Lateral Sparks: The Business Creativity Quiz, Edition 3
This weekly quiz from YourStory tests your domain knowledge, business acumen, and lateral thinking skills (see last week’s quiz here). In this third edition of the quiz, we present 5 issues tackled by real-life entrepreneurs in their startup journeys.
What would you do if you were in their shoes? At the end of the quiz, you will find out what the entrepreneurs themselves actually did. Would you do things differently?
Q 1: Pandemic impact on music
The COVID-19 pandemic has severely dented the live music industry. Government schemes, charitable donations, and crowdfunding have helped alleviate some of the challenges faced by musicians, both professional and hobbyist. So what’s another good way for musicians to monetise their talent? Setting up their own online training services could be one option – but what is another approach that is more convenient and scaleable?
Q2: Leadership attributes
Much has been said about the desired qualities of a leader. Having a clear purpose, an inspiring vision, and a mission that everyone can align with are key. Showing the way through action, empowering frontliners, and being a coach and mentor are also part of the picture. But another important aspect of leadership is being acknowledged these days, in terms of how to deal with challenges and failures. Weakness may also be a source of strength – what quality brings this out?
Q3: Business scale
Many success factors are behind organisations that have scaled well. These include the use of digital technology, cultivating an ecosystem of partners, clearly solving customers’ problems, and being able to extract value for the company and its investors. Viral marketing, outstanding design, high quality, and an inspired team aligned with a charismatic leader are also key. But there is one more crucial factor, related to the way the organisation functions. What is that key scale factor?
Q4: Entrepreneurial thinking
Whether students launch their own startups or join a large firm and become ‘intrapreneurs,’ it is widely acknowledged that some amount of entrepreneurial education is needed in schools and colleges. Students can become job creators, not just job seekers – and so a number of courses, research support, internship opportunities, site visits, mentorship programmes, hackathons, and guest lectures are being arranged in order to instill this mindset. But that is not enough. Two more factors can help support entrepreneurial thinking of students – what are they?
Q5: Business storefront
Businesses have innovated over the years to attract customers to their storefronts, both physical and virtual. Showroom and website design are some such approaches. In the online world, we have seen a mushrooming of methods like compelling content, immersive experiences, influencer marketing, celebrity endorsements, creative memes, and super-apps. But another method is grabbing attention – what is this powerful new positioning of the digital storefront?
Congratulations on having come this far! But there’s more to come – answers to these five questions (below), as well as links to articles with more details on the entrepreneurs’ solutions. Happy reading, happy learning – and happy creating!
A1: Pandemic impact on music
Set up a marketplace platform to connect musicians and students! That’s what Hyderabad-based Muzigal does, a startup founded in 2020. Music teachers and artistes can even earn up to Rs 50,000 a month, according to founder Lakshminarayana Yeluri. Muzigal charges a commission from the students – trials are free, and each class then costs around Rs 400. It has also been funded by Kalaari Capital, and is planning a US launch later this year. It claims to have connected 400 teachers with 10,000 learners already. Read more here.
A2: Leadership attributes
Accepting and communicating that all is not OK can actually be effective for a leader, instead of trying to always be a superhuman with all the answers. “A certain amount of vulnerability is always especially crucial for all leaders,” explains Wendy Johnstone, COO-APAC, Zendesk. Showing vulnerability can also create psychological safety for others in teams and organisations, and allows them to share their issues in comfort as well. For example, Wendy admits that she faces Zoom fatigue during these pandemic times, and reschedules calls or switches off video. Read more here.
A3: Business scale
Processes! Playbooks, embedded processes, best practices, and even simple checklists are key to helping a company scale. A spirit of hustle and do everything yourself on the fly are great in the early stages of a startup – but lessons learnt need to be captured and systematised, so that they can be replicated and improved over time. These are some of the many tips given by Akansha Kumari, Director of Product Management at Dunzo. A culture focused on process is part of what knowledge management practices and learning organisations do well. Read more here.
A4: Entrepreneurial thinking
Prototyping facilities and founder funds. A number of colleges and schools have launched facilities and even makerspaces for prototyping, such as woodcutting, textiles, and 3D printing. The Atal Tinkering Labs programme advocates a constructivist approach to learning, by combining analytical and creative thinking. As for founder support, VC firm 9Unicorns has announced that it is launching a student-focused VC fund, starting off with IITs and IIMs. This will help fund students to launch their startup even before graduation. In the US, the Dorm Room fund has already been launched in this space by First Round Capital. Read more here.
A5: Business storefront
“Conversations represent the new digital storefront for businesses — virtually every business will need to build them,” explains Beerud Sheth, Co-founder and CEO, Gupshup. This Indian unicorn aims to transform digital commerce with conversational messaging. It has a presence on four continents already, and processes over six billion messages per month. Social media is already transitioning to social commerce in many cases. From early SMS to Whatsapp today, messaging has become an integral part of our lives for communication, and will open up new opportunities for commerce as well. Read more here.
YourStory has also published the pocketbook ‘Proverbs and Quotes for Entrepreneurs: A World of Inspiration for Startups’ as a creative and motivational guide for innovators (downloadable as apps here: Apple, Android).