While there is a great deal of excitement generated by new consumer products – smart glasses, activity trackers, smart watches, arm bands and companies that make them – jawbone, google, square, leap motion, etc, entrepreneurs and investors still are shy of venturing into the space. There are some common misconceptions but I won’t get into that right now. What I wanted to show is a 30 part series that engineers, product managers, manufacturing, marketing and servicing teams in my company have created to show how consumer products are designed and developed from scratch. Hardware product design is influenced by not just user experience requirements, but also by industrial and mechanical design considerations, electronics design, test requirements for mass production, and manufacturing processes. I have personally learnt a lot in the last few years and I hope you find these short videos useful. They are not thorough tutorials or anything of that sort but they show all aspects of building products from scratch end to end. I also do not want to spam readers of this blog every day, so I will add videos in this post itself. You can also follow us on facebook and twitter or post a question here if you have one.
A Smart Marketer knows that Traditional Marketing no longer holds sway – Today is the Era of Digital and Content Marketing – Developing Relevant and Engaging Content for your Target Audience to drive a Profitable Customer Action(On Web and Mobil).
If Content is King , Digital Marketing is Crown. Digital Marketing Strategies are closely connected with Content and Consultants with experience in Online Advertising , Social Media Marketing , Search Engine Optimization optimizes Digital Media with Right Content to Deliver Tangible and measured Results.
As an SME (Small Medium Enterprise) , you have to figure out how the content developed by you gets engaged with the customer. You have to think like a Publisher , Media and work on great story telling.
First and foremost think about what customers you are targeting and what are their pain points your product/service is addressing.Based on that you should start engaging with them on different social sites. Facebook , twitter , pintrest etc.
Content would need to have following components depending on your product/service and make it part of Marketing strategy.
Leaflets / Flyers etc
Electronic Data Mailers (EDM’s)
Content Development is an Art and engaging with customer is need of the hour. As there is lot of content available on Web , how you differentiate is by doing SEO , Keywords and engaging with the Right audience and make that specific to their Pain Points.
“VCs look for Startups going after a Big Market with a Passionate Team and have an ‘unfair advantage’.”
“A startup is an organization built to search for a repeatable and scalable business model.”
If the organization does not yet have a viable business model, how can it have an “unfair advantage”?
“VCs take pure equity risk and, as long as the business pans out fine, their interests are perfectly aligned with that of the entrepreneurs.”
“VCs bury ‘Dangerous Bombs in Share Holders Agreements’ and unless you ‘diffuse them’, they will take away all the spoils.”
Certainly Quite Puzzling Questions to an Entrepreneur Seeking the First Round of VC funding.
But, who’s going to provide the answers?
I wish my Grandma was around to help.
I’ve come to realize that, apart from the “school of hard knocks”, the best way to learn anything – that sticks – is through stories. Call it Case Study or Mythology or Grandma’s Tales. Stories Stick. And they bring clarity to seemingly complex issues.
If only I’d paid proper attention to Grandma’s tale of a guy who brought together an army of monkeys (and other assorted creatures) to cross an ocean and conquer an island, I would have probably learnt for keeps that Leadership is about inspiring “ordinary folks” – by setting a “Big Hairy Audacious Goal”, personal example and smart tactics – to achieve “extraordinary results”. The same story also had a bear pep talking a monkey into “realizing his true potential” and taking a “test marketing” leap across the ocean (to ensure that the big battle was going to be worthwhile).
Great. Back to VC Fund Raising.
Where are the Answers to those Tricky Questions?
From Master Entrepreneurs who have fought the good fights and have not only survived, but thrived, to tell their tales.
They’re Lined Up – Only on March 6 at Mumbai – to show the path at the APEX’14 Summit, India’s Premier Investor-Entrepreneur Interface. In Detail. With Drama. So that you’ll never forget.
Are you ready to get armed for the tough-but-definitely-worthwhile climb to startup success?
