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How to make your startup future-ready

Deepika Singhania
10th Mar 2017
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This story is sponsored by Vodafone.

For startups, networking is like a booster shot. It gives entrepreneurs a chance to meet like-minded people, learn from them, and think out of the box. Meetups such as the Vodafone ‘Think Big, Scale Right’ event recently held in Bengaluru provide a great platform for entrepreneurs to interact, and take away valuable pointers on how to drive their company’s growth.

As a startup, there are several challenges to overcome. The meetup mainly focused on how startups can overcome some of these problems.

Customers are valuable

Speaking at the event, Shehzad Karkhanawala, Senior Marketing Manager at global SD-WAN company Aryaka, said, “The best approach for a company to succeed and scale is to create something that’s valuable to the end customer. That, and getting the right people on board. You need to find the right kind of talent. There are always going to be people smarter than you. If you’re lucky enough to find them, hire them.”

He added, “As we scaled, we found that we need people with definite skill sets. That shift from generalists to specialists needs to happen.” He went on to explain how it is important for startups to market their product to target customers such that the latter can actually visualise their product.

Ajay Sehgal, Senior Vice President - SME Business at Vodafone Business Services, said that resolution of customer problems should be one of the main areas of focus for a startup. In fact, this thought resonated throughout the event.

Startup solutions

Ajay also shared Vodafone’s journey from the time it began as a startup. Now a global telecommunications giant, the company has been working with other startup unicorns for five years now. Speaking to the audience, he said, “We want to work with you, so that we can create synergy and do something different.” He urged people to understand what IoT can do for their startup.

Businesses face several challenges while they are trying to stay ahead of competition, whether it is the way they conduct their daily business, their online presence, or their customers’ needs. The Experience Zone demonstrated solutions that will help startups overcome these problems, enabling them to take their growth story forward.

The journey: From Prototype to Product

The evening also saw a panel discussion with the likes of Asutosh Upadhyay, Head-Programs, Axilor Ventures; Rameswar Misra, SVP at Voonik; Dev Pathi, Director of Engineering, Capital Float; Deepak Azad, Sr. Marketing Manager, Aryaka Networks and Ajay Sehgal. The discussion entirely revolved on the transition from ‘Prototype to Product’.

Problem-solving

According to Ashutosh, the problem lies in the way startups treat their prototype. “Most startups, fortunately or unfortunately, are run by engineers. The trick lies in not ‘over-engineering’ your product.” Instead, startups should become storytellers and convey their product’s story to the customer, he added.

The panelists also spoke about how important it is to interact with the customers. At the end of the day, every startup runs because they’re solving a customer problem. The main takeaway from the discussion was that startups have to be passionate about the problem they’re solving. Some startups end up creating a problem even when there isn’t one.

The discussion concluded on the note that running a startup is more than just about being your own boss or the money. It’s about believing that there is a problem that you can solve efficiently, to create customer delight.

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