“It's hard to lead a cavalry charge if you think you look funny on a horse." - Adlai E. Stevenson II
Startups are significant. They are the new ‘in’ in business sphere. They play a critical role in development of a country. Growing market, favorable funding, and technology has really made the startup ecosystem take off.Who would have thought some years ago that Filters! That's right, filters could make Instagram so popular. Or, you could call cleaners to cab and everything in between at doorsteps with a mere touch of a button. Startups are nothing but an idea that manifests into a commercial undertaking. The growing number of startups in India is certainly not an elapsing trend and is here to stay.
Moreover, the recent Prime Ministerial visit has certainly helped impetus startup ecosystem in India. Indian startups take a lot of their learning from Silicon Valley. However,a direct comparison between Silicon Valley and Indian startup is not sagacious. Every country has their own set challengesin terms of government policies, permissions, raising capital, competition, unforeseen challenges, etc.
Here’s a lowdown on some of the challenges faced by startups in India so as to better prepared and address the situation:
- Hiring the right talent
Hiring the right talent for your startup can be quite an uphill task.To find and hire the right kind of talent for the business with skills to match growing customer expectations is one of the biggest challenges. With low salaries in comparison with other corporates,hiring skilled manpower may not be possible and so you may have to settle for the next best option. You may have to convince people to join you. The key is to spread your passion and motivate people to be as passionate. Right talent will ensure rock solid foundation which will help your startup to take the plunge.
Investors and startups go hand in hand. Sometimes the investor’s response to a startups ecosystem can be sluggish. Scaling is prudent in case of a startup and scaling comes from capital.
The challenge is not to merely generate enough seed capital but also to support in expansion and sustenance and maintenance. It is critical to plan your finances in advance. Factor in all the elements and set a budget, try and maintain this as much as possible to be on track.Set a specific budget for PR, marketing, advertising. In the end, it’s important to remember thatexternal capital can only give the necessary push to your business, it cannot run the business, hence focus on creating value and solving the problem of the people
- Cultural views and lack of infrastructure support
There is little tolerance for failure in our country. Our focus is still on getting reputable jobs in a reputable company. In complement to that, infrastructural support such as incubation and funding are not easy to find in India. Irregular power supply, telephone reception network, etc. can be a hindrance to the growth of any business. Corruption free environment, friendly regulations, good connectivity, healthy environment, efficient logistic support, can help a great deal in attracting investor in the country.
- Absence of mentor
Young entrepreneurs usually have unique ideas however they lack experience. A brilliant idea works only if executed promptly. Industry insights, market knowledge, business experience is important to materialize the idea. Mere ideas cannot propel startups. Additionally mentors are tagged by a network system that can of great to develop contacts and expand your existing business network.
- Learning from mistakes
While the economic can be arduous influence, mistakes in a startup environment is inevitable. The idea is to learn from mistakes and take quick actions to ward some serious aftershock. Create a robust team and work in cohesion with the stakeholders.
At Voler, we make no mistakes. We term them as ‘area of opportunity’, we learn from them and ascertain they are not repeated. In fact, each mistake provides us with learning which acts as a stepping stones to success.
At times aggression may compelyou to focus on mere valuations at the cost of value. For long term success of an enterprise, the key focus should be to provide value in terms of product, services, after sales, etc. Value based service will inevitably spurt valuations. Focusshould be on providing convenience and solution to the customers.
Voler, which recently launched its self-drive car rental enterprise in India, faces similar challenges. It was my passion for driving which made me begin the self-drive venture. Today to be able to avail a car like Mercedes at mere 240/hour with the people who share same passion as I do, is a dream come true. The idea is to stay driven and follow your passion.
In conclusion, I would say there are two imperative rules we must follow:
Rule #1: Focus on substance and not mere superlatives
Rule #2: Never forget Rule# 1