Click Here to Learn More and Sign up!
See you there!
IIMB’s EPGP is an intensive one year full-time residential program designed for mid-career professionals with 7 to 15 years of experience.
During their placement process, some people are interested in pursuing their career with startup companies.
With the intention of connecting these people with startup companies, they are planning to organize a event on 29th Jan. Event details are available here.
Pitchbook has a review of global VC activity in 2013. Key message – activity continues to shift out from silicon valley to other parts of the world, overall a slightly down year, but rising valuations. India still remains small.
When hiring, I have quite often seen people confusing the Product Manager’s role with that of a Product Development Manager. These are two distinctly different roles and it is important to clearly understand these roles to avoid confusion and heartburn.
The product manager is the owner of the product and plays a pivotal role in bridging the gap between the product and customer needs. His role includes:
Identifying Customer Needs: Understand the existing processes, pain points and the reasons, what it is costing the customer and what would help to establish that customer delight in terms of measurable business benefits.
Translating needs into product functionalities: Work with the development team to help them understand the functional processes and features that would help to address the pain points and establish business benefits.
Testing: Conducting product POC’s and customer trials to help fine tune the product and make it more customer- relevant
Marketing: Developing the customer conviction stories and enumerating the business benefits. These would include product presentations, white papers, case studies etc. to help sales.
Product Pricing: Understand what the customer would be willing to pay, with first understanding the business benefits that the customer would derive from the product and convert these into measurable financial metrics and thereby build the ROI. It is only ROI that would help to determine what the customer would be willing to pay.
Competitive Analysis: Understanding competitive products and help build the competitive barriers.
Building the product road-map: Constantly interacting with customers to gauge product experience and track changes in requirements to help product development team to manifest the changes in time and stay ahead of the curve.
The Product Development Manager manifests the product definitions into a set of functional features. This person will work very closely with the Product Manager in the development and evolution of the product through its entire life cycle.
Being a crucial role in a product company, the product manager should ideally have deep domain knowledge and a feel for customer’s business processes.
The author, Srikanth Vasuraj, is a Business Consultant focused on helping start-ups to grow. He can be reached at +91-98454 78585 or firstname.lastname@example.org . Please visit www.nodiva.co.in for more information.
- Great businesses are created by playing into market shifts
- Startups need sharp focus and positioning
- Run a well-designed proof of concept
- The founder is the best salesperson
- Conviction of the founding team
Watch out — this might well be the trillion dollar impact startup all of us have been looking for!
As the season for year roundups begins, here are my thoughts, originally published in Economic Times…
It is now my eight year in succession of claiming a great year for venture capital. I have been in the business for all of eight years. But then, I am also an amateur marathoner and a climber. And in all of these three trades, it takes years of perseverance to scale the summit. As I look back on 2013, I am more convinced than ever of the decisiveness of this moment.
At the surface, 2013 was a slower year for venture capital investments than recent past. It seems that by the time the year closes, we might be 10% down relative to 2012. The sentiment also seems to have gone through a trough, even though there seems to be some revival in the last quarter. Why then the optimism?
The first reason is the emergence of key investment themes which could redefine the complexion of technology ventures in India. While ecommerce innovation continued to get funded in 2013, the second place has been taken by global product innovations coming out of the Indian market. This enhances the market that Indian startups will play in in the future, as well as the significance of those companies on the global stage. Next on the rung is mobile application startups – given the large base of mobile consumers in India, and the nature of India as a mobile-first market, innovation in mobile applications could also lead to global leaders in the space. This opportunity set is likely to get further strengthened as payment systems around the mobile mature – something that 2014 should bring in, both around electronic payments as well as micropayments. These emerging investment themes represent significant broadening of technology venture activity, beyond the classic services and internet spaces.
