The Indian entrepreneurship segment, consisting of SMEs, startups, first generation entrepreneurs and those looking to expand their family business, is a thriving and dynamic part of the Indian economy. Over the past decade, there have been major transformations, both favourable and otherwise, that have impacted the segment. Be it the rise of technology enabled systems and services or innovative consumer engagement and millennial-friendly business approach, to the government and taxation policies, GST, improved access to FDI and ease of getting investments etc. have all brought about unprecedented changes to the sector, at an accelerated speed.
As we move into the next decade, here are top 5 trends that will drive the sector:
1. Digitisation & Automation:
Even as technology is making its presence felt across sectors, digitisation and automation of business processes will be adapted faster, even by smaller startups and entrepreneurs. Adaption of latest technology driven processes was considered as a fancy investment afforded only by bigger players, until a few years ago. However, going forward, digitisation and automation are going to become an indispensable part of business operations. Even smaller players and boot-strapped entrepreneurs will be embracing modern technologies in the coming year.
2. Business Collaboration:
In this era, the consumer is spoilt for choice between Indian and international brands. With the flexibility to access similar products and services on the online and traditional platforms, entrepreneurs and startup founders have been devising methods to combat competition and thrive. This has led to a stronger focus on business collaborations. By adding relevant expertise to the portfolio through collaborations, there is a greater business opportunity for entrepreneurs. This also helps create a structured service model for the consumers, resulting in a win-win situation that is bound to drive the sector.
3. Customer Service focus:
Again, driven by competition, modern entrepreneurs and businesses today are waking up to the need of engaging with their customers, and building a loyal base. While products and services do matter, customer service approach to business has become vital to flourish and expand – a trend that is again set to change the consumer buying patterns and drive growth.
From focusing on niche product and service offerings to collaborations and outsourcing the non-core areas of business, entrepreneurs have adopted varied means to remain relevant to their millennial consumer base. This decade is going to see a new trend of diversification, where entrepreneurs are increasingly opting for multiple businesses that are not only diversified in nature but are also independent and even drastically separate from the main business. Apart from honing their business skills, this trend is set to also enrich and offer greater business opportunity to entrepreneurs. From helping them tide over a slowdown at an industry or economy level, diversification also helps gain greater returns, during prosperous times.
5. Focus on R&D/ Innovation:
With access to the latest know-how using digital learning and global knowledge exchange platforms, increasing number of businesses are waking up to the need of continuous learning and innovation. This trend is set to rise, with more and more businesses investing time and resources to study, implement, and improve their product and service offerings, thereby enhancing their growth potential and possibilities for international expansion.
India has already demonstrated immense entrepreneurial potential in the past few decades. What started with a wave of IT offshoring in the 1990s and early 2000s, quickly moved to become the land of some of the most interesting unicorn tech startups in the world, including Freshworks, Paytm, Oyo and Flipkart (which was sold to Walmart in 2018 for $16 billion). From being a startup hub to a breeding ground of innovative entrepreneurs, India is now ready to leap into the future as a strong global economy with an entrepreneurial streak, effectively battling internal challenges.
Rohit Raul is Founder & CEO, Business Opportunities Club. Views are personal.