Discoverability Is a Problem for Small Business in India
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With the IT and telecom revolution, one would have expected plenty of small businesses blossoming in India in the past decade or so. Small businesses did get created and are still getting created, but the ratio of those which achieved significant scale remains considerably low. While one would argue that this "survival of the fittest" phenomenon is common all over the world, in India there is a peculiar problem of discoverability.
Discoverability is a term with a wide scope, but in the Indian context, discoverability means ease of new consumers contacting the businesses without any specific promotional measures taken. In this context, it's important to understand that accessing internet on a PC in India isn't as common as in the US. Comscore estimates the unique user base browsing the internet on the PC is only around 50-60 million, less than 5 percent of India's total population.
As a result, your fancy tools for discoverability such as Google Maps, local search engines, etc., do not work beyond this sample space of 50 million users. It has been widely noted among analysts that in India, the telecom/mobile revolution has overshadowed the PC revolution. For the commoner who isn't very comfortable with typing proper English, the mobile device suited his or her needs perfectly. But this means that small businesses have to rely very heavily on word-of-mouth or traditional offline publicity channels for getting their business known outside their circle.
To quote Mr. Bhole, the proprietor of an internet café in India, "It is very difficult to find a simple way for businesses without advertising budgets to reach out to consumers in India." This is particularly true in tier-II cities.