The Art of Nurturing and Growing a Self-funded Venture
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Entrepreneurs often assume that they need an influx of cash to truly grow a product. There is no rule book that says so.In the age of businesses funded by angel investors and VCs, starting a business with your own savings could mean letting others with deeper pockets take a head start. You therefore have to be very creative, judicious and smart about how you use the limited resources at hand.The biggest challenge of launching a self-funded venture is scaling up in time. This is especially critical for entrepreneurswho enter cluttered market where other players have already carved out a space for themselves.
So are there any tricks of the trade? Here’s what I’ve learnt by taking baby steps in my venture that I started three years ago:
Every market has gaps that are yet to be filled. Don't just identify them, but fill them creatively!
Is your product giving your potential target audience something which is not currently available in the market? As a team, do you feel you have a knack for creating products or designs that others haven’t yet thought off? Entrepreneurs, especially those in the consumer segment should be willing to experiment with creativity in order to create product lines that stand out in the market for their distinct features, look and feel.
Spend time talking to your potential target customers, meet them at industry events and then work towards creating product lines that addresses their needs. Entrepreneurs should remember that their customers will always be inclined towards purchasing products that are aesthetically designed and at the same time are priced competitively.
Start-up brands entering acluttered marketmay nothave large marketing and advertising budgets as compared to bigger brands that may have already cemented their market standing.
Focusing on marketing your brand’s USP through creative engagements on social media platforms is a good way to grab eyeballs. Investing in creative photography to showcase your product portfolio lends an authentic look and feel to the brand. This is equally critical for ventures retailing products on e-commerce portals as well as offline stores.
Patience nails it all!
Slow may not be the trend, but not everyone can afford fast! You have to decide your pace, based on your goals and what you can afford. It's tempting to get intimidated by the competition or follow the path that everyone else is walking on. . But, if you are convinced that your self-funded business has the potential to grow, it’s best to efficiently utilize the resources available to you and sticking to a plan that you think is best suited for you.
Learn to take calculated steps for a phased growth. Start by establishing your key product categories.Follow it up bysetting the necessary infrastructure in order andgetting on board, a well-trained team who could take charge of relevant operations within the venture. Going all out on expanding the depth in your key categories should be your way forward plan. The phase wise growth is certainly slower in pace but it goes a long way inhelping young consumer brands grow organically and efficiently.
Know your weaknesses but capitalize on your strengths
Having confidence on your ideas, coupled with a well though-of business plan is a step closer to achieving success.
There is no greater creative satisfaction than creating a complete product from the scratch and seeing it grow in the market. In our case, we believed we had a great idea from the word go, but before we went out and proclaimed it to the world, we wanted to have a living proof that even in today's age, one can start small and dream of growing bigger, one step at a time. Burning cash, underselling, and making huge investments in an inventory are not necessary. A great idea and a good plan based on solid business principles can work, if you stay persistent and keep working towards your goals patiently.