Mentor and advisor to SMB Connect S. Shyam Sekar on Wednesday underlined the importance of branding and marketing as the key driver for the success of startups and SMEs.
At an interactive session conducted by the Andhra Chambers of Commerce and Industry Federation (ACCIF), he said there was no age limit to launch a startup and three-fourth of GDP was driven by SMEs.
Citing how WhatsApp, Facebook and LinkedIn had become billion dollar ventures in a short time, he said the ventures needed to be different with innovative ideas. He said one could step up to next level by making use of digital marketing by adopting low-cost business-to-business and business-to-customer strategies.
Mr. Sekar gave some branding tips and said besides traditional mode publicity through advertisements and bill board one should understand that the digital route was extremely effective. The prerequisite for this, he stated, were having one’s own website for absolutely effective hygiene factor by spending few thousand bucks. One should have mail ID and business ID, focus on customers needed for messaging, picking up strength from tom-tom, positioning as top leader through blogs, newsletters, quora and social media.
Asking the entrepreneurs to be visible, he said their actions should speak louder than words. He said they should gain expertise in smart marketing by studying the requirements and psyche of the customers.
He said slicing and dicing were important as part of digital marketing initiatives.
Referring to engagement with customers, he said feedback factor and tracking down both inbound and outbound factors through search engine optimisation (SEM) and search engine market (SEM) were very important. He also explained about the role of holding web conferences. APCCIF vice-president G. Sambasiva Rao said business networking was important for the success of SMEs to make an impact in a highly competitive environment.
Pydah Group of Educational Institutions chairman Pydah Krishna Prasad said Visakhapatnam was on the verge of emerging as a global city throwing up several opportunities for small and medium entrepreneurs.
APCCIF vice-president M. Sudhir said startups by young entrepreneurs have a bright future with the Centre instructing banks to adopt a liberal approach to support new units even if they failed in their first attempt.
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Mr. Shyam can be contacted at email@example.com.