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The SME CEO Peer Group

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Top Five Business Priorities For SMEs In 2020

"When the going gets tough, the tough get going."  

For Small and Medium-sized organisations - resilience will be the theme of the year. Having travelled from the extreme North to South, and after having meetings with several business associations, I can sense the mood within the oldest entrepreneurs on the Indian soil.  

The year – 2020, will begin on a slow but will end on a high. As the Government prepares our country for a five trillion dollar economy, we can expect specific reforms and relaxations in policies in the upcoming budget session as early as 1st February 2020. I believe that the Government will take appropriate steps to create conducive conditions for growth. The challenging aspect, however, is to find a balance between growth and sustainability. 

While the Government is taking all the necessary steps, here's what the Indian business owners must prioritise within their business: 

1. Customer Experience 

2. Collaborations and Relationships 

3. Employee Development 

4. Diversification  

5. Globalisation 

1. Customer Experience 

Nearly every business spends a considerable amount of money, time and energy trying to land a new customer. However, as we begin the year with a slowdown, it won't be easy to acquire new customers. Focusing on your existing customer will be a much better strategy. As businesses and competition rise, the only thing matters is customer experience. Today's customers (both B2B & B2C) are looking for "experiences." Strengthening your customer relationship and creating unique experiences will fetch much better results today. Joining your customers in their pursuit will help foster better interaction and also lead to multiple innovations in the business process.  

2. Collaborations and Relationships 

Any small and medium-sized business today is not in a position to build everything on its own. The pressure on the top bosses within the organisation is too high to focus on multiple aspects related to the future of business. One good step is to collaborate and form relationships with other ecosystem players. There are many aspects of the company which are non-core to business operations, it’s best to reach out to other businesses that excel in those categories such as Marketing, Sales Development, Training, etc. It will allow business owners the extra bandwidth to focus on the core competence of the business, bring about change within the organisation. We will also witness the success of the public-private partnerships within our country, starting with railways and other sectors.

3. Employee Development 

As the majority of the industry experts suggested, our economy is going to bounce back by the first quarter of the next financial year, that gives every organisation sufficient time to develop, re-skill their employees and prepare them for the growth as soon as the market opens up. Customer service, customer experience, leadership, problem-solving and other soft skills will play a pivotal role in the days to come. It makes perfect sense to focus on employee engagement and development right now. Nurturing the talent for growth is essential as there aren't many ready to use talent.

4. Diversification

As running the old business models are getting complicated due to market saturation and other factors, we won't be surprised if many would opt for diversification. There are plenty of new opportunities that are coming forward in every industry. The automotive sector, real- estate, travel and tourism, agriculture, and textiles are all due for innovation. Understanding the new customer is the key to diversification. Business as a subscription is the most probable future, and many have already joined this bandwagon.  

5. Globalisation 

India has entered the demographic dividend phase, and we have by far the largest youth population in the world. As the developing economies grapple by the ageing population, it opens up multiple opportunities for Indian organisations to go global and offer services which the ageing population needs the most. Therefore vocational skills, etiquette, language skills and understanding of world culture will be much in demand when planning to do business globally. Businesses will also need to focus on marketing themselves and rely on compelling storytelling to win customers from the global markets. 

All the five essential priorities overlap with each other; one affects the other. It's time Indian SMEs prepare themselves for the opportunities that lie ahead. And I wish them perseverance and resilience for the year ahead.


Tridiv Daas is the originator of Creative Factor Group.

Having spent over two decades in advertising & marketing and worked on some of the most prominent brands like Intel, Apple, Essilor, Schneider Electric. He is now empowering small and medium organisations to thrive in the present opportunities. Connect with him at tridiv@creativefactor.in


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