MSMEs must utilise online platform to effectively mkt themselves

Written by Preeti Parashar | Updated: Oct 12 2010, 05:35am hrs
Internet is fast picking up as a medium for growth of businesses in India. Micro Small and Medium Enterprises are also turning to Internet for expanding their reach. As per IndiaMART.coms (Indias largest online B2B marketplace) database, MSMEs in Punjab take a lead with over 10,000 of them having web presence. Dinesh Agarwal, founder and CEO, IndiaMART.com shares the companys vision with FEs Preeti Parashar. Excerpts:

What are advantages of going online for MSMEs and how does it help in their growth

Today, the Internet is not an option but a requirement in the business world. Going online is as important for a business as any other major function that aids in carrying out operations efficiently. Online presence enhances the credibility of the company and provides exposure 24x7. The reach provided by the Internet is immense. In fact, going online opens up a window of opportunities for growth of the MSMEs. Since, these small businesses face constraints in terms of cost, time and distance, the Internet is a cost-effective solution.

Are there any cost benefit of using this medium

The major advantage of using online medium is that it provides marketing options at minimal or no cost at all . Online B2B marketplaces like IndiaMART.com are such phenomena that offer free memberships, listings to the small scale enterprises. Keeping in mind the challenges faced by the Indian MSMEs, we have most of our services absolutely free for them. Only p remium s services a re charged, at a nominal p rice. The MSMEs must utilize the online platform to effectively market themselves, find relevant business partners on the net, garner business queries from them and have an edge over their competitors. When compared with offline marketing methods, the Internet is way ahead today. Offline marketing comes at a cost which the MSMEs find difficult to invest. Besides, it requires putting up of extra efforts and time.

How many MSMEs are using Internet as a medium growing in the northern region

With companies across the globe becoming increasingly reliant on Internet for undertaking various businesses, MSMEs in India too are expected to embrace the same to gain sustainable competitive advantage over stiff competition in the market. Taking a lead are MSMEs in Punjab which are fast realizing the growing importance of this medium. As per IndiaMART.coms (Indias largest online B2B marketplace) estimates, there are over 10,000 MSMEs in Punjab which currently have web presence in one way or the other. In the state, Chandigarh, Mohali and Panchkula along with Ludhiana are the main hubs.

What kind of future do you see for internet as a medium of growth for the MSMEs

Internet is still at a nascent stage in India with respect to t he MSMEs. The future augurs well as the number of users of the Internet will increase in the coming time. With increased awareness of the benefits of the Internet among MSMEs, the business community in India will see drastic change s in the way t he operations are carried out.