From startup to unicorn: How companies can go beyond the status quo

Having a vast pool of new ideas and products, startups need to pave their way right from inception. To scale a startup like a unicorn, the business needs to set both short-term and long-term goals that align with the company’s vision.
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Every year, a plethora of innovative ideas turn into full-fledged businesses. Some are successful, while others face a slump. Only a small percentage attain the status of a unicorn startup. The startups that reach the valuation of $1 billion become unicorns. Rising from the nascent stage to becoming a unicorn is not impossible but comes with its set of challenges.

As of now, India has over 81 unicorns with a total valuation of $274.14 billion. In fact, the past four years have seen an increase in unicorn startups with over 66 percent YoY growth. This being said, unicorns are the startups that go beyond the status quo. Now, the question is, how do they set themselves apart from the overarching competition?

Disrupts the existing industry with new-age innovations

Innovation is at the core of every startup. Disruptive innovation is essentially important for startups that aspire to be unicorns. Startups should focus on developing creative and advanced solutions while going beyond the conventional offerings in the market.

In the business world, almost every innovator starts by experimenting with different product offerings and business models. The main aim is to create, curate, and build simpler as well as cost-effective solutions that are at par with the high-end products in the market.

Over time, these customer-centric products harness an audience and become indispensable with their value proposition. Thus, every unicorn startup creates a disruptive impact in the target market segment.

Offering one-of-its-kind solution

Recognising the need of the hour, unicorns usually come up with first-of-its-kind solutions. They change how the industry operates by introducing more indulging, efficient and customer-focused products. While starting with a new offering, they create a niche market and become a necessity after a while.

Additionally, continuous innovation is another factor that startups should focus on. A set of advanced features in addition to the old offerings retain as well as increase the target audience. Therefore, while providing a one-of-its-kind creative solution, aspiring startups should keep on innovating to stay at the top.

Greater focus on customer-centric services

Customers remain the central focus for both B2B and B2C companies. Most unicorns hold one thing in common. They are customer-centric. For startups, it’s essential to determine the requirements of their target audience when building a product.

In the tech-savvy world, the unicorns startups are usually the ones who’ve been giving major attention to the user experience. They bring a strong value proposition for the consumers with simpler, easier and intuitive solutions.

In simpler terms, customer-centric products equipped with technology create a niche for the product in the market while attracting potential investments.

Leverage next-gen technology

From the market perspective, the technology keeps evolving, and more businesses adopt new technologies to enhance their products. It helps meet the changing consumer demands.

Most growing companies continuously scale their technical capabilities. Using cloud computing to AI, ML, and robotic technologies allows businesses to operate more efficiently while offering state-of-the-art solutions and services to clients.

To go beyond, startups should experiment and innovate for enhanced tech-enabled products. Most unicorns have tech-based products and employ constant technological advancements to achieve the status.

In fact, a NASSCOM study states that over 60 percent of the total Indian unicorns belong to the tech-based industry segments, including ecommerce, SaaS, and fintech. Therefore, startups should adopt and upgrade their existing products with futuristic technology to have an edge over their contemporaries.

Technological advancements paving the way

Unicorns offer the best-in-class products and services. In the tech-savvy world with seamless connectivity and increased digital consumption, startups can even base their business model or product on technology.

As per a report, out of all unicorns, over 87 percent belong to the software segment, 7 percent belong to the hardware segment, while the remaining 6 percent offer other products and services.

Currently, the startup ecosystem is going through a major transformation. Unicorns are a combination of a great idea, the right resources, and adept technology. They cater to the demands and requirements of the target customer segment with state-of-the-art solutions. Hence, a startup aspiring to be a unicorn should have a growth-driven vision.

In simple words, there is no set path to build a unicorn startup, but an array of characteristics tread the path for startups to emerge as unicorns. India is the third-largest hub for startups.

In 2021 alone, India witnessed an emergence of over 42 unicorns. The pace at which startups are transforming the world with innovative tech-enabled solutions will not slow down.

Therefore, start by developing a customer-centric, intuitive, and affordable product that solves the user’s problem and then scale up the business by upgrading the offerings to reach the prerequisites of a unicorn gradually.

Edited by Kanishk Singh

(Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of YourStory.)

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