Startups are hot in India — in fact, in 2017, India was the third largest startup economy in the world. If you’re planning to get in on this growing trend, it’s important to set yourself up for success. With some planning, you can create a solid foundation that helps your new company become profitable faster.
Test Your Idea
When you start a business, your concept drives everything from marketing to hiring. If the product isn’t quite right, you can lose a lot of time and money. While some setbacks are natural, you can minimise those losses by testing your idea up front.
Imagine you have a great idea for a product that helps nurses dispense pills. Instead of going right into production, you could get a small batch of prototypes made. When you ask nurses to test your prototypes, you learn that they’re too hard to use with one hand. Since you only made a small investment, it’s no big deal to redesign the product and start another round of testing. Without that testing, you would have wasted your funding on large-batch manufacturing, marketing, and sales before spotting the problem.
Be Clear About Your Competitive Advantage
In 2017, more than 1,000 startups entered the Indian economy. More are opening up every day, which means that you’re going to have competition. To be successful, it’s important to be very clear about your competitive advantage — the thing that you do better than other companies that are serving the same customers.
Check out your competitors, and see how your business stacks up. Are you faster? Can you offer lower prices? Does your product solve an unmet need? Keep in mind that the customer experience also matters. If you’re opening a tea shop in a town with 10 other tea shops, you could set yourself apart by with beautiful interior design or exclusive access to your grandmother’s special chai blend. As you build your company, this competitive advantage should be at the center of your marketing, sales, and advertising efforts.
Keep Great Records
When you’re excited about a new business, record-keeping is probably pretty low on your list of priorities. If you keep great records from the beginning, though, it can save you many headaches down the line. For a new startup, client and employee contracts are important, so it’s a good idea to keep both digital and paper copies handy. Accounting software such as QuickBooks Online can be a big help in tracking your spending, creating GST invoices, and managing cash flow while you become profitable. Accurate financial records also make it easier to pay taxes and get bank loans. Other important records include business registration documents, client files, licenses, and business communication.
Try a Startup Incubator
If you’re new to business, opening a startup can be intimidating. That’s where startup incubators come in. These organizations can help you overcome common new-business challenges, such as finding office space and figuring out how to protect your intellectual property. Others offer funding and access to hard-to-find equipment. As India’s startup economy grows, more incubators are popping up around the country. If you’re working in technology, you could try one of the government’s Technology Business Incubators. For startups that focus on innovation, the Atal Incubation Centres are a great choice.
Joining India’s growing startup economy is exciting and challenging. With a proactive approach, you can help your fledgling business succeed in the long term.