05 Jan 2017
Building a career from scratch isn’t always hunky-dory. After putting your thinking caps on to relieve the world from even the least of its troubles, there comes the responsibility to direct your business idea from recent to revolutionary.
Firstly, when you endeavor to create a business empire, it’s important to plan your startup launch strategy if you don’t want things to go haywire. You can’t just leave everything on serendipity.
Unless, you’re quite fond of people professing intellectual property theft, in which case, you can wait till the Shark Tank responds to your fan mail!
But for all other people, who want to own a ridiculously successful company that focuses on personalizing tea, here’s what you need to do.
In today’s world, with all the competition, we’re losing a clear sight of what we need and what we want. The cut-throat global market is making people more obsessive about money-making rather than problem-solving.
It’s imperative that we identify the existing issues and act on them. If you think you have the business skills backed up by a brilliant idea, then use your startup to change the dynamics of the world for better. After all, it’s all about the impact!
As Patt Flynn correctly pointed out, “Keep in mind your ‘why.’ You have a precise motive for doing what you do.”
You need to be aware of the reason why you didn’t sell off your business venture. Are you interested in going through the hassles of becoming a great entrepreneur and eradicating a difficulty in your city (and, eventually, from everywhere else) or is earning a few quick bucks more appealing to you? Of course, startups do earn you a fair share of banknotes, but it isn’t an instantaneous process.
So, if you have the passion and the vigor to be the change you want to see in the world, you’ve already answered this question!
With such an immense task ahead, you’re probably in need of some inspiration. So, here are a few examples of astounding success stories, which began somewhat alike your startup tale:
Amazon – Buy stuff without catching a stranger’s judgmental eye. Initially, Bezos (Amazon founder) had envisioned to start an internet enterprise which would sell approximately 20 kinds of products that according to him were apt for online purchase; none of these included clothing (which has now become one of the primary goods sold online).
Dropbox – Need to transfer an entire drive, but you’ve got an 8 GB pen drive? Don’t worry; Dropbox is your mate. But, doesn’t that sound similar to iCloud? Little do people know, that iCloud is the poorly attempted blow Steve Jobs dealt to Drew Houston (Dropbox founder) when he turned down Apple’s offer to relinquish his startup. What did he win? Only about 50-million users and still counting.
Uber – Cab drivers have incessant ways to complain when you can call them through an app, and they can’t refuse. Uber actually, started out as a rental service for limousines and steadily expanded when the creators recognized that people rode cabs to places more than a gaudy limo to parties. So, they imitated Lyft’s (an app for students to carpool) business model and there was no turning back for them.
PayTM – Go cashless by downloading an app on your phone when there’s too much drama about new banknotes. Founder Vijay Shekhar Sharma, with his engineering background, proves to all enthusiastic entrepreneurs that anybody who is willing to work hard can too, build his own startup and take control of its marketing policies.
As per the previous section, you’ve already seen that there are many kinds of glitches in the system you can opt for to make your startup a raging success story. But, if you want to make sure that your idea is original and fresh, here are some techniques using which you can trace any ideas akin:
Search On Google – Too clichéd, but effective.
Startup Social Media – Mashable, YourStory and NextBigWhat write startup stories.
Access To SlideShare – Some startup ideas present in slideshow format are available on public domain.
Set Google Alerts – Create alerts based on keywords so that you know your competitors.
Inbound Links – Found on Open Site Explorer.
If you’ve found out that your startup idea has analogies to some other business concept which belongs to someone else, don’t panic. You can still tweak your startup project so that even though it’s related to another business model, it doesn’t violate any copyright conditions. Imagine if Facebook hadn’t been created, just because MySpace existed!
Every ship needs a co-captain. Likewise, a startup can really benefit by having two pilots to manage its flight.
Cofounders help you by sharing the burden of your troubles. Startups require very high maintenance, and you can use a friend who can assist you with the decision-making. Second opinions do matter.
So, before you think of going solo, here is a list of few reasons you need to reconsider:
Spend a little less – Early fundraisers can be exhaustive to your bank balance. It’s always preferable to distribute the expenditure when you’ve got an entrepreneur-slash-friend.
Keep the investors at ease – Some investing firms, such as Beachwood Ventures, prefer a team lead by two captains or more.
Troubleshooting gets better – You’ll have moments when you’re browbeating about an issue that seems unsolvable. In such cases, a co-founder can guide you with an alternative perspective.
Too much knowledge – There may be things your partner is better at than you are. For example, you’re perhaps a techie who’s new to marketing and your partner is an MBA graduate to whom, codes look like scrambled letter. Together, you make the A-team (just like Facebook)!
What if you don’t know many people interested in co-founding your startup? Look up these websites, and you’re sure to find an entrepreneurial partner:
Accelerator programs have a fixed time frame in which a startup company works with a group of mentors to build their business without problems.
An accelerator helps a startup complete roughly two years of business in a matter of months. At the end of the program, the startups gain experience on being fostered under skilful mentorship.
Following accelerator programs are beneficial for startups that want to grow under splendid guidance:
GSF, India – Selects innovative startups among the huge pool of applications received. Provides initial capital, exposure to business networks, personalized training by skilled mentors and access to angel investment.
TLabs – Accelerator programs take place in February and August. It provides Rs. 30 Lakhs of seed fund to online and mobile technology industry.
5ideas – Takes up only five startup projects at a time. Invests about Rs. 2.5 crore on each of the selected applicants.
Microsoft Accelerators – The technical support in this accelerator program is praise-worthy. This program is for later-stage startups.
Axilor Ventures – It applies a finishing school type of technique in training startups in their early stage. Startups that meet investment goals get funding up to Rs. 25 lakhs.
