The Start-Up game: Essential checklist

Fresh ideas, contextualized planning, loyal customer base among others are the critical factors that can transform start-ups into success stories, say experts

e4m by Kanika Mehrotra
Updated: Jun 26, 2014 8:03 AM
The Start-Up game: Essential checklist

For any young entrepreneur it’s very easy to get carried away by the success stories of Facebook and WhatsApp. We talk to industry experts for their take on succeeding in the start-up ecosystem.

Rajeev Sahi, CEO , Kwality Group suggested  ‘ Your model has to be your own’ approach. He warned the startups that WhatsApp and Facebook stories are bewitching where not much marketing was done and returns were great.  According to Sahi, learning from other models is a good option but definitely one should not forget what field they are in and the context in which to plan their strategy. “It is very important to choose between the relevant and irrelevant,” he said.

Shouvik Roy, Director, Elephant Design advised start-ups to redefine a problem with the user’s point of view.  But can all ideas be great? Roy suggested the start-ups to come up with fresh ideas not mere improvements. The key is to be optimistic and focus on fresher ideas. A very important aspect is that at times if an idea seems to be great but is not well accepted then a good option could be ‘parking’ it for some time. Sharing the example of audio designing which Roy thought of many years before it entered Indian market and became a feasible idea.

A three year old start-up that has created a big brand name and status for itself, Hector beverages is definitely a learning model for any start-up. Neeraj Kakkar, CEO, Hector Beverages suggested that the start-ups have a big benefit that unlike the big companies , they don’t have money, expectations of the consumer, retailers, distributors and careers of teams riding on their experiments . This gives the start-up the liberty to try and experiment more into what is interesting, niche and very different. The key aspect is knowledge of what the start-up is venturing into. Sharing his experience he explained how for Paper Boat in the traditional drink sector they have been experimenting with right taste the perseverance.

Be it a start-up or an established company, the most important element is the customer. Have a good customer base is important but also having loyal customers who can play the role of brand ambassadors is crucial.

Alok Bharadwaj, Executive Vice President, Canon India said “It’s  very important to have loyal customers who can play the role of brand ambassadors also because of the cost involved in getting new customers.”

Visham Sikand , Founder & Chairman, IHO (Indian Health Organization Pvt. Ltd)  suggested start-ups to have  brand differentiation. “It’s very important to stand out from the crowd. The product has to be different. Trying experiential marketing is secondary as experiential marketing is a rich man’s toy not a very good proposition for a start-up.  The word of mouth is definitely a great tool for any startup,” he remarked.

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