This guest column is by Mohan Prabakaran, CEO, Purebus.com
India is the second most populous country in the world. Normal people might think about how to control the ever growing population of India. But if you are young person with the new ideas and a spirit to bring a change, you can use the populous to establish a great business with your talent. India does need more companies and more employment opportunities, to boost its economy.
A lot of people means a lot of opportunity for me. You should think the same so that it can make you find new ideas which can be used by those people. So what’s up? If you already have an outstanding idea, then you are four steps ahead of the competition.
The next step is establishing your company. In the initial stage, everybody calls that as a startup. When you start a company, you must have an enough financial backup to run your company. A lot of people are struggling at this stage and drop their startup plans. Here are my ten tips which I have been using to run multiple Indian startups without financial problems with my own fund.
1. Know Your Competition and Available Space in the Market
So you have decided to start a company which serves people by providing a product/service. The first step is to checkout companies offering similar services. Don’t think that “ My service is unique, and I am the first in the market”. There are lot people in the world who would have the same thoughts and ideas as you. If your concept is new in your country, there might be another company who has been providing the same service for a long time or have started even a few moments ago in their country.
Know your industry leaders and study about them and their history. What could be the biggest source to find ideas to improve your company, other than your industry-leading competitor?
Check all of their market value and how much market share they have acquired.
Check for the remaining space in the market. There will always be a space which no one else can fulfil. This is your chance, and you can get it.
2. Know the Future of your Industry
There are so many thought leaders in the industry who mainly predict the future market value of different industries. This will help you to predict the future for your own company. Your planning phase should integrate the future value of the industry. Don’t make plan considering current value of the market.
When the value grows, the space in the market also grows along with it. It will increase the worth of your business. Where do you read all those industry news? Online industry news portals like iamwire, Forbes, Inc, Entrepreneur can help you. Read all of them regularly and you will get an idea. They are putting in a lot of hard work to help people who are starting a company.
3. Know your Target Customer and Calculate the Cost to Reach Them
Decide whom you are going to sell your service or products to, and how will you reach them. If you have anything to sell, you have to reach people who might like your products and convince them to buy your service/products. For this, you need a buyer persona so that you can easily identify the requirements of your customer. Implement a strategy to fulfil their requirement.
4. Find Out the Pain Points of your Customer
All companies in this world can’t satisfy or fulfil all the customer’s requirements, and this is your chance. When you launch your products, bring a relief to their pain points, you are definitely going to get people and make them your loyal customers. Remember one thing, when a company grows and becomes a bigger brand, it can’t always satisfy their customer with the same dedication. This is due to high volumes of customers. Some percentage of people will look for alternates for their solution, unless you innovate on yours.
5. Ask Feedback from your Customer
When a customer buys your products or use your services, then you have to ask them feedback about your service or products. Some might have been satisfied and some might not. When you ask them for a feedback, you can figure out the ratio. If your positive feedback is higher than negative and neutral feedback, it means you are doing good (But always look to improve)
But if neutral feedback is high, it means you are giving the same service as equal to your giant competitor. If you are not finding anything new to resolve it, then you will lose.
6. Differentiate Yourself from your Competitor
If you are entirely a clone of your industry leader, your possibility of getting found will be low. So find a thing to differentiate your service or products from your competitor. It will give you exposure. It is important for all new startups. Same service and same approach mean people always choose to buy from brands. Be different or be unique
7. Be a Friend to your Customer Not Just a Service Provider
If a user uses your service multiple times, you have to make sure that you are maintaining a healthy relationship with them. When you have a friendship apart from business relationship, it will help you in retaining the existing customer and the chance of getting exposure from word of mouth is high. This is still a powerful tactic to improve your business.
8. Don’t Hesitate to implement a New Idea
A lot of startup companies are doing this mistake. If they are running smoothly and getting sales for their products and service, they might think about new ideas, but don’t end up implementing them. This is because of the fear that they may lose existing customers if their idea fails. Judging an idea without implementation is not a good method to grow a company. There is a big chance for getting good reviews for your ideas. So do not hesitate, just implement and check it.
9. Do Not Expect ROI as Money
In the initial stage, you should not expect ROI as money. If you expect that, then you will fail. Those who expect monetary ROI, particularly in B2C, will end up frustrated. Your ROI will be in another dimension which you can’t measure or identify. In my case, I expected ROI as Brand exposure for my startup Purebus. This is the reason for the success and the ability to compete with major brands.
10. Plan for a Long Time, Not for the Short Term
Plan for a long time and don’t make a short plan for your startup because long term plans will lead you to a long distance and help you to survive in the industry. Make a plan for at least three years.
In this planning stage, you have to decide the following
- How much money I have?
- How long can it be used?
- Campaigns to execute in that period
- Minimum and Maximum ROI
- Measure ROI in various forms
These steps are not only applicable for startups, but you can also use it for your non-tech businesses. We have been following this strategy for five of our companies. It gave us the ability to survive for the long period. So don’t wait and don’t hesitate to try new things.