From "Munafa" to Creating Value Over Valuation; Here are Key Survival Tips for Start-ups

8 Business people share key tips to ensure the survival of a start-up in today's cut-throat and fiercely competitive start-up ecosystem

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By Bhavya Kaushal • Feb 2, 2019 Originally published Feb 2, 2019

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Indian start-up trajectory is going up and it refuses to come down. Apart from experiencing a 108% growth rate, it is clear that the government is one with the mission of steering the start-up community towards growth and progress. While on the surface, the start-ups of India may look all fancy and illustrious, if you dig deep within the surface, the struggle to survive and sustain is real and very cut-throat.

While, every second, a new start-up idea emerges, very few are able to endure the winds of bankruptcy and other challenges to survive and sustain. The struggle to survival is very real for Indian start-ups.

Here are few ways that can help start-ups survive in a deeply competitive and dynamic environment:

The Market-Product Tussle

Sachin Jaiswal, CEO and founder of, feels that if there is a market for your target, there is no chance that your start-up will not survive. He says, "If the market for a product exists, no matter how strong a team or how great the product - or even if the startup is not blit scaling with VC money, the startup can still grow and thrive against all odds."

The predicament of target markets is not blitted here. While you may find your target market because the business environment in a start-up ecosystem is so dynamic that you also have to work constantly on your product to suit the needs of the time. the product-market tussle is the constant and a pervasive factor in the survival of a start-up. Monish Salhotra, Co-Founder of EBTL, adds his opinion to the market-product tussle, "Product-market-fit is the biggest aspect that ensures that the survival of a start-up." Thus quickness of adaptability to market dynamics definitely helps a start-up survive.

Right Team

The saying that a team can make or break your company is applicable even today and will continue to remain relevant throughout eternity. While it may be true for the big companies, it is more so, true for start-ups. Anurag Bhatia, CEO and Head of Investments, of Minance, says, "I think the most important aspect of startup survival is having the right team around you. Your early employees will make or break the firm; they will be the ones who you will depend on when things go bad."

Bhavin Turakhia, Co-founder and CEO of Zeta, puts it most simply when asking what the single biggest aspect that ensures the survival of a start-up is, "Hire the best!"

Dr Rishi Bhatnagar, President of Aeris Communications, a company that has mentored many start-ups over the years, feels that persistence of employees is a must-have for the survival of the business. "While the leader needs to have clear vision and goals, the strength of the start-up comes from the dedication and persistence of the employees, appetite for failure and the right attitude to bounce back."

A Drop in the Ocean

It is unrealistic to expect instant success in the realm of building a start-up. It takes a long time from the time of the inception of a start-up to the time when the market starts recognizing it. Therefore, patience and perseverance play a big role. Sampad Swain, CEO and Co-founder of Instamojo, believes, "Long time vision while starting up and taking smaller steps to fulfil the vision ensures survival." He further adds that start-up founders must never be in a hurry to achieve everything or anything.

Creating Value over Valuation

Every founder yearns and aspires to make his start-up a million-dollar and billion-dollar company and there is nothing wrong about having such drives. However, Turakhia feels that "focusing on creating value and not valuation" plays an important role in the survival of start-ups.

While, as a start-up founder, the struggle to up the valuation game of your enterprise never really ends, Vikas Kumar, Co-founder and CTO of LoanTap, stress on funding as an important means to survive, "The start-up is not strapped of cash. It should be able to raise funding at the appropriate time."


In this list that jots the must-haves for start-ups to survive, "munafa," perhaps, silently remains the go-getter of business and most paramount among other things. "Munafa" is the most important word in the dictionary of an Indian businessman. Ankita Jain, Co-Founder, GoPaisa, elaborates, "Coming from an upbringing where for any business "Munafa" is everything. I still believe in this traditional school of thought that for any business to survive Profit is the most important thing." She says so because, according to her, any external source of funding will die down after a certain point of time if the business is not making money it is only your profits that can fuel your business in your bad times.

Bhavya Kaushal

Former Features Writer

I am a work-in-progress writer and human being. An English graduate from Delhi University, writing is my passion and currently, I am Entrepreneur India's start-up reporter. I love covering start-ups and weaving their stories into unforgettable tales with the power of ink! 

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