Recently we have had some SaaS companies shifting base outside India, on the basis that the SME market in India is tough, and that it is a Do it for me (DIM) market and not a Do it yourself (DIY) market. I fundamentally believe that though I/we are building a business here, we are not the smartest people around. There are atleast 6.5 Million SME’s around, all who are building successful profitable SME & MSME businesses in their respective arena’s and they have been doing it before we started this company.

Indian business growth "Visible"

Here is our fundamental problem with most of us in the product space, that we don’t believe other people are willing to learn or be taught, in-fact, we at Exotel believe very much in our customers, and prospective customers being smarter than us. They will know more about their problems, than we will know about theirs. They will know more about their business, than we will know about theirs, and we have to help them solve it using our product and also in the process make them feel independent and liberated.

I was in a small meet up of the Blume portfolio in Mumbai also, where someone who had great insights into the SME market in India – Jaspreet Singh Bindra (Head of GETIT) mentioned that India is a Do it for me (DIM) market, and that conquering this will be very difficult, and it got me thinking, that are we really that bad? Do we not believe that the online revolution of buying which has led my mother (over 50+) to buy from Urbanladder and Flipkart without talking to me, not also cause a revolution amongst business owners? Don’t these business owners also have Facebook, Zomato as mobile apps on their smart phones? Don’t they enjoy learning new ways to use technology to help improve their business?

Smart Phone for businesses

It is wrong of us to assume that the Indian SME & MSME is only a DIM market, in-fact, I have tried listing Exotel on a few normal listing companies, many of them have been in the news lately and more, and the process for someone like me, should have been self served right? But it was not, they assumed I am stupid, and I will need a phone call and a visit to my office to select keywords, and enter basic details like address of my business and phone number. Why?

Why do you/we assume I and other business owners are not ready to try technology? Why are our products not so simple to use, that if someone signs up himself/herself, then they can start using it without needing to talk to anyone? Why can’t our products automatically make our fellow businessmen more independent?

You must read the story 3 from a blog post previously of how Indian customers buy , and you will notice how he (the business owner) also wants to learn, he wants to learn Skype, Online payment and more, he wants to do it himself, he wants help, but only if your software does not solve the problem for him simply, else we believe he/she will manage finding products for themselves.

So here is what I am saying:

1. Indian businesses were always run by smart people.
2. They will learn and are rapidly learning how to buy online.
3. We need to simplify our products.
4. Stop assuming they need a face-face visit.

India is changing fast, our 15 member team is seeing the change, and you should participate as well in helping Indian business, SME & MSME owners become independent.

To the Indian businessman – the less dependent you are on others, the more you can be confident of yourself, you can learn faster, transition faster, train faster, scale faster, and get home faster to your family and still have an overview of what is happening in your business. Try technology, try it yourself, there is great joy in figuring something yourself, and we believe you can, and will.

We respect your intelligence and hence are trying our best to build a product that makes you feel independent and not dependent.

AUTHOR: Vijay Sharma

Vijay Sharma, Co-founder at Exotel, is known for his extremely driven, straightforward and tactful nature. A hustler at heart and an excellent recruiter by profession, Vijay is the perfect blend of hard work and fun.

  • RT @Exotel: India’s SME & MSME Market – will it always be a DIM? (Do it for Me) – it’s changing, and DIY is on it’s way.…

    July 12, 2013
  • RT @Exotel: India’s SME & MSME Market – will it always be a DIM? (Do it for Me) – it’s changing, and DIY is on it’s way.…

    July 12, 2013
  • India’s SME & MSME Market – will it always be a DIM? It’s changing to DIY

    July 12, 2013
  • RT @vijaysw: India’s SME & MSME Market – will it always be a DIM? It’s changing to DIY

    July 12, 2013
  • Few reasons why I believe that India is a DIM market

    1. Not many businesses are tech savvy. Take most of the traditional businesses. How many of them in India have a website vs in the US? That speaks volumes of the technology adoption in India. What it will be 10 years from now, is a different story- but what it is now is certainly DIM.

    2. Subject matter experts are not available in quantities required. Most expert digital markters wont join traditional companies due to lack of exposure or slow adoption of technologies. So if you are selling a marketing software, who will actually use it? They either have to go for an assisted model or fall back to agencies.

    Now, I agree with the fact that they should have let you do it without interruption. Not sure how they segment the users, but probably SAAS companies should be considered as DIY customers.

    Believe me, I have talked with business owners, both in India as well as the US who didn’t know what a browser was. They think IE (the blue stuff on their computer is what a browser is when I try and explain it to them). So there are DIM people in the US as well. But the number of DIY people in US is much higher compared to India.

    While it’s bad to assume your customer is stupid, it’s equally bad to assume that they can figure out stuff on their own. How companies strike a balance would be the key!

    October 14, 2013

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