Know Your Startup, Map it holistically !

Prakash Mugali
Founder & CEO - Enerzi Group | Serial Entrepreneur | Startup Coach | Pro-MMA Athlete | TEDx Speaker

You probably got hit by a great idea; or saw a problem and got a unique way to solve it…and you think it can be converted into a product/service and create a business around it.

The day when you make up your mind to start your journey of entrepreneurship, is the day for starting company! However the question I am trying to answer is when do you start a company with all its requirements?

Sitting under an apple tree Newton saw an apple fall and discovered that it fell to ground due to a force, the force of Gravity! We all know this story, right? But probably very few of us realize that; between the point of Newton, seeing the apple fall and him laying down the solid foundation of Laws of Motion there was a journey of discovery, contemplation, calculations, iterations, hypothesis, validations and verification. 

So is the journey of an Enterprise! 

You probably got hit by a great idea; or saw a problem and got a unique way to solve it…and you think it can be converted into a product/service and create a business around it. All your self-analysis and contemplation tells you that it is the next big thing in the market and it will make you a millionaire. Then why should you not jump into it? Mentorship comes to your rescue.

Well 70%-80% of the startups fail and don’t last because of several reasons. One of the important one is starting at the wrong time! A time when you were actually not positioned to start at all. Some of the things you must do as an entrepreneur before you found a company are;

Know your Product/Service:

Product/Service validation is one of the key factors in the success of your venture. Typically you are bent upon to believe that, whatever you have visualized is the Product/Service. However take all the necessary feedback from the market and model customers about what exactly is your product/service going to be. There must not be gross mistake in conceptualizing the right thing needed for someone to buy in.

Know Your Strengths & Weaknesses: 

You must thoroughly know, how well are, you positioned to win in the marketplace. You have to have clear assessment of your strengths as a founder and as an enterprise (team) as much as you must know the weak points in yourself and your team. This knowledge will help you form the required strategies to move smoothly during the execution of your plans.

Know your Customer: 

Its not rocket science; without a customer there is no business model. But still, most entrepreneurs end up ignoring the customer validation for the business they visualize. There is a common belief among the startup entrepreneurs that “this is a great product, so customer must and will buy for sure”. Ask your customer if he/she will and you will probably be in for a shock, most of the times. Take your customer as a basic part of your loop of discovering your business model.

Know the Market: 

It is very crucial to understanding the market dynamics and how it affects your business model. Does your business depend on seasonal variations, does it depend on government policies directly, does it depend on only one segment heavily…and the likes! There are several such questions you must investigate to understand the market dynamics and its impact on your business.

Know your Competition: 

A competent competitor can create compounding complexities for your company, so be careful, cautious, covert and creative! If you clearly understand your competition, you surely have an edge. In most cases your competition is never offering the same product/service as you are; rather offering a different solution to the same problem you are trying to address. Hence it is difficult to know and deal with the competition. But it is inevitable so study them well and be prepared!

While the first two factors are directly under your control the other three are external factors out of bounds for you. If you have a fair idea about these factors and if you have a reasonable plan in place to battle out the uncertainties pertaining to these factors, then you are ready to jump-start a company. And be aware and accepting of the truth…the job is not done.. this is just the start !


Originally published May 2, 2019