5 Things you Should be Doing to Scale your Startup
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All entrepreneurs harbor a secret dream of building a billion-dollar company, but the question is, how do you get there? If you are an Indian startup thinking of scaling, this is the best time to take the plunge. The domestic market is booming,
India has emerged as an attractive destination for international investment, and there is active support from the government to help boost the startup ecosystem. Every successful startup has a different story to tell – some persisted, some built a disruptive product, and some were at the right place at the right time. But when it comes to scaling, the fundamentals rarely change. In my pursuit of scaling Eka there are a few lessons I have learned:
To make it big, you need to think big. If you want to create a worldclass enterprise, you need to make the right investments. The Indian startup ecosystem has traditionally been on the cautious side and usually shied away from bigger investments. The good news is that things are changing, and now is perhaps the best time to be bold and take bigger risks. Today, we have more success stories in the ecosystem, and more capital is available. Reliance invested $10.8 bn before it started seeing any ROI from Reliance Jio.
Read market shifts
Staying nimble has a whole new meaning today. India is among the five most attractive markets for investment in the world and there is a lot of interest from global players. Consequently, home grown startups face stiff competition from established players before they get a chance to come of age. Take, for example, PhonePe. They faced competition from Google Pay within the first few months of their operations. Flipkart and Snapdeal had a few years’ head start before Amazon entered the Indian market. Today, to come out as winners, startups need to address and respond to changing markets faster than ever before. Because if they don’t, someone else certainly will.
Think scale, think platform
I cannot emphasize this enough. This is where technology can be a key enabler. Startups currently think in terms of product and not platform. Having a platform approach allows you to build and support multiple products and business models using the same framework. Startups aiming for scale need to adopt a platform approach right at the conceptualization stage. This will allow them to add new products and functionality quickly, and address fundamental shifts in the market faster, while bringing down the internal cost of innovation.
No matter how times change, the fundamentals of building a long and successful business remain the same. Unit economics are the basic financial building blocks of a business. Getting funded is when a startup’s journey begins, and as you gain momentum, it is important to stay frugal, keep a check on the cash burn, and plan well to allocate funds through the critical stages of growth.
As a startup’s journey takes off, they become the center of attention. Everyone is talking about them or would like to talk to them. There are a lot of interviews, and investors take notice. These are not necessarily the parameters for success. In my opinion, real success comes when you build a company that is recognized globally, and businesses trust you to deliver multimillion-dollar deals. Once you have taken off, it is important to make sure everyone on board sticks to the long-term vision. You can’t take your eyes off the road. You need to stay focused. Always.
(This article was first published in the January 2019 issue of Entrepreneur Magazine. To subscribe, click here)