Small and Medium Businesses (SMBs) make up the backbone of an economy. In India, the SMB sector is considered a crucial sector given its ability to provide jobs. And this sector was one of the worst-hit sectors during the Covid-19 pandemic. With the pandemic and the subsequent lockdowns, SMBs seized the day and set out to adapt to digital technology to survive.

Many SMEs have survived and thrived by partnering with digital service providers particularly to enhance their Sales, Customer Support, and Marketing capabilities. However, we also see that many small and medium businesses are hesitant to take the leap. ‘Going digital’ is a huge step for a business, and it is especially hard when there are several myths surrounding digital transformation. So, we thought we will debunk the myths to provide a clear picture - to pave the way for more businesses to embrace digital and succeed.

  • Digital is Costly

As a small or medium business owner, you would be running your business on a tight budget. So, you are most likely thinking that digital transformation will only strain your already squeezed budgets. However, it is important to see digital transformation as an investment and not an expense. Through digital marketing, your business will be able to get more exposure and reach more customers and result in increased sales for your business. There are a wide variety of wallet-friendly options to chose from, depending on your requirements and budgets. The Indian SaaS (software as a service) sector is booming with hundreds of companies of varying sizes conjuring up solutions to SMB problems This competition is only good news for an SMB - there is a lot to choose from!

  • Too Small for Digital

There is this pervasive fear among small businesses that they would become a small blip in the overall digital landscape. However, this fear is baseless. No organization is too small for Digital with a wide variety of choices. Every business is as unique as its challenges are similar. Digital tools and technologies can find fitment with any size of business. Solutions have been created for commonly experienced challenges such as lead management, conversation management, customer support, ticket management, marketing automation, etc. 'What that was affordable to a few is now available to all'. CRM and similar software were initially built for large companies with complex processes. However, as small and medium businesses mature in their lifecycle, they find the need for such tools to grow revenues, improve efficiencies, and reduce costs. Size then ceases to matter - what matters is the relevance for how technology can help scale the business to the next level.

  • I’ll Lose my Customers

People who have developed a small or medium business from scratch are extremely considerate of their customer base. Hence, they might feel that moving away from their traditional sales and marketing activities will alienate their customers. But, they fail to realize that most of their customers have a significant digital presence. Consumers typically make use of emerging technologies to enhance their quality of life or to simplify their work. Or in the case of an environment caused by the Covid-19 pandemic where consumers took to digital like never before. Now what they start loving becomes a habit! Hence, ‘going digital’ is not a move that will alienate their customers. Instead, it will make your business more accessible to customers. And then, in the interconnected world, businesses are the ones that will benefit the most from a digital presence.

  • Digital Transformation is Instant

In the current era, we tend to think that all changes are instant. Although SMEs can gain a digital presence instantly, it is important for SMEs to understand that a good digital strategy takes time to develop. SMEs should understand that they might not get the desired results immediately. Hence, it is important for SMEs to have patience when they go digital. In short, SMEs should consider digital transformation as not an instant miracle, but a gradual investment. However, SMEs can look to partner with reputed digital service providers to speed up the process as they will have immense expertise in the field.

  • Creating a Site/App is Enough

For many SMEs, digital transformation could mean developing a site or an app. While creating a site and/or an app is an important step, it is not the ultimate goal of digital transformation. SMBs must quickly appreciate the power of technology to make magic in their business. As science fiction writer Arthur C. Clarke once said: “Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic". It is time to leverage the magic-like technologies so widely available now. The power of smartphones combined with Analytics and then AI is not something of the future - it is happening right here. For an SMB, deploying tools for tracking their marketing, sales, and support could be equally fascinating - in how it can improve results. Technology is the greatest leveller - so when they build the moat around their business using tech, they automatically have an edge over their competitors.

  • It is Not Urgent

Small or medium business owners prioritize short-term performance over long-term performance. Since digital transformation provides gradual, wide-ranging benefits, SMBs may postpone their efforts to go digital. However, SMEs fail to recognize that this delay will prove expensive as they will fall behind their competitors - and alienate customers. In an era where a growing number of firms have started to ‘go digital’, postponing digital transformation can be a heavy blow. We are living in a golden age where data, tech, storage, processing, and device costs are the lowest while tech companies the world over are creating new products and solutions to solve business challenges, or leverage opportunity better. The time to go digital is NOW.

The pandemic has taught businesses the power of having a digital presence. In this article, we looked at some of the myths that might have limited SMEs from ‘going digital.’ This article was created to provide guidance to SMEs and help them understand the inherent benefits of digital integration. How are you managing this transition to digital? What have you done differently to make a difference to your business using digital over the past year? Share with us your experiences and learnings.