Equally important has been the strong performance of Indian startups on the exit front. 2013 marked a watershed moment as far as exits of technology venture backed companies is concerned. For example, just between four companies, namely Justdial, Redbus, GlobalLogic and Prizm, over $2B of market value was affected in 2013. These companies, amongst themselves, also represented strength of variety of exit mechanisms – from an IPO trading at 100% premium to issue price, to strategic exits, and a PE buyout. Such a stream of exits provides increasing validation to viability of venture capital in India.
Thirdly, 2013 reversed the policy tide to assist the flow of foreign direct investment in India. From relaxation of FDI limits to rationalization of GAAR, and from IPO facilitation to allowance of preferential clauses for investors, the silent wave of reforms in the latter half of 2013 has started to undo the damage that the regulatory arrogance of 2011/2012 had initiated. There is increasing expectation that this momentum will continue into 2014, without being held hostage to the results of the impending general elections.
Against this backdrop of 2013, it is an exciting 2014 that knocks on our doors. And like the final push to a summit, this stretch does not require us to do different things – it indeed requires us to persist with what we have done well in the past. It calls upon entrepreneurs to dream big and execute well. It calls upon investors to support entrepreneurs and keep focused on realizing returns as investments mature. And it calls upon the regulators to provide an enabling environment for businesses. From the momentum that we have seen towards close of 2013, it might very well be that 2014 is a better year in terms of fund deployment as well. However, the lasting contribution of 2014 could very well be in establishing strong proof points around India as an attractive venture market.
Wishing everyone in the startup ecosystem an exciting and rewarding 2014.
A quick cheat sheet for you to start making great presentations now.
Plan: For both the audience size as well as their expectations. Pitching your idea to a set of 5 investors is completely different from getting 500 people to vote for your start-up in a large competition. Do your homework to make sure that your intended audience is deriving value from what you have to say.
Attention is the commodity that’s in shortest supply in today’s twitter enabled word. Make sure that you are constantly exchanging value for the audience’s time.
Tip: Start strong, have a solid middle & a memorable ending. If movies can do this for 2 hours, you can do it for 20 minutes.
Plain: Too often, people get carried away with using Powerpoint’s features. Remember that any software is just a tool. Simplicity is also the ultimate sophistication. The real impact of a presentation is what the speaker is saying, how they say it & most importantly, what the audience understands.
Tip: Ensure that you follow the 30-20-10 rule. 30 point text in your slide, 20 minutes for the entire presentation & not more than 10 slides. This forces you to use graphics on the slide, keep it short & more importantly – your audience is now listening to what you have to say, not reading (faster than you) from your own slides.
Practice: The default behavior for most presenters is to put their thoughts down on a slide & then land up on D-day & throw up content on an unsuspecting audience. The difference between good & great presentations is practice. Think of a presentation like stand up comedy. What looks effortless & spontaneous on stage is actually the result of studied practice & timing.
Tip: For every minute of presentation run time, you should ideally put down 10 minutes of practice. In front of the mirror, with helpless friends & a mock run at the actual venue before the audience arrives are great iterative options.
Pause: Since public speaking is ranked second in most surveys as the thing that people fear most (Death being first), some butterflies in your stomach are par for the course before going on stage. A quick sip of water & a few deep breaths should take care of most palpitations. Thinking of the audience as a group of friends that are keen to hear what you have to say helps too.
Tip: Pick a few friendly faces (even if you have to look really hard) spread through out the audience before you get on stage. Keep maintaining eye contact between them by turns. Helps you smile plus the majority of the audience thinks you are looking at them.
Passion: After all the preparation in the world, truly great speakers love the idea or concept that they are trying to communicate. If you are passionate about what your are saying, it will shine through. No technique or shortcut can make this up for you.
Tip: Don’t confuse passion with emotion. Being angry is not the same thing as being involved.
V C Karthic is an entrepreneur (whose latest crazy idea is this) based out of Mumbai. He works with start-ups & incubators across the country on their presentation & pitching skills. This article appeared earlier in the year in the SINE (IIT-Mumbai) newsletter.