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Challenges and Investments in running a brand Starting a business is easier in today's startup environment but involves a lot of attention

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In the last decade, India has seen a lot of small and medium-sized start-ups flourish in India over giants such as Flipkart, Amazon and Zomato. The government's initiatives towards entrepreneurship and the ease in taxation systems have led to major firms and angel investors funding upcoming and promising start-ups in the country. While it's definitely gotten easier to start your own business with the progressive new atmosphere, an entrepreneur needs to keep in mind certain challenges and investment requirements while establishing his own brand and setting it off the ground.

Innovation: The first key to success while building your own brand is ensuring your product/service is innovative. In today's competitive times, your product needs to offer something unique to the consumer. The challenge is to get healthy offerings for consumers while innovating the products to make it trendy, tasty yet healthy for consumers that supplemented their lifestyles

Research and Development: The biggest challenge of running your business is managing to invest in R&D to understand whether your product/service matches consumer requirements. The challenge will also remain to maintain the levels of R&D to make productivity better once your start-up has taken off. In the case of my business,

Planning and Funding: It's also crucial to ensure that you have a business plan set in a paper, while all founders do have their business plans and goals charted out in their minds very clearly. Making a visual of the business plan not only helps when you lose track as an entrepreneur but also helps keep in check any unrealistic expectations from partners or investors. Just like your business plans, it's also essential to research and plan the funding cycle of your start-up, while your capital investments help you stay afloat it's also important to envision the future goals and plan ahead for your future monetary funding. Having said that a plan for the next 5-7 years should be a good plan to start with.

Choosing the Right Partner: While it's important to choose the right product and right investors, it's also very important to partner with the right individuals or parties. It's crucial for a founder to choose partners who are experts in their field and who can be trusted. Being able to choose a partner who is knowledgeable and credible can help take the business to the next level. The challenge, however, remains on the founder's ability to trust the partner and avoid micromanaging the partner's activities. One as founders tends to get so connected to our businesses that and tends to micromanage everyone and that generally works against our need.

Focussed Marketing Initiatives: Creating the perfect product efficiently is only half the battle won, it's equally important to put your products out in the market aggressively to be seen. There have been many case studies about products that have failed simply because they weren't marketed appropriately and weren't widely visible. At a time when the consumer's attention span is reducing every minute and the market competition is increasing, it's extremely important to be focussed. Special attention needs to be focused on different types of marketing such as Content marketing, Affiliate marketing, effective Public Relations, Email marketing, Search engine optimization (SEO), Social media marketing (SMM), Search engine marketing (SEM), Pay-per-click advertising (PPC). The challenge, however, lies in ensuring you manage to market your products effectively in your allocated budgets. While marketing the products will add to consumers visiting your website, interacting on your social media. A good product/service will get consumers to purchase the product time and again.

Socially Responsible: While You believe in expanding, it's also important to be responsible towards our society and planet. In our business, one must believe in being honest, natural and genuine towards all our stakeholders viz, consumers, employees and farmers. Brands these days are consciously looking at giving back to society in one way or the other. The challenge, however, lies in scaling up the impact over time.

Creating a brand from scratch can be a task for a founder since it would require detailed attention down to the smallest activity and total dedication to achieving the task at hand. Being a founder requires one to keep their head on their shoulder at all times and not losing sight of the task at hand. At times, being over-involved in your idea can lead to a burn out bringing a slump to productivity and affecting the motivation of the entire team. At such times, it is pre-requisite to take those short breaks that allow you to relax and refocus on your goals while also opening your mind to newer avenues.

Prashant Parameswaran

CEO & MD, Soulfull


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