The Jungle Club!

Don’t know how many have or want to become a part of the consortium of start-ups or anything that has to do with any aspect of a start-up, which I call the Jungle Club.

The first thing that hits you once you take cautious strides towards the jungle is the buzz that surrounds it. All animals tend to cluster around that all so-significant event room where each one has their own agenda, with few not having the slightest of clues, as to why they are there, and are extremely happy being part of the buzz, possibly giving them a much needed chance to come out of the boring chores that they have got accustomed to doing on a day-to-day basis.

As you tend to draw close, you see few familiar faces, who have had the opportunity to become a part of such events before and who have got so used to being there, that it proves to be a home away from home.

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Finally, when you tend to enter the arena as an audience or a prospective pitcher per se, you realize that reality might be very different from what you actually perceive, be it outside or inside, depending on which side of the table you are actually sitting, whether you are a start-up co-founder looking for funds or an investor looking for an excellent investment opportunity which you might not want to miss upon.

By the time the event ends, you are filled with all kinds of feelings, including nostalgia from your previous pitch or networking events and a hope to get the much needed attention from an investor, which you might not have been able to achieve this time round.

And then you go back to doing what you are supposed to do. After all, the business about doing business is business itself. Isnt’t it?

Source for Image: http://www.contactvirginmedia.com/virgin-media-business/

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Life=Startup!

With around 4200 startups already in India and with 3-4 startups being formed each day, the day is not far off, when everything from womb to tomb will be taken care by a startup.

There is a startup for nearly each and every aspect of our materialistic lifestyle, be it buying groceries on the go, or booking a cab, be it getting your car serviced to taking care of your pets at home, be it ordering food online to getting an electrician/plumber etc. for your household repairs.

Soon, it will become so aspirational that a kid, before learning to say mom or dad would learn to say “startup” and the happiness on the faces of the parents and grandparents would be exemplary considering the kid would be progressing in the right direction.

Soon, parents would not want their children to become doctors or engineers but would ideally want them to tread the entrepreneurial path, knowing that success lay in solving that all important problem and with VCs and funds chasing guys who would be able to do it successfully.

Soon, parental thinking would transform into the much talked about platform thinking, with parents aspiring for their kids to go on to become the “Zuckerberg’s” of Indian start-up ecosystem.

Soon, youth would not want to run after jobs, but would ideally want to create jobs and contribute towards the much hyped GDP concept of development.

Soon, the startup culture would engulf the entire mental framework of beings and from morning to evening, the quintessential thing that one would be discussing would be a startup.

Few among the learned say that it’s nothing but a bubble and will soon burst and sanity and good sense will prevail.

Few also are of the opinion that it’s not at all sustainable and that there needs to be some logic to the prevailing madness, though they are not sure how and when that would happen.

Few are cynical enough to say that the youth has gone crazy, not realizing that only 1 in 10 startups would ultimately get funded, leaving the rest to suffer, not realizing that the best years of their life would go in vain with no future in store.

Though opinions are varied and can be appreciative or cynical, one extremely significant thing which is happening is that the youth is not so scared to take the plunge as they were before. They are more than happy to take the dive and then learn to swim as they go along. They are no more cautious about what if it doesn’t succeed.

There is this aura being created by the aspirational youth, where there is no place for fear and doubt.

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Youth is learning and prepared to take on the challenges head on. The energy and motivation is addictive and inspires the others.

So, can we say, India is ready to churn out startups capable of going on to become the best of the best in the World?

Well, yes and no! Yes, because of the attitudinal shift, yes because of the startup ecosystem being created at the policy level, yes because of the funding opportunities with investors ready to focus their energies on India.

No, because of the herd mentality where each and everyone is trying to get a piece of the cake, no, because the focus remains on fund raising and not actually trying to do what they are supposed to do, which is to solve that one important problem for which the startup was formed in the first instance.

Instead of chasing the funds, let funds chase you; instead of making funds an aspiration, make the funders aspire to reach out to you; how and when is the mool mantra that many in the space with cash crunch would need to figure out; but if they are able to crack this code, the world would be at their doorsteps knocking for that single opportunity to invest.

After all, it’s the investors who need you more than what you think you might need them for. The choice is yours and how you perceive the entire scenario is the key to the same.

Economists would get into a debate of demand and supply, where more the startups, more is the choice for the investors to choose from and more is the cut-throat competition for the limited funds.

True to some extent, but imagine, if there were only a few good startups among the lot and the plethora of investors vouching for that all important investment which could give them those 10X returns, won’t the tables turn in that case?

Indeed, it would. For this to happen, one might have to turn days into nights, might have to tread the harder path, might have to go beyond one’s means, might have to make his/her life a startup; but if one is able to successfully achieve the same, the world will be at their feet, looking up to them as a source of inspiration.

