SMALL BUSINESSES, All of us are aware of the repercussions caused by the havoc wrecked by the novel coronavirus. The economic aftermath of the COVID- 19 has started showing its impact worldwide and if there is a scale of business that finds itself worst strangled, it is the Micro Small Medium Enterprises (MSMEs).

MSMEs form a crucial part of our economy and form a backbone to it. Small businesses account for one- fourth of our 2.9$ billion economy. This sector employees a whopping 50 crore workforce according to a report by online business news portal, YourStory. They also account for 27.9% of India’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and constitute a49.66 percentage of India’s total export.

But most of these firms have found themselves stuck in the midst of an extraordinary catastrophe owing to the ongoing lockdown and the corollary effects of the Coronavirus on the lifestyle of the masses. Enterprises are facing a cash crunch as the liabilities pile up. Businesses are struggling to pay utility bills, loans and borrowings, and most notably the payroll to their staff members.

This has given surge to another possible crisis of mass unemployment as the employment of around 5 million workers stand on the edge following the backlash faced by firms. The apparel sector alone estimates a job cut of around 3 million jobs.

As we have acknowledged the importance of our small businesses, let’s have a look at the bailout possibilities for these business concerns.

1. Enhancing customer experience:
Be it the pre- COVID or post- COVID world, customers remain the king in the market. Therefore, businesses should primarily focus on ameliorating consumer’s shopping experience. It is quite confirmed that consumers aren’t returning to the market owing to the psychological effects of the contagious virus as well as the remote work approach.

Businesses need to come up with installment schemes as well as no-cost EMI plans to support the customers who may face salary or job cuts.

2. Digitalization of business operations:
Traditional business enterprises should also step out of their comfort zone to endeavor the digital path to facilitate their businesses. They should set up their landing pages and websites and keep the customer engaged and informed with the changes. The integration of chatbots and apps in the transactional process can smoothen the entire process. All relevant information should be updated at the companies digital handles.

3. Benefitting from Government Policies:
The government understands the importance of o0f the MSME sector and has come up with several schemes to keep these firms floating. The dates for filing Income tax returns and the GST has been pushed until 30th November 2020 and June 2020 respectively. The Government has also come up with an emergency credit line to infuse cash in stressed enterprises. Business
owners should avail benefit from all these packages to their maximum potential.

4. Creation of Co-Op societies to facilitate businesses:
A credit union has a track record of delivering better services than large banking corporations. They can provide credit at lower rates and quicker as it carries less paperwork. Setting up of such a credit union will be beneficial not only in the current period but in the future too.

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