Varun Surana

how to scale a small business in india by varun surana

How to Scale a Small Business in India

How to Scale a Small Business in India: A Comprehensive Guide

Expanding a business is essential for success, but it presents numerous challenges. The intricacy of small agencies in India is expected to rise significantly, given the diverse nature of the market, regulatory obstacles, and talent and finance accessibility. But as a result of digitization and government programs like Startup India, the environment for scaling is developing.

In today’s article, we will cover all the important topics that small businesses need to consider before expanding in India. It offers tactical advice and strategic approaches in areas such as financial planning, operational efficiency in small businesses, and technology adoption, all while taking into account the unique difficulties faced by Indian marketers.

Understanding the Indian Business Landscape

India achieved seventy-nine positions in 015 and is ranked 63rd on the Ease of Doing Business Index 2020. This demonstrates the extremely difficult circumstances faced by entrepreneurs, including infrastructure obstacles and regulatory procedures. With 63 million MSMEs operating, the small company landscape remains vibrant nonetheless.

Among the main issues faced by small business owners in India are often insufficient regulatory frameworks, a lack of skilled workers, limited access to digital infrastructure in remote places, and financial constraints. An SME Finance Report states that $400 billion in capital is now lacking for MSMEs in India.

However, government programs like Make in India, Startup India, collateral-unfastened loan schemes, and technology adoption subsidies support small business scaling in India. The widespread use of phones means that virtual transformation cannot be put off any longer. By 2024, the digitalization of SMBs is projected to boost India’s GDP by $158– $216 billion.

Preparing for Growth

Entrepreneurs tend to focus on customers and deliver exceptional products/services when starting. However, scaling requires looking at your business objectives and operations more broadly. This majorly includes assessing your business’s readiness and setting scalable goals. 

Assessing Your Business's Readiness

An agile business model, efficient processes, and infrastructure are critical for small business success in a diverse country like India. Before making growth projections or investments, conduct a realistic assessment of your company’s current health by:

Setting Scalable Goals

Setting a long-term vision for your small business scaling in India grabs a crucial spot. However, setting clear, measurable short-term goals with realistic timelines is equally vital for consistent growth. When it comes down to scalable goals, make sure they are:

By using these SMART criteria to help you crystallize scalable goals, you’ll be able to track your progress and proactively handle obstacles seamlessly. 

Strategies for Scaling Your Business

Small business scaling in India has unique complexities. Incorporating the following strategies will facilitate sustainable expansion no matter what stage you are at currently.

financial planning and management

Financial Planning and Management

Insufficient access to finance often throttles scaling plans for Indian SMBs. That is why sound financial planning for small businesses from the start is imperative whether you are self-funded, have already taken a bank loan, or have attracted angel investors.

You can keep your cash flow stable by carefully managing capital expenditures and optimizing invoicing. Maintain sufficient reserves to cover operating expenses for three to six months. To prepare, create multiple scaling scenarios.

As soon as you can, look into your funding options, including conventional lenders like banks and venture capital companies. Think about private equity, seed funding, and accelerator programs. Remember that there might be stringent requirements for grants.

Prior to making technology investments or expanding into new markets, create open-use budgets. In the face of erratic economic conditions, this guarantees wise capital allocation and guards against cost overruns, both of which are essential for implementing scaling plans.

operational efficiency

Operational Efficiency

As your client base expands, controlling your company operations gets more challenging. To efficiently handle this complexity, consider implementing automation, outsourcing, and lean management approaches from the outset. These tactics can increase productivity, enhance the customer experience, and save you money.

Use low-cost cloud-based software to automate repetitive tasks in sales, customer service, HR, accounting, and compliance. Concentrate on strategic initiatives with the highest value. Non-core tasks such as content development, technical maintenance, and shipping can be outsourced to improve operational efficiency.

To reduce waste and improve output quality, regular process optimization using methodologies such as Kaizen and Six Sigma is recommended. Process digitization improves efficiency and provides data for early problem detection and response.

Expanding Marketing Reach

Entrepreneurs are starting to focus more on product-market fit and acquiring customers. However, scaling requires continuously evaluating changing demand and new trends and expanding into adjacent segments or territories. Some approaches to fuel your business growth strategies by boosting market access majorly include:

Diversifying your offering portfolio

Assess the scope to add product or service variants your existing customer base could use. Going from just clothes to accessories or school supplies opens new revenue streams for a kids' apparel brand.

PENETRATE adjacencies

Consider geographic, demographic, or psychographic segments that appeal to your brand values after meeting demand in current categories. For example, an organic food company in South India has scope to expand north, leveraging similar customer appreciation for quality.