Incubator programs increase the odds of success for a budding company by providing secondary resources like office space, professional services, and business advice. These programs don’t exactly train the founders under curriculum. There’s also no strict time frame to abide by.
Here are the names of some incubators:
Indian Angel Network(IAN) Incubator – Upon selections, 12 months of incubation is offered to startups.
Rural Technology and Business Incubator, IIT Madras – This is the only incubator focusing on a rural or underprivileged segment of the startup economy.
Unltd – Offers incubation to social entrepreneurs. It helps in scaling up of business and funding.
Zone Startups – Supported by the Department Of Science & Technology, Government of India, startups are offered support in their initial stage.
Technology Business Incubator (TBIU), IIT Delhi – Entrepreneurs eligible for the incubation program must be an academic staff member, students, alumni, or a startup company formed by first generation entrepreneurs.
Know what you need to write. Keep in mind that the business plan contains what you think are the steps to a successful business.
The core elements present in every business plan:
Albeit, no man is alike; same is the case for business plans. Different business plans are required for different businesses.
In the era of the digital world, it is commonly perceived that marketing must be easier as globalization has enabled a larger target audience than previously. But, contrarily, it so happens that even still, marketing is a challenge for startups. Unlike business plans, marketing plans can have different features for different companies. Nonetheless, here are a few pointers to add to your marketing strategy:
Explain Your Business Objectives – You don’t have to make your plan look extremely sophisticated. Clarify what you envision for your company. Try to describe how you will evaluate sales, awareness and customer referral.
Use Marketing Teams To Emerge – Identify opportunities to expand with the help of marketing executives. Make your teamwork in order to find expanding opportunities and running test and learn programs to estimate the company’s value.
Strategy and Innovation Don’t Go Hand In Hand – Strategy and innovation shouldn’t be in the same clause. Innovation is a messy job and strategy should be clear-cut and well-defined. Innovations may not sometimes work because it involves trying out new methods for marketing, but the strategy needs to have specific aims.
Build Awareness In The Marketplace – Find a strategy to create recognition for your product or service. Advertising campaigns that are catchy will certainly, generate more number of customers who are aware of the product.
We know that startups require a Treasury to operate. So, there are various kinds of funding that one can choose from.
Based on the following points, investors determine how suitable is a particular startup as per their preference:
Zeal, commitment and eminence of the founders.
The company’s potential to meet the market needs and to generate a decent amount of market need as well.
A clearly chalked out, well-thought business plan impresses all. Why should angel investors be impartial to the great planning?
Interesting technology that’s as unique as your startup itself.
Ways to raise funds if the company requires it in further stages.
Proper valuation of the company. It’s not priceless to everyone.
After this elaborate introduction to angel funding, you’re probably interested in looking for the investors. Luckily for you, India is a hub for many such investors.
Angel funding is provided by investors in the initial stage of a startup (when there is no clear-cut business model and experimentation is at its peak) in exchange for equity ownership. Companies like Uber, Whatsapp, and Facebook, ecstatic with their success, turned their efforts towards angel funding.
But, even such big shots of the business world do not have access to unlimited money. So, they choose companies they prefer more over others and act as their Moneypenny. Not everyone’s 007, right?
5 Angel Funding Investors:
Sunil Kalra – Known for negotiation and networking. Biased towards entrepreneurs with zeal and never-give-up attitude.
Sharad Sharma – Focuses more on the gaming and online industry.
Rajan Anandan – Focuses on entrepreneurs involved with cloud computing, digital media, consumer internet, etc.
Meena Ganesh – Founder at PORTEA.
Krishnan Ganesh – Looks for a startup with a great team and high prospects for scalability.
Venture capital funds are investment funds provided to tremendously promising startup enterprises (the ones that have a definite business model and need the money to scale).
** Who are the investors providing venture capital funding? Here are 5 of them**:
Helion Venture Partners – Offers practical advice alongside funding.
Accel Partners – Assists technology entrepreneurs.
Blume Ventures – Seed-stage venture fund backs startups with finances, mentoring and support.
Sequoia Capital – Focuses on the technology industry.
Nexus Venture Partners – Provides strategic guidance and team building along with funding.
Some government schemes for startups’ benefit:
India Aspiration Fund – Only Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises are eligible for this fund.
10K Startups – It is a NASSCOM initiative which has acceleration, incubation and funding programs.
SIDBI – Promotes youth entrepreneurship.
Startup Village – Available for student entrepreneurs only.
Identity can get lost amidst all the writings. The best way to make people recognize your business is by creating a logo for your startup.
The ways to design for your company are:
In-house design – Designers are hired by businesses to design specifically for the company. But then, building an explicit design is often trying for many graphic designers.
Agencies for designing – Online agencies like Basic provide fantastic and professional designs for a company but charge quite an exorbitant amount for it.
Freelance designers – Sites like 99designs.com is a hub for freelance graphic designers. This option is easy on the wallet, but the quality is not really assured.
Crowdsourcing – Internet users contribute to organizations or individuals to obtain a required services or ideas. Quality can again be compromised if you don’t make an informed decision. Websites like CrowdStudio offers great quality designs within a reasonable price.
If you think this article was tiresome, wait till you try to grab hold of your first investors. Endless alterations and hours of convincing come your way!
Just kidding. We are not trying to discourage you. We’re just showing you the flip side of the coin. Another side of the story is that once your startup is a success, there’s no stopping you. You’ll make a change in the world; you’ll earn a few bucks (okay, maybe a few more), probably star on the front page of the magazine Forbes and last, but definitely not the least, you may even become the Startup of The Year!
How’s that for encouragement?
So, now that you’ve learned all about how you need to start your startup all that is left is to get at it. So, get cracking!