Tag Archives: microsoft

The Indian Startup Saga 

During the last decade, we have seen a boom in the number of start-ups, springing up across the globe. But just a little before that, people used to fear about starting a new company and who ever tried was looked upon with weird lens. And hats of to the entrepreneurs who tried starting their venture before the startup boom where initially getting capital (pre-seed or seed fund) and secondly the entire process of establishing the company at least in India that was extremely bureaucratic and tedious.

Today there is help on both fronts where the access to capital is much easier and the govt has also relaxed norms. And that’s the reason India is among the top 5 countries in the world in terms of number of startups with more than 10k+ registered startups.

But before we get deeply involved let me clear who exactly do you call a startup. For me a startup is a young company that searches for a an unknown or unique business model to disrupt existing
markets or create new niches. Often we see startups creating blue oceans and not jumping in a red ocean and a trend where many have used technology as a great enabler to create differentiation.

Till a few months back and even now start-ups are the in thing and all aspiring graduates want to have their own company. As slogans of many companies say be your own boss, and everyone thought that all I need is just need a great idea to start a new business. Once the idea is pitched there will be a line of investors dying to invest money in the idea ultimately making the founder an instant millionaire.

But there is a swarm of startups that have started their organizations based on the premise that they want to solve a consumer problem. This to me a real startup who right from the word go is successful since the vision is to help the consumer. In this competitive world every company is trying the one up manship and in this rat race the focus on the consumer is lost somewhere.

Hence its critical for startups to keep the consumer benefit or solving a genuine problem in mind at the core. The moment a startup starts chasing valuations, the game completely changes and it loses its edge since all the key metric of customer satisfaction changes to get more topline. Also one more important value that is often overlooked by most startups is profitability as it’s all about getting the product / service right and then scaling it which needs more capital.

And sometimes the founders aren’t to be blamed since the investors too are looking for exits and hence the aggressive push on the toplines. We have more than enough examples in India like snapdeal, flipkart who have billion dollar valuation but profitability is elusive. In some cases profitability is no where in sight but still some investors go ahead which baffles me, there must be a strong reason but I guess ………….. may be its like stock pump more money when the stock go down to average buying costs. And that’s why we see no of deals going down but investments going up significantly, can be decoded as investors are putting more monies with lesser number of startup so they are now being choosy about who they invest with.

funding trend in india

I would relate this phenomenon with the gas guzzling american muscle cars which are very flashy & extremely fun to drive but suck out fuel like its nobody business.

Some of the top deals in 2017 led by Softbank, Tencent, Sequoia Capital, Alibaba, Microsoft, ebay, Tata fund, JERA, TPG, China Lodging Group, Naspers, etc

Funding in 2017

The govt too is playing its part by promoting startups and digitizing the economy to boost business and cut bureaucracy. But as compared to the other nations there is a long way to go but at least the seeds are sown not just at the top-level right down to the school level. Where we are competitions started for the most innovative idea and not just a project but a business project which will pavé the way to Indian version of Elon Musk or Steve Jobs.


How important is brand in the B2B space?

B2B or Business to Business Marketing is an extremely competitive space today and its becoming extremely difficult for even good marketing companies to keep pace with their own industries. Today they face competition not just from their traditional peers but from the aggressive startup companies who are lean and are nimble footed.

B2B marketing is often looked upon as a lead generation process and the success is measured by the cost per lead and the number of leads. And yes their b2b sales counterparts will also add in another factor, lead quality which is important but not accurately measurable. And BtoB marketers will often be pushed on the above parameters only which makes them a lead generation machine.

But often they tend to forget the value of the brand while doing the B2B marketing and the entire marketing piece becomes offer or price oriented. The startups will focus on these because they don’t have the brand lineage and will push the sales on this front. But little do they realize that this in the long-term makes the entire team dependent on pricing/discount and doing this year on year makes this a process which in the future is very difficult to change.

Also if we look at global brands who are leading the B2B space they follow a completely different strategy where they focus on the brand that has been built over time but they too did start somewhere. Brands like Microsoft, IBM, Well Fargo, UPS, GE, SAP, Accenture, Oracle, FEDEX, etc have been focused on ensuring that the product service is immaculate and rest of the job is done by the brand name itself.

And in today’s world there is no shortage on the mediums that one could achieve the same there is digital marketing, affiliate marketing, network marketing, social media marketing which offer extremely economical options if run well to not just generate leads but to build a brand as well. Yes in certain less developed economies one may need to look at traditional mediums as well but every penny spent (if one has a right creative) will add value to the business int he long run.

A prime example of brand and technology by a B2B brand – Huawei jumped 22 per cent post investing heavily in innovative new technologies such as software-defined networks and cloud solutions that enable business agility on the product side. But along with that to boost their brand they also signed A-list movie actors and footballer Lionel Messi as brand ambassadors to create a positive perception of the brand in the business fraternity via advertisements.

Brand strategies do take time but its never too late to start building a brand because the more your delay the more damage is done by either becoming price dependent or being a good lead generation company. Both for me is not something which is sustainable in the long run. There needs to be a balance between the brand and lead generation for any marketing plan or marketing strategy which not just enables revenues but long term benefits as well. And one must not forget an important aspect of business – SPEED, the faster you respond the better chances of deal closure.

Source : Payperformance.com