Source for Image: https://www.lendvo.com/tips-startup-business-loans-funding/

TGISUP: Thank God it is a Start-Up!

This one is indeed a futuristic post, indeed one of those which comes out of the blue and is depicting what we might come across in say 5-10 years down the line

Just Imagine:

The buzz word in today’s World is start-up. If you happen to be doing a start-up then you are considered to be a cool chap, waiting in line for your turn to become that billion dollar boy/girl. If we were to go by what media has depicted, the day is not so far when a start-up rookie would be valued more than a civil servant or a doctor/engineer in let’s say Bihar or UP and going by the ever so prevalent dowry norms in such states, a start-up boy’s valuation would come no less than Rs. 1.5 crore; enough for the father-in-law to become that angel investor for the couple.

After all, parents want the best for their daughters and the best is a guy who is about to hit the jackpot courtesy him being doing or having joined a start-up and has plethora of ESOPs or a share of equity. Though these pieces of paper might not hold any value at the moment, yet the immense amount of potential that can be seen by the investors and other market players might be enough for the guy to bring about the wonderful valuation when it comes to getting married to a girl, more importantly a stinking rich father-in-law.

I wonder whether parents, instead of encouraging their folks to go for higher education would ask them to drop-out of schools or colleges and ask them to get on to the entrepreneur bandwagon. The demand from parents’ end would still remain the same: precisely to do something which will make them feel proud about their son/daughter.

Probably the norms in the society will be governed by what the entrepreneurs would speak when invited on different platforms, be it a motivational session in any college/school or be it an invitation floated by the administration struggling to find answers to the perennial issues/problems that have become a talking point of every political manifesto.images

On every nook and corner of the lanes and by-lanes of Kolkata, the thing that would be discussed would be “who funded whom” rather than the likes of Rabindranath Tagore and the prevalent communist agenda. The entrepreneur would be the boss and would rule every little aspect of our society.

Whether this would be a reality, probably no; but whether more and more entrepreneurs would hit the road; in all possibilities yes.

It is a fact that money chases money; similar to investors chasing other investors’ investments and so does an entrepreneur who wants to end up doing what is in vogue rather than focusing on that one issue they feel really passionate about to find a solution for.

Yes, loha garam hai! Yes, there is enough money and takers for good ideas! Yes, there is more possibility of getting funded! But trust me, it’s not so easy. What leads to one becoming an overnight billionaire is the hard work and motivation coupled with patience that goes behind giving in your 110% every day for a period of not less than 3-4 years for most entrepreneurs.

For all those who want to end up choosing the path of entrepreneurship, figure out that one particular problem or issue that you would be passionate enough to provide a solution for. And thereafter go for it, without giving it a second thought. The investors and the success will soon follow if not in the first instance then surely in subsequent ones.

Source for Image: http://www.igyaan.in/98125/10-apps-startup-download/

Conversions! The Bottom Line

Can you imagine what will be the fate of an e-commerce company, say selling apparel online if there were to be no conversions i.e. if there were to be no sales from the site in spite of people visiting the site?

Well, in all probabilities the business is going to suffer losses and will eventually need to shut down the same, thus bringing a doomsday for the start-up and the investors who had invested their hard-earned money in the company.

The biggest question therefore is how to ensure that the people or in this case the prospective customers who are visiting the site, which we can also term as the traffic on the site, end up subscribing/purchasing a product etc. thereby leading to fulfillment of the aim of the company that was formulated the first time it came into existence.

Some of the things that I am about to mention here has come from various sources from the internet. The thing is that I would like to share with you, in order to ensure that you get the best out of what you are doing.

First thing first, it is extremely important to let your customer have a wonderful time interacting with your site. There should be no bugs on the site, which deter the customers from playing with your site.

Second, many a times what happens is that you tend to give too many details which are unnecessary from the customer’s point of view and you end up annoying the customer more, without letting him know in what way a particular proposition will benefit the customer. Thus, the sales pitch needs to be precise and to the point, at the same time, should be informative to the extent of being able to show the utility of your product or service.conversion

Third, having too many CTA (call to action) on a single page is a nuisance for the customer. Trust me, it’s better to have just one main CTA and the rest should direct everything towards this one CTA.

Fourth, the “thappa” is very important, when it comes to internet. So, if you have say a particular logo (say of visa) on your site, you are considered to be a credible website. Because people believe in the “thappa” effect, therefore you need to get at least 2 to 3 credible thappas on your website in order to develop a sense of trust in the customers for the website.

Fifth, never be satisfied with your conversion rate. There is always a scope of improving it further. keep analyzing and keep testing the same which would result in conversion rate optimization (CRO).

If you can keep these little yet great things in your mind, then I am sure, you are going to love what you are doing, which will get reflected in increased conversions and in turn increased sales and ROI.

Source for Image: http://blog.statcounter.com/2008/07/conversion-update/