We Indians have already gifted the world a staggering 42 odd unicorns in 2021. Amazing to note some of them grew literally din duni raat chauguni i.e., in leaps and bounds!
There must have been multiple factors that worked positively for them in reaching the coveted milestone not to ignore the naysayers attributing liberal funding by venture capital firms as one of the primary reasons behind their success.
Having worked in a couple of start-ups, this writer can definitely vouch for the sweat and toil that goes into building a company from scratch. Public at large is usually exposed to the external dazzle that a unicorn rightly radiates but many remain unaware of the painstaking efforts that are put in internally to make a start-up emerge successful.
Aided by many of those unicorns’ success, it has been noticed there’s a definite clamour to pursue entrepreneurial journey amongst freshers as observed during the placement season at Indian B-schools. The way start-ups have turned unicorn, many just within months, have also given impetus to starry-eyed newbies to venture out of their own immediately instead of going through the corporate rigours first.
But before venturing out a word of caution could be to prepare oneself as meticulously as possible. Broadly, one should be ready to offer sound answers that the start-up should be able to address in order to carve a niche for itself. This could be achieved through a well laid out strategic business plan comprising of:
- Objective: The most compelling reasons that propelled one to form a start-up. How the envisioned new company plans to fill in the gaps noticed in the business world should be succinctly stated. One should be able to define its very purpose and exhibit competency to fulfil the avowed objective.
- Locate the challenges: Once the purpose is found and the process identified for pain-points redressal, it becomes imperative to give them a definite shape. A fishbone analysis or a flow chart could help to identify the problems and offer clarity regarding ways to overcome them.
- Perceived solutions: Post diagnosis of the identified problems, the next important milestone could be to showcase the definite value propositions offered. What solutions one brings to the table becomes paramount and how new offerings i.e., Innovative products or services fit in to plug the observed gaps becomes crucial.
- Timing: It’s an open secret that many brilliant ideas in the past did fail to convert into successful business ventures because of erroneous timing. Some were definitely born before time when their need wasn’t felt or appreciated. Often fructification of a billion-dollar idea depends on the coherent answer to Why now?
- Market size | competition |alternate option evaluation: Before venturing out, one could be well advised to carry out an industry analysis using Porter’s 5 forces model. It’s a time-tested tool that could be used to deeply analyse factors prevalent in one’s chosen industry. Other resources or available insights too should be tapped to gauge industry information, in advance.
- Business model: One should preferably keep their business models flexible in tune with the dynamic time we live in. Entrepreneurs should be cognizant of the fact that the perceived finish line can shift suddenly because of many unforeseen factors and hence one ought to be nimble enough to tweak business models or plans, if the situation so demands.
- Funding source: We know many global giants of today were born from garages with minuscule own funds invested by the respective entrepreneurs. Formulating a revenue model and tying up secured funding takes off much burden in converting an entrepreneur’s vision to reality.
These are some broad factors a budding entrepreneur should consider before taking off for an entrepreneurial journey.
(Views expressed are personal)