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.
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?
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.