The Overall Web & Cloud Strategy for an Indian SME
This post is meant for small & medium scale businesses who are planning to take their company online. And also for those who have an online presence of their company but are not able to take the maximum benefits of Internet. It can also be a guide for small businesses who want to shift operations to cloud and start taking the benefits of Cloud Platforms. It is a guide for SMEs & MSMEs to reduce cost on internet marketing.
If you have any more points or better options, reply in comment.
- Do you have a company domain? www.your-company.com? If no, you can buy a domain on Godaddy for Rs 600. Or you can get it free for one year on Zoho.
- If you don’t have a custom email id, get one. You can get it for free. How? If you have a domain registered on godaddy or any other provider, go to zoho and create an account. Follow the steps, you can get upto 25 emails free. If you dont have a domain, directly go to zoho and get a domain and 25 emails in the easiest way.
- Whether or not you have a website, make a company profile on CoreLogs. They provide free, good looking company profile and are presently the biggest aggregator (Community) of small & medium scale Businesses.
- Register your company on Google Business. This authorizes your business on google and helps increase search ranking and directs customers to you directly. It’s Free again.
- If you want to Increase presence on Internet, and you plan to write blogs, you can write it on CoreLogs. Or You can go to Medium.com. On CoreLogs, it integrates with your Company Profile. Apart from that, there are tons of other options.
Now that you have solved the basic issues, You can move on to bigger issues.
- You might be planning to start using CRM for helping multiple people in your team to collaborate on sales, you should have a look at zoho CRM. If you are not planning to spend money on it, keep using CoreLogs. They provide multiple people in a team to collaborate on cloud and manage inquiries, leads, quotations etc. If your team is bigger, you should do a deeper research to find out the best ways.
- Join the Business Community on CoreLogs. It’s a community of SMEs where businesses share their requirements in a transparent way. You will get business opprotunities for sure if you sell products or services to other businesses.
- You are worried about taxation, (Now GST return filing) and legal things like trademark etc, visit Cleartax. It won’t be free but you will get a peek inside. For GST filing, Zoho has also launched a platform. Legalrasta & Vakilsearch might also help.
Now you are done with these services too. You might be planning to promote your company on internet and bring in more customers. If you are a local business catering to end users, you don’t have much option until you are big.
- To promote a product among a wide range of users, or in a particular city/ state or so, you can try Facebook adverts. The cost is low and they give you detailed results.
- If your target is to make people in other businesses (your target segment & city/state) aware of your products, try CoreLogs advert engine for SMEs.
- For Selling Products directly on Internet, SMEs can use Amazon’s seller program, Shopify etc. For better insight into this, read https://www.quora.com/What-are-the-top-5-marketplaces-to-sell-handmade-items-in-India
Coming to the cloud services, we have already talked about zoho cloud CRM. But there are so many other free or pay as you go services for SMEs that can take off all your burden whether be it data security, managing things from around the globe, data backups etc.
- If you are using excel, powerpoint & word from Microsoft and you face issues when multiple people need to work on it simultaneously, you can try shifting to Google docs, sheels & slides. They are free to use for basic purpose.
- If you are concerned about data backups, you can try google cloud & Dropbox. Both of them are free upto certain extent.
- For Project Management, you can use Asana App. It is free for 10 users or so and gives much freedom & may act as a CRM platform.
- Slack is also widely appreciated as a real time messaging and communication tool.
For Tech companies, in IT and Software field it’s an altogether different game. They have AWS from Amazon, Azure from Microsoft, Google CLoud from Google. They can have their server, database and entire development setup on cloud. But this post is not meant for them as it is only introductory and meant for the small Businesses who are not using Cloud.
Now, Although not exactly cloud, but a web based lending segment needs special mention for the good of SMEs. If you do not already know about LendingKart, BankBazaar, Biz2Credit, CapitalFloat, just read about them and add few more options to your Capital raising Plans.
In Conclusion, I would say that it is but the tip of the Iceberg. Embrace the internet, embrace the cloud and you can find a goldmine for yor Business. I think SMEs should really learn from Startups, how they start with little capital, apply growth hacks, try being as lean as possible and yet some of them reach so many customers. They are continuously looking for the big break and never let an opprtunity go. They use cloud based free services to get the best of the little resources they have and eventually some of them change the world. SMEs can also do the same. Just remember, Coca-Cola sold an average of only 9 glasses a day in their first year.