Service sector

Ease of doing business for MSMEs rises to 67, service sector faces problem

Every business understands that going online is the best way to survive. This feeling has grown much stronger over the past two years. However, the digital journey is not without its challenges. An organization needs the right partner to understand the entire digital landscape, in terms of the right means of investment, the right resources and the right solutions. In most cases, these partners are the aggregators. Where a small business can go, register and log in.

It is very good…! but the biggest obstacle to this relationship is that the company or business still does not have its own online identity.

This is where start-ups such as BizzO come in, which aim to give these companies their own digital identity. “BizzO is a start-up born out of Covid,” says Vineet Toshniwal, its CEO and founder.

The company was established amidst the pandemic in 2021 in Mumbai, when it became imperative for every business to foray into the digital world.

“During the pandemic, people’s livelihoods have been disrupted, especially SMEs. Large companies quickly adapted to the scenario as they had access to the right technologies to run their businesses. SMEs were the most affected. It inspired me to find a solution that would help democratize technology in India,”

Toshniwal tells us.

According to him, thanks to start-ups like BizzO, the digital highway is now available in India with the most affordable data plans, ubiquitous smartphones and one of the cheapest payment systems in the world, where even the Smaller businesses have access to a sophisticated technology stack that was previously only available to large enterprises.

However, Toshniwal’s start-up is more than just a solution provider.

Entrepreneurship with a purpose

There is always a special drive and motivation behind becoming your own boss. For Toshniwal, entrepreneurship is about pursuing your own dreams and thinking outside the box. “It’s about knowing that success and failure will be attributed to the same person. As a thinker, my inclination is to solve the skills problems of the masses, which can only be achieved if you are an entrepreneur and are able to communicate your vision to the broader set of the investment community” , he says while describing the reasons for his determination to become an entrepreneur.

The problem he wanted to solve was to give a digital identity to companies that started their digital journey without any intervention from aggregators. “The interest in creating BizzO was a singular objective: to help small and medium-sized service providers circumvent the growing monopoly of aggregators. BizzO aims to empower them so they can connect directly with their customers,” he adds.

Usually, small independent companies have limited know-how on how to invest in technology and build a digital distribution system for themselves. So over the past decade, aggregators have picked up the slack and helped these companies do just that. However, Toshniwal believes there are several major issues with the aggregator model.

“The advent of the aggregator community gradually led to the loss of brand identity and pricing powers for small and medium-sized businesses. Business margins began to erode significantly as aggregators continued to increase their commission rates. There was also a constant dispute over client ownership,” he tells us.

All of these reasons made Toshniwal realize that small, independent businesses had to stand their ground. “And for that, they’re going to need technology that’s affordable and in the form of an easier-to-use DIY app,” he says.

The first days of BizzO

This isn’t Toshniwal’s first stint as an entrepreneur. His former company CityCash had to navigate many uncertainties during the recurring waves of the pandemic. Which paved the way for his current business BizzO.

“My late father was one of my biggest supporters while I rejected this idea during the pandemic,” Toshniwal says, telling SME Futures that his father has been his biggest motivation and biggest supporter throughout his life. life. And to pay tribute to him, he notably named his father Chief Inspiration Officer of his start-up.

“This position was offered to my father as he was the one who inspired me for the past 12 months to find a solution for small independent businesses. It was mentioned as a tribute to him as he recently passed away,” says -he.

Vineet Toshniwal with the BizzO team

Talking about the challenges, Toshniwal believes that the biggest challenge for any entrepreneur is to communicate their big vision to different groups of people viz. investors or consumers in a simpler way.

“I’ll tell you why communication is important. First of all, it’s a challenge to convey your vision to others. The other challenge is conveying the same vision to your team and making them realize that they are working for a greater cause. You have to be agile enough to respond to market challenges knowing that time is constantly working against you, which forces you to produce quick results,” he says.

And for small business owners, communication is the basic first step to starting their digital journey.

Targeting the travel and hospitality industry

Working with a team of 50 people, BizzO mainly focuses on the travel and hospitality services segment. They belong to this segment due to a few factors, including the large number of service providers that are still unorganized.

According to some market estimates, the travel segment is a $100 billion market in India with a very high growth rate of almost 15%. It should double in the next 5 years. This segment is the second largest job generator in India, employing almost 8% of the country’s workforce.

“This sector is also at the center of the government’s concerns because it brings in huge foreign exchange while generating dignified jobs throughout the year. So this presents immense opportunities for digitized businesses,” Toshniwal tells us.

The other reason is the impact of the pandemic on the business world.

The travel, tourism, hospitality and mobility sectors have been among the hardest hit sectors during the pandemic, bringing their business to almost zero. “Now, since the pandemic is over, all of these sectors are bouncing back for good. They realized that a business must have a variable cost structure by leveraging technology to the fullest, thereby increasing productivity and establishing a direct digital connection with their customers. And we help them accomplish that,” he adds.

With their simple software mechanism, a small business as small as a ticket booking agent can get their website or business application instantly, start receiving payments, and avoid paying aggregator commission by selling directly to his clients. So far, the company has onboarded 20,000 merchants from all over India. Most of them are using the technology for the first time.

“We have received a lot of interest from the hotel sector in Varanasi, Jaipur, Uttarakhand, Rishikesh, Haridwar, Udaipur, Mumbai, Pune, Mahabaleshwar, Bangalore and Mysore as this sector has paid heavy commissions to aggregators,” Toshniwal adds Again.

BizzO pays tribute to small business owners

One city one QR code

Recently, to target more small providers of such services, the start-up has planned an initiative to bring together a number of Indian cities under a single QR code. In this regard, they have already unveiled their very first microsite – GoMahabaleshwar.

“We have digitized all possible service businesses in Mahabaleshwar-Panchgani which is one of the biggest tourist centers in Maharashtra. Everything related to hospitality, from hotels and villas to taxis, karting, adventure and theme parks that did not have a digital presence before, has been digitized by BizzO,” says Toshniwal.

Explaining the concept, Toshniwal says it is a one-of-a-kind initiative that will bring all kinds of local service providers and businesses together in one location. “This in turn will lead to the ease of consumption of the services for consumers, which will lead to increased business and visibility for every businessperson in the city, as the whole city thrives on tourism,” adds he.

One notable thing is that this microsite is collectively owned and operated by the community. Essentially, this will allow the city’s entire travel and tourism ecosystem to be on a single QR code. In the future, the company plans to launch other microsites such as Go Varanasi, Go Mysore, Go Pune, etc.

Additionally, the company’s long-term roadmap is to scale up its operations and expand its footprint.

“We are looking to grow significantly and aim to acquire 2 million merchants over the next year nationwide. We will also launch hundreds of micro-websites based on our One City, One QR Code initiative. On top of that, we seek to boost the local economy through our hyper-local strategy by bringing the entire travel, tourism and hospitality industry together under one QR code, digitizing the entire industry. of the travel and tourism industry,” enthuses Toshniwal.

So far, BizzO has gained popularity in a year and thereby also attracts a lot of investment. “The first round was an angel investment of Rs 3 crores. Overall, we have raised Rs 30 crores so far,” he tells us.

So far, the company is growing at a rapid pace with a network of 20,000 independent small businesses across India and registering almost Rs 1 lakh per day GMV.