Last week I had the good fortune to be able to attend TiE Smashup Mumbai 3.0 – an annual unconference for the startups, by the startups.
The day brought forward tons of startup insights. Here are the top seven ‘aha’ moments for me:
1. India’s economy is indeed going through a slowdown. However, don’t wait for the next two years to startup. In reality, customers are much more likely to switch in bad times so seize the opportunity and convince them to use your new innovation instead
2. No one has ever looked at rural India as a market seriously. We have been trained to view this market through an urban prism and feel that people in rural India don’t do anything beyond harvesting crops or dealing with the next natural crises. We are wrong. Rural India now spends more than urban India across a wide range of sectors such as FMCG, Auto etc.
3. Be naïve about the environment – just like you may have been when you first started. Constantly question why you are following a certain process or doing things a certain way. Innocence and naivety to a large degree helps keep focus on key goals alive.
4. Don’t focus on ‘vanity matrices’ such as number of likes or amount of pageviews. Instead, measure the matrices that have a real impact on revenues – these will differ based on your individual business model.
5. In B-to-B businesses, the first ten sales have to be done by the founders themselves – these sales give you valuable feedback about your product, how you approach customers and helps you fine tune your pitch – never outsource these!
6. While you may consider your startup to be your child, unlike children you must starve your startup. Make do with just enough resources, stretch capacities, have high targets – all of these will ensure that your startup grows sustainably.
7. Once you get funded, you will probably become a startup all over again, regardless of how long you have been in business. The processes, values, goals inculcated in the first nine months after getting funded will last for the next nine years so pay attention and keep your eyes on the ball.
What have your top aha moments been so far in your startup journey? Interested in starting up but need help to develop and refine your business model?