For small and medium enterprises (SMEs), accessing finance is the most difficult part and most of them rely on traditional bank loans to run their businesses. A global survey by American Express underlines that 42% of Indian respondents find access to finance to grow business difficult, as compared to a third of their global peers. The survey says that 82% of all SMEs plan to use bank loans. However, with rising borrowing costs, Indian SMEs are taking a hard look at their finance options. In fact, 69% of the fast growing ones say they will tap other sources of funding such as public equity. Managing expenses effectively is a key focus area for Indian SMEs who are now placing equal priority on expense management as much as on increasing revenue.
Saru Kaushal, vice-president and general manager, Global Commercial Services, American Express Banking Corp, India says: Small enterprises are balancing revenue growth with efficiency improvements and leveraging innovation and strong customer relationships. The American Express Global SME Pulse 2018 survey highlights that time-consuming application process, high interest rates and hidden fees are the top pain points for SME entrepreneurs.
“At present it takes around 30-40 days for small entrepreneurs to get loan from banks because of documentation process and credit evaluation. But with new technology solutions, the process can be done faster and entrepreneurs can get quick access to funds,” Kaushal says. Over three quarters of Indian SMEs say that customers are demanding more new or tailored products and services, and some 44% plan to apply new technology to help them redesign products or services.