The Government of India’s Startupindia action plan includes promising policies like startup funding, single point registration, simplified regime, fast track patent application, and tax exemptions to list a few.
These steps are being taken to support Indian entrepreneurship and ease of doing business for the self-employment of young talent in India. On one hand, we see the government being very supportive for startups and on the other we have a real high rate of startup failures.
The term startup in itself gives an incomparable satisfaction. However, all that glitters is not gold. Startups in India face a lot of problems and as said above, and failure percentage is very high.
There has been a lot of analysis on why startups fail to succeed. Reasons like
- Inappropriate team
- Lack of finances
- Lack of marketability of product
- Non effective or no business plan
- Lack of commitments
- Poor control over finances
The above find their way as the top reasons for failure. We concentrate most of our discussion on reasons of failure and not solutions. The solutions that can help a startup become successful.
Let us start by saying that it is not necessary that every startup will become a multi-billion entity overnight. It is obvious that time is required for growth of the startup. Each startup is guided by an idea and that idea should get its due reward, most appropriately, financial reward.
Here are the solutions for building successful startups
- Getting the Co-founder / Right Talent:
It is not necessary that each startup will need a co-founder but each startup does need the right talent. Interestingly, a whopping 63 percent of startups fail due to absence of the right team. A right team would comprise of people possessing at least the following skills:
a) Marketing – You need to know how to sell the product. We have seen good products fail due to the lack of proper marketing.
b) Consumer understanding – Consumer is the King. One needs to understand the mindset of the consumer for selling the product. See the prospects of your product from the consumer’s prospective.
c) Negotiation – Negotiation skills are very important when it comes to building a successful startup. You may bargain your price with the customer when dealing in bulk and vice-versa. Negotiating on terms of agreement also proves as a game changer for many organisations.
d) Technology savvy – We had to keep this in the list as businesses these days literally fail because they don’t have a good tech team. Each business today is strongly driven by technology.
- Marketable product
Around 42 percent of the startups fail because they are trying to sell something that has no market. Solutions,
a) Proper analysis of the market to be catered to – A product may not be required in a certain market. Businesses are driven by consumers’ requirement and not by sellers’ passion. Think with the consumers’ prospective.
b) Critical analysis of the product for improvement – You may have a brilliant product in store but there is nothing termed as ‘perfect’ as far as a product is concerned, there will always be a scope for improvement.
- No business plan
Ouch! This is a pain point. Imagine driving to your new office and expecting to reach on time when you don’t know the way. Many would answer, “We have a GPS!” Well, GPS is also a part of your plan. When you need a plan for driving to your new office, then imagine this is a new venture all together. Yes, you need a plan! A sketch, a flowchart, a to-do list. Just make it as fool-proof as possible. Solution,
a) Make a well drafted business plan comprising of a business model
b) Make it as structured as possible
c) Include marketing strategies: marketing strategy could range from internet marketing strategies, networking strategies, newspaper advertisements to organising shows or demonstrations of your product. Analyse the strategy most suitable for you.
Now once you have a good product in store and a decent skilled team, it’s time to keep the wheels rolling, and suddenly you are stuck with cash crunch. You start running for funding more than ever. Oh! yes, you had expected it but not in the initial stages of your business.
Well wait, funding is the first thing you try and plan for, it is not necessary that you will get an angel investor first up but you need to become a driving force so that the investment flows and flows for good. Sorry if you skipped the keyword here it is ‘DRIVING FORCE’. So the solutions,
a) Become known in the market using personal network, internet, social media – Discussing with people often leads to their interest in your business, you never know when someone may like your idea and jump in with an association.
b) Product Recognition: Bring your product to a certain level wherein you can pitch in for an investor. Like you, even an investor is worried about his money and would rarely invest in just an idea. A full featured product needs to exist before you can seek an investment.
- Persistence and commitment
Golden words! Easy to read, difficult to implement. Never leave your passion and always be committed and persistent.
- Poor compliance & financial control
We have a lot of registrations and compliance in India. A startup will require services like company registrations, trademark applications, and Registrar of Companies compliance. There is an existing load on the startup already, in terms of work and financial load.
- Adjusting to change
Even after having a good product which can cater to a good market, it is important to keep evolving. Humans have reached this age by constant evolution, why wouldn’t your own startup need it. Solution,
- Keep a close watch on competitors
- Think creatively about your product and constant improvement of the same
- Try improving established systems so your customers can be served better and quick
Every startup will face challenges. "Ups and downs in life are very important to keep us going, because a straight line even in an ECG means we are not alive" - Ratan Tata (Industrialist - India). The important thing is being persistent and holding the turf. Trying not to fall in the troughs mentioned above.
(Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of YourStory.)