The world is constantly changing for India small business owners. And so the entrepreneur is forever tip-toeing through new business challenges and digital opportunities at hand. The pandemic, which appears here to stay for sometime in some form or the other, is forcing businesses to rethink. Small businesses are ditching lofty offline plans to experiment how they can understand buying clients better and increase sales via analytics and tools. Here are winners of the Digital Women Awards talking about their journey through the pandemic pivot.
Sapna Shahani, Blurb
After a lift in the corporate world, Shahani moved to Goa and and set up an agency to fill the gap in the market. Her business, Blurb is a boutique marketing agency that caters specifically to hospitality clients. But soon as she saw pick up, the pandemic hit. “Like many other business owners, my business has gone through a difficult period during the pandemic.”
Today she is figuring out a pivot and exploring how to expand and diversify. “I would like to pivot my business to provide digital marketing services for women-led and sustainability themed start-ups around India.”
At any services company, professionalism and streamlining is an important element in the overall offering. “I feel that there is a gap in the aesthetics, professionalism and affordability of digital marketing companies and I would like to bridge that gap.”
Shahani wants to use her experience in consulting lifestyle brands and is now looking to build the team, anticipating a comeback in marketing efforts. “I have new partners who complement my strengths in technology, so we are ready to build our team and grow.”
Using digital tools and building digital branding packs is core to her existence. For more of her work, which is very heavy on creatives, Shahani is using a few at-hand Google tools.
“Google Suite for professional emails and Google Drive in particular is a huge help for a small business like ours that requires accessible cloud storage, are my go-to tools.”
Shahani adds, each business needs to put its basics in place and that’s what digital tools offer.
Akanksha Savanal, A Curve Story
With A Curve Story, Akanksha is on a mission to dismantle the “ideal body type” narrative that marginalises people. She wants encourage people to deviate from the unrealistic standards set by society and the high-fashion industry.
“A Curve Story celebrates every body type and carries stylish outfits from sizes UK 8-30. Rather than constraining our customers to mass produced designs, we create clothing for every body type – keeping in mind their quirks, preferences, needs et al.”
Savanal has a strong network of tailors and designers. She says, they have skipped the mass story and aim to “create each piece exclusively for our customers – to help cement their comfort in their own skin. At A Curve Story, we design for needs specific to each body – our commitment to empowering women with confidence and self-love.”
Her immediate goals with A Curve Story are to increase market share and visibility in India. Thanks to digital today many small businesses are able to increase their reach and also supply globally.
She gives Google the credit for helping her make a start. “Google Ads are important for visibility for a business like ours.”
From an investor point of view, she admits she is waiting for opportunities. “The biggest challenge in this journey has been to raise funds. In the e-commerce retail segment, especially fashion, there is a lot of competition to break through to reach the end customer. This requires high marketing budgets for customer acquisition. The lack of funds backing women-led businesses was a task to overcome.”
Babita Gupta, House of Neeba
House of Neeba is a startup by a mother daughter duo, that designs and manufactures serveware and tabletops. “We take great pride in having all our products Made in India. We have a wide range of products that includes cake domes, high tea stands, platters, napkin rings and many more.”
Currently they are selling online through their e-commerce website along with other stores like Pernias Pop Pp shop and Amaaris Bangalore. “We aim to put our products put there on few more online portals like Tata Cliq Luxury, Ajio and Jaypore. In the next two years we aim to export our products worldwide, online or offline stores.”
What’s helping them is the recent deployment of analytics to understand how they are acquiring customers. As they plan to increase online spends to increase visibility, this is a useful indicator. “We find the Google insights and My business app very helpful to understand our performance and our clientele better.”
Due to the COVID 19 outbreak, the biggest challenge for them was to understand the supply chain as everything got delayed due to shortage of staff and procurement of raw materials. Logistics costs are also up. “The increase in fuel prices, costings of our products are changing which sometimes becomes very difficult to pass on to the consumer and continuously changing prices of our products won’t reflect well too.”
This article is in partnership with Google