ENHANCE digital footprint

Given low distribution costs online, fuel visibility and engagement where your audience is - via website, digital ads, e-commerce platforms, social media partnerships, etc. Offerings tailored for the Indian diaspora abroad can unlock additional demand.

UTILIZE influencer marketing

In a price-sensitive market like India with still evolving trust in brands, influencer advocacy helps acquire and retain loyal regional customer bases cost-effectively as you expand your SMB's reach.

REFINE as you grow

Obtain customer feedback, sentiment analysis, and market demand data at every stage to take corrective actions quickly - vital in a diverse country like India with very regional preferences.

Agility to understand emerging segments, adapt products early, and pivot marketing drives sustainable growth.

building a strong team

Building a Strong Team

If you want to boost productivity, make sure to train your employees since they are critical to the success of your business. To attract qualified applicants, anticipate your labor requirements ahead of time, especially during expansion periods. Assuming India's workforce is hierarchical, match jobs to candidate expectations.

Competitive compensation is essential for attracting millennials and Generation Z. Salary levels should meet or exceed industry standards and include a variable component based on firm performance. Provide mentorship and product insights to new hires as part of a well-planned 30 to 90-day strategy to help them become early adopters of your company culture.

To improve skills and retain employees, provide internal courses, e-learning, and mentoring. Establish a supportive culture by encouraging openness and participation in events, recognizing contributions, and breaking down hierarchies.

Leveraging Technology

While Indian entrepreneurs have traditionally focused more on logistics or distribution network advantages in the growth phase, embracing the right technology early allows for faster, more scalable expansion today. Some aspects where digital adoption aids small business growth strategies:

Business Management Software

Automate workflows, improve visibility through data analytics, and enhance internal collaboration. Options like Freshworks, Zoho, etc, cater to Indian SMB needs with affordable pricing.

Omnichannel Presence

Make products discoverable and sell across the right platforms - own website, online delivery apps, e-commerce marketplaces, and social commerce. Offer flexibility targeted to Indian consumers through home delivery, store pickup, etc.

CRM Solutions

Choose customer relationship management software like Salesforce, Freshworks CRM, etc, to record platform interactions to provide a consistent brand experience. Gain insights to refine product/service based on buyer life cycle data.

Payment Gateways

Partner with the entire stack of payment systems customers prefer, whether card payments, Paytm, Google Pay UPI, PhonePe, Amazon Pay, etc., to reduce drop-offs and build trust in digital transactions as more small-town consumers onboard online.

Data Security

As digital adoption increases, a breach can erode consumer confidence apart from financial and legal implications. Invest in cybersecurity early as you scale and enhance your capability to manage larger volumes of customer data.

Technology enables small businesses to expand in a capital-efficient manner by reducing distribution, marketing, recruitment, and compliance costs substantially compared to traditional offline efforts. The key lies in identifying automation opportunities early to balance productivity gains with personalization for Indian buyers.

Overcoming Common-Scaling Challenges

It’s imperative for all Indian business owners to enter new markets or geographic regions. It’s not as simple as it sounds, though. It is critical to anticipate and skillfully manage these challenges if one wants to succeed.

A wide range of government programs aimed at achieving Net Zero have an impact on many businesses. Keep up to date on upcoming regulations and participate in important public consultations. 

As your company expands in terms of customers, employees, items, locations, or data, use technology to streamline processes. This significantly reduces overburden and improves operational efficiency.

Maintain the genuineness of your brand. Despite the pressing need to grow quickly, prioritize customer feedback, cultivate a strong corporate culture with new executives, and establish standards-based regulations.

Also Read: 6 innovative solutions for common SMEs problems


Aspiring Indian entrepreneurs can scale up their innovative products or services to maximize their potential by increasing their customer base and earning additional revenue.

But considering the intricacy of the Indian market and the limitations imposed by infrastructure, expanding too rapidly without taking profitability into account will only make laboriously achieved success more difficult.

This guide highlights the critical areas that small business owners must proactively manage: talent development, operational efficiency, financial planning for small businesses, and digital presence for stable scaling. You may lay a future-ready foundation for national expansion by figuring out the points at which you must raise specific capacities.

Must Read: Navigating New Horizons: Emerging Trends in India’s SME and MSME Sectors 

Scaling your small business in India can be overwhelming. This is where my team and I can come to your rescue and provide expert advice specific to your industry's challenges.

Our experts help entrepreneurs strategically scale their businesses across India. We offer ongoing guidance in financial management, operations, talent strategy, supply chain, and technology infrastructure.

Varun Surana

Serial Entrepreneur (Education, Tech, Branding & Community Based Businesses)

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