and quality control teams for SMB clients as well.

The team spots a massive gap for high quality affordable services for SMBs in the range of a monthly spend of INR 10,000-2,00,000 a month across all service lines and is looking to take their active customer count to more than 3,000 businesses in India.

Like most companies, the pandemic was a roller coaster for the company as they saw over 50 per cent loss in business in the span of one week; the company has since recovered well and is back to pre-pandemic levels of revenue. Hooshang Bakht, head of growth at Savage & Palmer, says, "We were primarily just an accounting company but the pandemic brought on a huge change where we had lots of requests from existing customers to help them sell online and improve their cash flow by improving their collections. Our post pandemic recovery has been fuelled by growth across all verticals which has been encouraging."

When talking about the future, founder Rehan Netarwala, says, "We will look at exporting our service, there is a lot of focus on building products from India for the world, we think there is an opportunity to do that with services for SMBs as well. The company views automation through machine learning and artificial intelligence as a friend and an opportunity to edit the service to be able to bring down costs for customers and even increase their gross margins.

Savage & Palmer currently works with companies such as Mcaffiene, Leap Club, OCS, LEK, The Whole Truth, 99 Pancakes, Flamboyante, Snackible, Pilgrim, Goqii, Malabar Hill Club, Old Bridge Capital, Payal Singhal, Arpita Mehtal and Deliciae, and are actively scaling up their practice.

The debt collection service is being used by a lot of companies to improve their cash flow in the pandemic.

Through the course of helping new startups, funded companies and large corporations, the Savage & Palmer team realised that there was one common issue that would cause a lot of financial challenges to each company and that was lack of a positive cash flow due to the fact that their clients are not paying them on time. Ideally asking for money or payments are considered taboo in our culture and this affects the longevity of each business because they don't have the funds to scale operations. That's when the team at Savage & Palmer realized that they need to create a one of a kind service where we just focus on improving cash flow by collecting money for SMEs from their clients and helping them with great insights to actually allow them to plan their expenses.

As an entrepreneur, one has limited time to follow up with debtors. More than 90 per cent of debtors delay payments that affect your working capital and at the end your capability to scale. In most cases promoters don't even know what is outstanding and what needs to be collected and more often than not they turn into bad debts. With a strong team in place you can easily reverse that entire experience and within a matter of months create positive cashflow.

"Infact within six months we have successfully helped more than 100 SMEs collect more and turn from a cash flow negative company to a cash flow positive one and they have never been happier!" cites Hooshang Bakht, the head of sales and marketing.

Whilst the pandemic was changing the entire landscape of the way businesses function and operate we were wondering how we could help those businesses grow. There was a massive shift where customers that would ideally transact offline, started transacting online. This created a situation where traditional SMEs had to focus on moving online from their existing set up and getting sales.

Within the pandemic the team started focusing on building out a whole new marketing vertical. One that focused purely on taking businesses online and bringing in revenue for them.

Our aim is extremely straightforward; we want to help entrepreneurs, startups, SMEs and larger organizations achieve their revenue goals by building their online presence.

In this digital era, brands need to have a digital presence to stay relevant and ahead of the competition. Managing your own in-house team or working with other agencies becomes a tasking operation for most promoters and often leads to unnecessary expenses.

With the advantage of managing both back end and your front end activities the end goal is to become an all-round team that integrates so well into each department that it becomes easier for new founders to manage day to day activities without worrying about what's happening at the back as well as not having to worry about executing all front end brand awareness activities.

The company says its motto is to enable entrepreneurs, one entrepreneur at a time.

"And now, every entrepreneur can constantly have a team that is supporting them and looking out for them throughout their journey," says Bakht.

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