28 May 2020

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Right Time toTake a Turnaround for SMEs

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By Ashwin Merchant, SME Marketing Expert

Challenging time in business always brings new opportunities for forward looking marketers, businessmen and entrepreneurs to rethink redefine and re-engineer the business. Difficult time also helps them to optimise their market share, win over competitors' customers and add more service value to current customers. The time is to chalk out a detailed marketing plan for developing existing business with an eye to future.  Turnaround management usually requires an investigation of the root causes of failure and long-term programs to revitalise the organisation.

For successful business operations finance and marketing both plays very important role. Finance is generally arranged from personal savings and arranged from family and friends' support. But, now time has changed and one can really start looking out for funding and financing from banks, FIs, private equity and my be at a future date SME IPOs. So, if finance is a hurdle for growth per se, there are ways and means to supplement this need.

Now, another major business function today is marketing which has been highly ignored and misunderstood.  Marketing & Innovations are only two functions that bring revenue and keeps business healthy and wealthy. Many of SMEs are finding difficulty in survival these days because of the ignorance of marketing and systematic business development strategy (BDS) in their business. Many SME owners, technocrats and factory persons are paying a huge price for not paying attention to changing needs of customers and market, that's marketing. The basic aptitude of SME promoters, owners for not investing into intangibles and professional services has ruined the strength and spirit of the organisations over a period of long time, visible now when they have failed to cope up with the changed phenomenon.

In fact, due to present situation in world economy and trade, there is a ready global market for forward looking SMEs who have taken care and prepared themselves over the period of time. Strict quality controls, product innovation, ISO certifications, trade fair participations, delegate visits, branding individual companies for local and international market, forming and supporting cluster development process that have been aggressively promoted by government in last several years besides other resources utilization. The global exposure of dynamic, visionary SMBs also helped to improve quality, design, packaging, pricing and service factors, which already helped them in leading local market, but in turnaround time for global business opportunities.

SMEs are recommended to develop a systematic Road Map for 1 to 3 years. Then develop a business plan to achieve defined goals and objectives.  SME friendly  marketing strategies using segmentation, positioning and targeting (SPT) that incorporated niche media marketing, database driven marketing, cluster specific marketing, guerrilla marketing techniques, customer relationship marketing, integrated & interactive follow up marketing strategy for success and  these are pocket friendly.

Also, SMEs must invest in technology on all fronts including shortage of skilled and semi skilled manpower, quick turnover of sales and marketing staff, over dependency on a key person. SMEs must look into hiring professionals for guidance, analysis and setting up of systems and planning strategies for business development and implementation. Doing everything by oneself may save some costs, but with this thinking growth is impossible to achieve, not only that in difficult time survival will be a challenge. SMEs must take all benefits of government policies and schemes to grow internally and externally.

The time to change is now to re-define business objectives for short term and long term goals. Re-think on purpose of doing business, running an enterprise with the same age old traditional way or incorporating modern methods of business development including marketing, sales promotion, advertising, brand building and a lot more.  Re-engineer operations with 'outside in' approach and scrap the old 'inside out' business model. Also, SME owners must bring in change in basic attitude towards important role of marketing for customer development, retention and growth. Marketing is an investment and not an expense is what fundamentally one should understand.

So, SMEs, Please "Wake Up! – Stop ignoring marketing. Get Up! - start planning and develop a Road Map with the help of qualified professionals and get your new ideas Check Up! “

Remember SMEs the time starts now!

 How SMEs can improve on ignorance and mistakes of the past and lead marketing today?

1. Identify the changing need of your customer - market dynamics

2. Target your competitors' customers - do you know who they are and why they are with competitors?

 3. Incorporate customer friendly business terms

 4. Make price a USP - if product is not branded

5. Look for new markets, nationally and internationally

6. No cost cutting but cost management

7. Make all efforts to understand the core competency of your product

8. ‘be visible and be in mind’ of your customers – rightful marketing strategy is required

9. Keep tab ongoing basis on 3Cs - customer, competition, change

 Why You Need to Turnaround?

• Indian Economy
• Global Scenario
• Increasing competition - local, regional, zonal, national, international
• Opportunity for SMEs - from Government and in overseas market, and
• Inherent strength of owners, promoters to decide and implement quickly
Why Many of You Need to Turnaround?

• Outdated business model
• Issues with the owners, promoters
• Ignorance of marketing and business development strategy
• Suffocating with finance and funding
• Unaware about government policies and schemes and not taking benefits of same, and
• Jack-of-All attitude

How to manage for Turnaround?

1. Re-Think
2. Re-Define, and
3. Re-Engineer

Key areas to focus for Turnaround

1. Operations
2. Finance
3. Marketing

About the author

Ashwin Merchant, is the founder, SME Marketing Klinic in Mumbai. He can be reached by phone: 022-23510752 and Email: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Last Updated ( Sunday, 13 February 2011 23:26 )  

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