CXOToday has engaged in an exclusive interview with Mr Rahul Raj, Cofounder & CEO, FloBiz.
In what ways has FloBiz been able to connect with customers in Tier 2 and 3 cities, and how are they promoting the use of FloBiz to people with lower levels of education who own SMBs?
There are more than 6.3 Crore micro, small and medium-sized businesses (MSMEs) in India but about 80% of them are still using traditional methods like pen-paper for billing, accounting, book-keeping and other daily business function due to the lack of digitization as well as the challenges posed by unreliable network connectivity. FloBiz is continuing to address this need through its flagship SaaS platform myBillBook, a complete business management solution that enables SMBs to create invoices, manage inventory, engage their customers, and generate multiple business reports for informed and efficient decision-making. myBillBook offers a mobile-first app based solution for android and iOS and also has a web app and offline desktop application. It can even be used in the absence of internet connectivity which makes these services democratized and accessible. myBillBook is used by over 70 lakh businesses for a lot of features such as GST billing, e-Way billing, POS billing, and e-Invoicing. SMBs on our platform together generate monthly trade worth INR 12,500 Cr, a massive growth number contributing to the national growth story.
We have a diverse customer base that includes individuals from metros, Tier 1, 2, and 3 cities. To cater to all our customers, we have adopted multiple product, communication, and operational strategies. Our app has been designed to be user-friendly, free of any technical jargon, and easy to operate, even for those with basic financial knowledge. The app is currently available in four languages: English, Hindi, Gujarati, and Tamil, and offers 24×7 support through call, WhatsApp and chat in multiple languages. Additionally, we have an extended on-ground team available to give demos and assist customers.
To further support our customers, we have created a repository of demo and feature videos in multiple languages on our YouTube channel. We also have a telegram community in addition to presence on other social media channels to regularly engage with our users.
What marketing strategy does FloBiz rely on to appeal to SMBs/MSMEs and encourage them to use their services?
We are present on YouTube, Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Koo, ShareChat. YouTube for us doubles as a knowledge repository for product marketing as well as for content on business & industry information. Twitter & LinkedIn are used for enhancing our corporate identity and feature a little more official and serious content. Other platforms are used for engagement with our audiences and beyond to improve our TOFU awareness. Our media mix depends on the nature of the campaign and the narrative. We use OTT platforms, print, radio, offline BTL activities, digital branding, and social media influencers.
We have recently started a new YouTube channel ‘All About Business’ as a part of our long-term content strategy. The channel is envisioned to become a knowledge repository for any type of new or old business and will feature topics on new business ideas, tips to grow business, motivational stories, business case studies, and interviews with experts.
Our marketing approach has been quite simple – know the audience and understand their pain points. Once we have done that, we build the features that will impact the largest user subset. We ensure that we highlight this iterative and experimentative approach through multiple channels like social, digital, and offline. We also focus on enhancing the user experience for both free and paid users and working through the funnels to improve conversions.
Apart from Hindi and English, the app is also available in regional languages such as Tamil and Gujarati. How has this expansion into regional languages helped FloBiz to tap into a wider market in India?
India’s diversity is both beautiful and challenging for businesses like ours. However, we have observed that English and Hindi are the primary languages used by our SMB customer base. We have also found that despite having Hindi as their mother tongue, most SMBs prefer conducting their daily operations in English. This preference for English is due to their desire for professionalism in their customer interactions. Companies must embrace multiple Indian languages to reach a wider audience and increase their footprint. Integrating vernacular languages into the business can make the transition to digital means more seamless and create a more profound impact on the product.
We have simplified the language used on the myBillBook app by replacing technical jargon with simpler terms like sales, purchases, and expenses. This has made it easier for SMBs to use our app.
Moreover, we have introduced vernacular languages to cater to businesses that prefer conducting transactions in their native languages. The app is currently available in Gujarati and Tamil, and we also offer 24×7 customer support in multiple languages.
What are some user-friendly tools that help SMBs transition to digital platforms?
Business owners are often juggling between day-to-day activities. Becoming a digitally transformed or an intelligent enterprise is not rocket science, it just takes the right mix of technology and process.
Without at least one cloud solution in the equation, digital transformation is nearly impossible. Cloud solutions are an integral part of any business today, be it a start-up or a conglomerate. The cloud solutions being mobile and user friendly, are easily manageable by the SMBs as there are no infrastructure requirements. Cloud solutions are built to address a specific need; hence these applications are extremely innovative and have so much depth in them. myBillBook is a classic example of using Cloud technology and wrapping up complex software in a very user-friendly interface. We have added modules for WhatsApp marketing, CRM, Loyalty and SMS marketing, as well, in our software suite to enable digitsed experience for business conduct.
Can you provide examples of successful cases where FloBiz has assisted MSMEs in transitioning to digital operations, and the benefits they have gained from this transformation?
When we consider the rebound of Indian small businesses from the pandemic’s dark clouds, there appears to be a silver lining. According to a recent survey by a fintech company, 52% of Indian MSMEs experienced a positive impact post-pandemic, with online sales and cross-border business transactions becoming more accessible.
The government’s efforts, such as extending the Emergency Credit Line Guarantee Scheme (ECLGS), promoting Make in India, and the start-up ecosystem’s efforts to digitize SMBs and facilitate access to credit, are commendable. To take advantage of these government initiatives, MSME registrations on the Udyam registration portal are increasing. However, we must proceed cautiously and continue to invest in technology.
MSMEs contribute 30% to India’s GDP, employ over 11 crore people, and account for 50% of the country’s exports. To gain more immunity against global macroeconomic triggers and achieve true Atma Nirbhar Bharat, we must increase their contribution to 40% of the GDP. These are promising initial signs, but there is still a long way to go.
What new projects or initiatives is FloBiz currently working on?
FloBiz has a slew of developments in the pipeline for the future to simplify the lives of our SMB partners further. To name some – building industry-specific product modules and features on the product that can add value to SMB owners, creating deeper product features to cater to niche use cases in certain industry types and continually evolving & improving our newly launched features. We are also continually creating value-added content for our SMB partners to enlighten them with the necessity of digitization in their day-to-day operations. Our other stealth mode work-in-progress projects will delight our valued SMB partners in the coming months.