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Indian SMEs focusing on innovation, efficiency for growth; funds a challenge: Survey

twitter-logo PTI        Last Updated: November 29, 2018  | 18:33 IST

New Delhi, Nov 29 (PTI) India's small and medium businesses are using their advantages such as size, agility and innovation as their top three strategies for driving revenue growth in 2018, says a survey. However, 42 per cent of 300 Indian small and medium enterprises (SMEs) -- which participated in the survey, said that getting access to finance to grow the business is difficult, compared to 33 per cent respondents globally. These Indian SMEs are also getting finance at higher rates compared to global counterparts. The second edition of the American Express Global SME Pulse 2018 further said that SMEs are looking at embracing responsible business practices as a way to attract more customers. It said Indian SMEs, like their global counterparts, are going 'back to basics' with a focus on growing current market share, increasing operational efficiency and maintaining current company strengths to unlock growth in 2018. "Our research shows that India's smaller enterprises are primed for success in 2018 by balancing revenue growth with efficiency improvements and leveraging unique attributes of agility, innovation and strong customer relationships. Indian SMEs are now placing equal priority embracing responsible business practices to attract more customers," Saru Kaushal, Vice President, Global Commercial Services, American Express Banking Corp. Rising borrowing costs and access to finance is making SMEs to look at alternate options of raising funds to fuel their ambitious growth, Kaushal said. "Our research shows that just 46 per cent of Indian SMEs say that they are satisfied with the current financing options available to them, highlighting the time-consuming application process, high interest rates and hidden fees as the top pain points," she said. At a macro-level, she said, 78 per cent of Indian SMEs recognise that SMEs play an important role in their country's economy and Indian SMEs also foresee high revenue growth over the next three years of 7 per cent a year, along with a 6 per cent annual growth in profits (both very slightly higher than the global average). Another emerging theme from this year's report is how SMEs across the globe are also embracing responsible business practices as a way to attract more customers, it said. Worldwide, customers are demanding more ethical and sustainable products and services, it added. American Express has partnered with Oxford Economics to survey SMEs from around the globe to understand the threats they face and the business opportunities and strategies they will take advantage of in the year ahead. Overall, in the telephonic survey participated 3,000 owners, executive board members of SMEs with between 10 and 250 employees and revenues of up to USD 30 million. PTI DP MKJ

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