Moulding scalable ideas that can transcend borders
Entrepreneurs must fall in love with the customer, rather than their product, said Ajit Sivadasan, President and Global Head of D2C, Lenovo, on the opening day of TechSparks 2021, India's most influential startup-tech conference organised by YourStory.
With the theme 'What's Next: Rethinking the future', TechSparks 2021 is providing a platform for the most defining conversations on how disruptive technology innovations can shape our lives post pandemic.
"While entrepreneurs should always think about what customer needs, they must also anticipate what changes customers might ask for in the product," Sivadasan noted, during his keynote on 'Grow. Adapt. Innovate. Lead: The Journey to Internationalisation' on Monday.
“It is imperative that you think about the end-to-end journey as a customer progresses through the brand you are building because, most of the time, the weakest links will derail you,” Sivadasan said.
The Lenovo veteran and its Global Head of D2C trained the focus on internationalisation or "scalable ideas that can transcend borders". For this, startups must have a solid team in place for the future within three or five years of operations and growth in a market, Sivadasan said.
Drawing from Lenovo's experience in more than 180 markets across America, Europe, West Asia and China, Sivadasan spoke about three key tenets while expanding in new markets
- Keep an eye on the adjacencies: "Maybe, it’s currency. Maybe, it’s language or culture. But, always try to find the commonality as you try to expand because it is much easier, and you don’t have to second-guess customer behaviour, or worry about nuances that could derail your progress,” he explained.
- Think about products that resonate with the audience in a deep way: “If you’re trying to follow a product, idea or service, think about how you’re going to introduce something that is slightly better, and that can be easily differentiated for your audience,” Sivadasan said.
- Perfecting a product kills time: “Always have the idea of an MVP (minimum viable product), which is to get the product to a stage where it can function. And then, use the feedback as you introduce the product to make it better. Iterate around the product rather than trying to make it perfect on the first go,” he said.
This doesn't take anything away from the value of testing products repeatedly in changing conditions and for dynamic requirements, Sivadasan asserted.
“As you’re going through the process, you will go through some pretty hard decisions and hard environmental events that could potentially make you feel like you’re not going to make it," he said. "But at the end of the day, the journey has to be the most interesting part."
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