The touchdown was uneventful; but the thoughts in my head raced around in record breaking lap times. A short walk with Ramesh till the exit would prove to be the most defining half a kilometer of our lives. We exchanged business cards, shook hands and parted ways; the look on Ramesh’s face steeled my resolve. I was going to fix this nonsense!
Hailing a cab I began my journey home. The rain was coming down hard with the streets concealing puddles that could sink a BMTC bus. Between the delicate dance of death-defying riders weaving around and the regular circus of Bangalore traffic, I pondered on how to create that elusive eco-system which could combat the age old system of SME harrying scenarios.
What did the average SME need? What did the average SME’s day look like? What were the gaps in the SME’s business-personal space? What did the average SME family look like? What were the SME social circles? What did the SME do in his spare-time? Did the SME ever take a break from work? Did the SME ever holiday with his/ her family? Did anyone ever focus on the sociological needs of an SME? Well…the questions in my head spiraled on and on.
I decided to meet these issues one at a time. My first appointment was with the basic need of any business; to conduct business! There had to be options where one could buy and sell in bulk digitally. The age old scenarios of ‘leads’ had to be replaced with the need of the hour. Technology and e-commerce had made buying and selling in the B2C space a breeze; why could the same not be replicated in the B2B segment? Convenience and effectivenes had to replace old mindsets and boundaries in order for businesses to be competitive. In my heart, I knew what needed to be done here. First issue combated!
My second pitstop was the financial demon. Half an hour into our conversation, I realized that this issue could actually be fixed. I had recently come across an article where CRISIL had indicated a funding opportunity to Indian Banks and NBFCs in the SME sector to the tune of a whopping INR 500 Billion. Amazing, I thought! That too by just working the percentages and playing within the norms of the RBI of the fundable 75% benchmark of an SME’s incremental working capital requirement. Cheers to that, I said! Ramesh might just make it out of the shark’s tank with his business intact….A thought I mused over for the next couple of days.
Two solutions in sight! Multiple more to go! Armed with an opportunity, I set off on my quest to assemble the numerous pieces of the MSME and the Indian Business jigsaw.