The Future of Business Survey – an ongoing collaboration between Facebook, the OECD and the World Bank which focuses on SMEs across the globe – takes on new significance. The survey was introduced to help businesses succeed by understanding the economic environments in which they operate and sharing these learnings with them – and to essentially share the challenges and opportunities that exist to help them grow.
To date, nearly 200,000 SMEs in more than 40 countries, drawn from the 70 million businesses with an active Facebook Page, have taken the survey.
In March 2017, the survey included a module about education to understand how businesses are learning and the gaps they perceive. Globally, 42% of businesses told us that learning from each other is one of the primary ways they find the information to master the new mobile environment, second only to online searches (64%). In India alone, 38% of SMEs indicated that they rely on each other to learn. Clearly, businesses are looking to each other to master the new mobile environment.
The results indicate that many businesses are embracing mobile technologies to connect with and ﬁnd new customers, sell products or services online, locate new employees and activate mobile marketing campaigns. This is increasingly true for small and medium sizes enterprises (SMEs) who seek tools and solutions to help them with affordability to eﬀectively manage their businesses on the go. For SMEs, mobility can bring time management beneﬁts and help ﬁll resource gaps.
In India, we are seeing:
Optimism in the economy: When businesses connect and learn from each other they are more confident. Nearly half (41%) of businesses in India that are confident about the economy are learning from other businesses, whereas over half (56%)of unconfident businesses do not.
International trade: A supportive community can help businesses scale geographically. Businesses that trade internationally learn from more sources and have a higher than average number of business-related educational interests. They are also two and a half times more likely to cite educational interest in better information on international trade.
Increasing jobs: 41% and 39% respectively of businesses that have added jobs in the past six months or plan to in the next six months also learned from other businesses.
Take Praneet Sahai, co-founder of PosterGuy, – a digital product design agency. Praneet believes digital marketing helps drive success for his business. Praneet and his co-founders find value in the online community and are able to learn about growing their business from mentors and experts in online business groups. The business owners then share these learnings with other SMEs in the community who do not have access to digital resources. A remarkable way of paying it forward.
Ankhi Das, Director of Public Policy for Facebook India and South Asia, said, “To help businesses succeed in today’s digital economy, we need to understand the current and future economic environments in which these businesses operate. This edition of our Future of Business survey shows connections matter. Small businesses are turning to each other to learn and share ideas in today’s digital economy. And the more they connect, the more confident they are about the road ahead. This is a time to connect more.”
In a report released in August 2016, it was found that small businesses contribute 45% of India’s GDP . That was almost triple of what Corporate India contributed. The sector was also said to be “employing close to 46 crore people, and growing at 11.5% annually. Timely information about businesses provides a pulse on the current and future economic environments in which businesses operate, and gives insights on ways to help businesses grow.