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BW Businessworld

SMBs Online Presence To Explode

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The digital space is fast growing and is paving way for small businesses to make their presence felt. Eyeing the online boom, GoDaddy and Microsoft have joined hands for what they call "Get Online Mission". Ajay Gupta of BW | Businessworld talks to Rajiv Sodhi, Vice-President & Managing Director, GoDaddy India and Meetul Patel, General Manager, SMS&P, Microsoft India.

Could you shed a light on the new solution you have launched for small businesses?
Rajiv: If you look at India and SMB market, it is very large here. But at 158, India ranks poorly in its ability to ease of starting a business. We have partnered with Microsoft in order to launch a new solution: Get Online. It is aimed at startups, entrepreneurs and SMBs which is aimed at getting them online as soon as possible. In this solution we are offering a domain name, hosting space and Microsoft Office 365, all these combined at a price of Rs 99 per month. This is backed up by our 24x7 customer support which gets you started in 30 minutes flat. The idea is we want to remove all the roadblocks whether it is affordability, whether it is where do I go, whether it is who do I call.

What amount of hosting space are you giving?
Rajiv: Well, it differs according to the plan but for the starters, the Rs 99 per month package includes a 5 GB hosting space. Plus there is a website builder through which a non-technical person can create a website by the drag and drop procedure. The domain names too are all the popular ones: com, in or net. Further, Microsoft Office 365 will give the customer 1 TB of additional storage space with mailbox that works across devices. So you get all stack of serices under one roof which help you get online.

How will you go about spreading the awareness regarding the benefits of being online?
Rajiv: We are taking this across all our channels. We are taking this on social media, we are advertising this on search engines. We have launched it on our care centre so that people ccan call up and have a conversation. All mass media advertising we are doing is focussing on "Get Online Today".

Godaddy's ad, Nutcutlal, depicts a small time barber gaining immense popularity by registering his name. Do you think for a person whose business model is an offline one and in areas with minimal internet penetration, the ad is practical?
Rajiv: Absolutely. I think few years back people could choose to ignore the internet. Like Meetul says, we are at an inflection point. The rate and growth of internet is increasing quite dramatically. To put this in prespective, last year India added 100 million internet users. The first 100 million took ten years, the third million users took only a year. Today when customers buy, online or offline, they will research the prodcut and then go to buy. Now if you are a business and you are not discoverable, you are not even there when the conversation is starting. Whether you are a startup, an entrepreneur who is thinking of a business idea or a traditional business, you have to be online today.

Meetul: I don't think you can underestimate the power and use of technology by smallest of business in India. Today you can buy vegetables through text messaging. Now take that one step further. The ability to pick what you wanted with a website from GoDaddy has been made easy. The Indian small businesses are creative. They will find a way to use this to make themselves more productive but more importantly if you have any desire to reach cutomers, this helps. In the age of mobilty, the ability for someone to say I want a barber who is nearby and to see that there is someone nearby with name and phone number makes it very very powerful. I think it will explode.

Rajiv: In the ad the value propostion is: if you do not take your identity, your domain name, and I have, say Rajiv Barber. Now if any one looks for a different Rajiv Barber, no one is going to find you, no matter how good a hair stylist you are.

In that case the business owner will need multiple domain names too.
Rajiv: We are giving you the first domain name. I will be very glad if people come onlkine and purchase more domain names in order to protect their brand.

What is your market share?
Rajiv: I cannot share that. If you look at the top ten registrars worldwide, GoDaddy is the number one. We have 55 million domain names under management.

Do you consider the Indian domain vendors as competition?
Rajiv: I don't think it's about competition. The penetration of online in India is so low right now, we are focussed on how to make sure that more and more businesses come online. We are also focussed on partners like Microsoft and our competitors.

Meetul: GoDaddy is the world leader in the domain name and Microsoft is the world leader in the prductivity tools. We have come together to offer a solution that is extremely easy to use and is extremely affordable. That is the power of this partnership.

What will be your future goals?
Rajiv: We will continue to partner with trusted companies like Microsoft. We also have significant assets of our own and we will be removing every road block for people to come online. For that we are trying to remove the lack of awareness.

How do you decide what is the right time to reach a small business?
Meetul: We have been always interested in bringing online businesses from startups, the home office users to large enterprises. We need to allow everyone to use technology, so we beleive the time is right all the time.

How do you manage the complex chain of 8 lakh worldwide partners through which you service small businesses?
Meetul: We have 10,000 partners in India alone spread across 250 cities. India is a very diverse country with a diverse set of small businesses and we have a partner ecosystem which services their various needs. Some people might want a very specific application knowledge or services they need for maintenance on ground. As we go to the cloud, we see a whole set of new partners emerging and GoDaddy is an example of that.

Can we see you collaborate with Indian doamin vendors in future?
Meetul: Microsoft will have partners but partnership with GoDaddy is very strategic to us.