Mukul Goyal, Co-Founder, Stratefix Consulting

An engineer by academic qualification, Mukul established Stratefix Consulting to help MSMEs to grow. Mukul is a young entrepreneur who has helped a variety of organizations to optimize their sales, systems, processes, HR, and market research functions to increase revenues, scale their businesses, and reduce costs. Alongwith his co-founder Chirag Patel, Stratefix Consulting has helped transform operations for a multitude of companies in FMCG, Jewelry, Manufacturing, Service-based businesses, Chemicals, etc. As a management consultant, he has developed skills to acquire, deliver, and retain clients in startups to mid-sized companies with over 50 million dollars in revenue. The distinctive approach of Stratefix is not just strategy, but also execution of the entire plan – and this makes it unique. Stratefix is also exclusively focused on the MSME market. Stratefix leads the management consulting industry in India’s Tier 2 & 3 cities with a team of over 20 consultants. Mukul is a post-graduate from Tata Institute of Social Sciences and a Lean Six Sigma certified professional.

 

Over the last five decades, the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME) sector, also known as the “Engine of Growth,” has emerged as a highly vibrant and dynamic segment of the Indian economy. In India, it contributes significantly to the country’s economic and social development by encouraging entrepreneurship and creating vast employment opportunities at a lower capital cost, second only to agriculture. According to MSME Ministry data released on May 16, 2021, India has approximately 6.3crores MSMEs, which contribute around 29 percent of the country’s GDP through national and international trade. This industry accounts for nearly half of the country’s exports.

MSMEs serve as ancillary units to large industries, and this sector contributes significantly to the country’s inclusive industrial development. MSMEs are growing their sphere across sectors of the economy, creating a diverse range of products and services to fulfill domestic and global market demands.

Despite the fact that the pandemic caused unprecedented disruptions in businesses and supply chains, the MSME sector suffered the most. MSMEs face three critical barriers: market access, overall productivity, and access to more funds. Approximately 41% of MSMEs and startups reported that they are either out of funds or have less than one month’s funds. According to some studies and surveys, a lockdown in 2021 resulted in an average 11 percent drop in business volume for Indian MSMEs, compared to a 46 percent drop during a nationwide lockdown in 2020. One key to consumer startups and MSMEs surviving the two COVID waves has been their ability to digitize themselves and start serving existing customers digitally whereas finding newer ones to serve.

The pandemic has pushed this industry to adopt new technologies and innovate in order to grow and survive. Dun & Bradstreet surveyed 250 small business owners in the final quarter of 2020 to learn about the impact of COVID-19 on their operations. 54 percent of respondents said they were able to reduce operational costs by digitizing daily activities, and 51 percent said that adopting new technologies/digitization improved their competitive strategy. The introduction of competitive services, involvement of multiple stakeholders, multichannel distribution models and multimodal requirements have made it important for the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises to have better visibility of their operations, while tracking the quality and delivery of goods, to pass up any hiccups.

The Indian government has pushed digitization among MSMEs, launching the Digital MSME Scheme in 2017 with the goal of educating MSMEs on how to overcome obstacles through the use of a digital platform. MSMEs are now using social media platforms to grow their businesses as a result of digitization. They are progressively using social media platforms such as Facebook and LinkedIn to engage with customers, build brand awareness, and acquire new customers. Almost all MSMEs are now utilizing digital technology to sustain the current crisis, and the pandemic-forced digital transformation is certain to last forever and improve the way MSMEs do business.

With the Covid pandemic eventually losing its toll, the economy of the world is undergoing a rebirth. With India on the verge of a digital breakthrough, Industry 4.0 has made inroads across sectors, boosting the digitization process by nearly a decade. This digital transformation has been seamless for MSMEs as it does not necessitate a large financial investment because most digital tools and technology needed for this modification, such as social media platforms, are highly cheap or free.

Tech behemoths like Amazon and Flipkart are also uplifting MSMEs with their technological offerings, for example – Amazon launched ‘Digital Kendras’ in July 2021 to support MSME business owners and try providing them knowledge on the benefits of digitizing their operations, and as of April 2021, they had digitized 2.5 million SMEs in India. Dell commonly addresses MSME challenges and provides support to the industry through its technology experts. Other multinational corporations (MNCs) such as Walmart, Google, and Flipkart have however joined the initiative to empower the MSME community.

Endurance International Group, an IT services company, conducted a survey in 2020 and discovered that 30% of MSMEs have launched their business websites or teamed up with e-commerce platforms, and >50% of MSMEs have implemented video conferencing methods to make sure smooth continuity of operations since the pandemic-induced instabilities. MSME is one of the most important sectors in the Indian economy, accounting for 48% of annual exports, 30% of GDP, and being a major employer. According to the 73rd Round of the National Sample Survey (2015-16), the MSME sector provided approximately 11.10crore jobs, with 3.6 crores in manufacturing, 3.9 crores in trade, and 3.7crores in other services.

Tech-based solutions have enormous potential to improve MSME businesses. According to a study in 2020 by Cisco India SMB Digital Maturity, SMEs will contribute US$ 158–216 billion to India’s GDP by 2024. Interestingly, India’s technology start-up ecosystem is also fueled by satisfactory government policy, a fast and ever-growing consumer base, and rising technology skills and expertise among the educated young population, with the goal to revolutionize the entire business system. There are approximately 7,000 technology start-ups in India, and their numbers are increasing year after year (by 35-40 percent). The adoption of tech-based solutions is estimated to boost MSME outreach to a larger customer base that can only be reached with the help of digital marketing and AI solutions.

 

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