In a candid interview with Nikhil Arora, Vice President and Managing Director, GoDaddy India, SMEStreet examined some of the interesting insights which are influencing the uptake of digital among SMEs of India.
Faiz Askari: How is the SME sector shaping up in India and what are some of the key trends that you have observed?
Nikhil Arora: The Indian SMB sector, as we know today, has fundamentally reached a new stage of its development. With the government’s rigorous push towards promoting the internet adoption in the country through its initiatives like Digital India, there has been an increased awareness about digitization as well as benefits of building an online identity among the small business owners and entrepreneurs. In fact, over these years, we have seen small business owners and entrepreneurs being more forthcoming towards building a professional website to establish their brand identity online. As per cent GoDaddy research – Global Entrepreneurship Survey, about 51% of the Indian businesses surveyed already have a website or plan to build one soon.
In addition to an increased inclination towards building an online identity for the business, some other trends we are noticing among Indian SMBs include availability of content and products or services online in regional languages, more business growth optimism in the next 3 to 5 years and greater reliance on technology to expand audience base and become more cost-effective.
How do you think the new solution – Online Starter Bundle will aid the growth of small businesses especially in Tier 2 and 3 markets?
With rapid proliferation of the internet and increased mobile penetration, small business owners, entrepreneurs and young Indians have become more aware of the power of being online. According to a recent report by Kantar IMRB, India’s internet users are expected to reach 627 million by the end of 2019, driven largely by growth from the rural areas. We expect that the next phase of economic growth in India will be powered by entrepreneurs and small business in Tier 2 & 3 towns of the country.
We, at GoDaddy believe that having an online identity can help lay the foundation for building a successful business and are committed to delivering the right online tools and solutions to help these next set of millions of people, coming from smaller towns, get online easily and grow their businesses. In line with our efforts to help make the internet more accessible to entrepreneurs across the country, we recently launched a GoDaddy Online Starter Bundle, an all-in-one internet solution which provides:an India-specific domain name (.IN and .CO.IN); a starter one-page website; and, a secure professional email account, enabling people to easily bring their ventures online, at an affordable price currently of INR 54/month. Aimed to support small and medium businesses, mini and micro businesses and entrepreneurs, especially in the Tier 2 and Tier 3 markets, the GoDaddy Online Starter Bundle includes the essential tools that a business needs to present a professional brand to the online world.
“With the government’s rigorous push towards promoting the internet adoption in the country through its initiatives like Digital India, there has been an increased awareness about digitization as well as benefits of building an online identity among the small business owners and entrepreneurs.”
How would this offer from GoDaddy address the issue of limited know-how of Digital Technology among Micro Businesses?
Today, for many small business owners and entrepreneurs in India, building an online presence equates to having a presence on social media platforms. While social media presence is important to help expand customer base, we are educating them that having a website, to help drive customers to learn more about the business and consider to make a purchase, is an equally important part of their overall online strategy. One of the most common misconceptions that people have is that one must know coding languages or have some technical understanding to build a website. While this might have been true a decade ago, the rules of the game have changed drastically now. The GoDaddyOnline Starter Bundle is particularly designed to help people with limited technical know-how to build an expert business presence online, as the tools are intuitive to the inputs and produce a professional online presence without the user having to know website coding. The fact that the product comes with an easy to manage, single-page starter website that can go live quickly, is a testimony to how it can be an ideal solution for the rising digital needs of emerging business owners across India.
What are some of the features of the product and how do you think it is different from other similar products available in the domain?
In order to help address current needs and challenges of small business owners in India, we wanted to offer an affordable solution to get an online presence, that is simple to onboard, locally relevant and can be purchased as a single bundle. Keeping this mind, we created the Online Starter Bundle, which includes a choice between .IN or CO.IN domain, which reflects every Indian business and works for the India market, a professional email for the business that gets set-up in just one click and a simple, one-page website that can go live quickly, all with an investment as low as INR 54/monthpresently.Coupled with GoDaddy’s expert support guidance available 24*7, the Online Starter Bundle, also promises a seamless experience across both the desktop and mobile platforms, including integrated links to social media platform and does not require extensive information feeding apart from basic business and contact information. With this product offering, our aim is to help enable our customers to take their business to the world virtually within minutes and take their first step for greater visibility online to help grow their venture.
Share light on some of the other GoDaddy’s initiatives to help SMEs and entrepreneurs?
Having a legacy of working with SMBs in regional and local markets across the country, we understand and recognize their need for digital training and upskilling in order to thrive better in today’s digital world. We, at GoDaddy are committed to supporting small businesses and entrepreneurs in India, by educating them about the benefits of having a presence online and on the significance of creating a website for their business. We have been working closely with web professionals and local resellers to conduct on-ground digital training workshops, especially in Tier 2 and Tier 3citiesin the country, to further our mission of creating awareness about online adoption pan India.In 2018, we held training sessions on the benefits of going online and how to get started,training about 1000 web professionals across 10 key SMB centric cities in India, including Pune, Jaipur, Kochi, Ahmedabad, among others. Soon we will be launching an online certification programme for people to gain knowledge and technical expertise to help succeed further online.
We also offer services and products in multiple local languages, enabling easier access to communication for regional and small business owners. Moreover, through our localized marketing campaigns such as ‘Bijness Bhai’, available in over multiple Indian dialects, we are working towards shaping the mindset of the small and medium business owners to consider that having an online presence as an important step in helping their venture grow and be more successful.
Can you talk about the recently launched global entrepreneurship survey by GoDaddy? Also, share some of its key findings.
The Global Entrepreneurship Survey reveals interesting insights around the current state and journey of small business owners in India compared to other regions around the world. The survey conducted by a research firm Savanta in April and May 2019 and surveyed 4,505 small business owners across 10 regions including India. The survey size in India was 500 small business owners with 25 or fewer workers.
Some of the key findings of the survey include:
- Almost one-third (32%) of the total Indian small businesses surveyed (that are online) reported that they already have a website and about 19% responded that they plan to build a website soon as compared to only 16% of their global counterparts
- 42% of the Indian small businesses surveyed cited their inability to invest sufficiently in the business as a major growth challengeas compared to 34% globally
- Even with these challenges, small business owners in India remained optimistic, with 46% reporting that they expect to grow at least 50% in the next three to five years, which is 1.7 times more as compared to the global counterparts which only stands at 27%
- 85% of Indian respondents said they would start their own business if they had to make the choice again knowing what they know now in comparison to a Global percentage of 79%, and 82% Indian respondents reported they are happier since becoming an entrepreneur whereas globally the percentage is at 72%
Can you suggest how many new MSME customers are likely to add to GoDaddy’s customer ecosystem in next one year especially after this new offer?
GoDaddy continues to work towards driving innovation to help empower India’s dynamic and rapidly growing MSME and entrepreneurial ecosystem in the country. With the introduction of the GoDaddy Online Starter Bundle, we offer an affordable and holistic solution for small business owners and entrepreneurs, to help make their venture more visible to people in their city, across India and around the world.Currently, we have over 1 million customers in India and our vision is to help empower the next 9 to 10 million small businesses that will be coming online across India, byenablingthem to benefit and grow their ventures successfully online.