Lessons Startups Can Learn From Retail Business

In India, retail startups are not limited to just pop-ups alone.

By Bhai Ajinder Singh • Aug 31, 2016


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India is among the top three entrepreneurial Ecosystems in the world with technology, finance, healthcare and retail start-ups garnering high interest from leading investors across the globe.

In India, retail start-ups are not limited to just pop-ups alone. They have expanded their definition to e-commerce ventures, multi-city stores as well as local manufacturers launching their own brands. Despite the disruption, retail start-ups can learn a lot from organized retail to tackle the complex challenges that exist within the ecosystem.

Clear goals

Concrete goals help an organisation visualise success, which in turn is a major motivator for the team. Business objectives should be specific, achievable, relevant as well as measurable. A company should set short-term and long-term goals to keep track of progress. Specific goals also help define a process to achieve them.


Belief translates into vision and is essential for start-upsas it gives them the necessary impetus to persevere in chasing their dream. This belief is the starting point to build the vision and core culture of the company.


With the changing profile of today's consumers, companies are being forced to re-imagine nearly every consumer category, and sometimes create entirely new ones. Therefore, it is essential for start-ups to continue innovating in order keep consumer interest alive by effectively disrupting products and sometimes even processes for an enhanced consumer experience.

Stay Objective

Emotions don't mix well with business because they make you do what makes you feel good rather than what is best for the business. A founder's emotional health is a key metric to be managed. Every startup germinates through an idea that the entrepreneur is passionate about.However, one must train to be flexible with regards to product/brand and make decisions based on logic.


If you're running a start-up, chances are you have your hands in everything which is necessary when you're in the early stage of your business. But one can only scale up if employees are trained to take over certain aspects of the business so that founders can stick to your high-leverage activities.

Management by participation

Employees feel empowered when they can bring their creative ideas to the table and have their voices heard without feeling intimidated by management. It is imperative to improve communication within the start-up by creating transparency and ensuring employees feel comfortable speaking with top management.

Maintain good business relationship with supplier & buyers all the time

Stakeholders with large influence can block progress or destruct the entire fundament of the business if we fail to sustain their interests. Start-ups should look at suppliers as partners in success. A healthy relationship with suppliers/buyers is essential if a start-up aims to maintain quality services and customer experience. Transparency in activity together with clear and regular communication is key.


There is no investment that will do more to improve the productivity than investment in people. Thus, it is essential to build a talent base by recruiting the right people.

Stay close to your customers

Great customer care involves getting to know your customers so well that you can anticipate their needs and exceed their expectations. To understand your customers well, you need to be attentive to them and their needs. Therefore, customer feedback is important as it provides companies with insight to improve their products/ services as well as overall customer experience.

Be optimistic but stay realistic.

Entrepreneurs must believe that they can make things happen and that you will succeed. At the same time, in order to be successful one must be realistic, plan well, evaluate different options as well as stay focused and persistent.

Bhai Ajinder Singh

Managing Director, M&B Footwear

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