Since the beginning, i have been totally open about my venture. I have openly talked about VCs, good guys and most importantly the idiotic mistakes i made.
This is just an extension of the same. It may pi** off some people, but don’t think i can write an unbiased post otherwise. Just Throw it back on me if you don’t like my statements.
Druvaa won the Indian Entrepreneurial Challenge 2008. Some mistakes i made in the journey + some suggestionsÂ –
1. We tried to make software delta better and cheaper
This is a goodÂ strategy, but then you should really know how to execute it well. In fact that should be your startup’s key strengths.
We made Druvaa Replicator – a ultra-cool server replication product, which was a better and cheaper alternative. We started selling it and got funded. But, we soon realized that, selling it would be a good profitable business, but not worth a startup. We debated for a while and decided that we will in future only make sales-killers not sales-enablers.
And hence we changed the business plan, and came up with the idea of second product – Druvaa inSync. (We are now pushing same tech to both the products.)
2. We played the feature game
I would get totally angry and frustrated when someone compared me on features with the competitor’s product. To “compete” better, we worked out a BIG product feature release plan. But, we soon realized that “features” are for big companies to fight and spend time/money on.
A startup should just focus on those few USPs which would just “kill” your competition’s sales pitch. One good feature which would force the competition to shut up or drop prices.
Â 3. Those smart looking VCs
Just like startups complain about non-existence of “startup ready” talent pool in India. I guess VCs also have same problem, but they aren’t open about it. Else, you wont see such a large pool of less experienced MBA grads working for VC firms.Â They scan business plans like job resumes and ask you to get back with crazy numbers.
I guess when you approach a VC, after you have pitched your story please politely ask him about his/her background. And if it looks like a mismatch, politely move on like you do with fat blind dates 🙂
4. When they say no, You sayÂ Next
Learn from beggars at the red-light signal, use law of averages. Don’t waste too much time on customer or VCs which make a face at you. Learn from the experience, ask him how can your improve and move on.
Â 5. Position your product well.
(this may sound disturbing to a few)Â Learn from the hookers – They stand where the market is. Package it well. Look distinct, so that the customer notices. Make the customer come and bargain. And make a sale, even when the customer would have never budgeted for it.
Position your product well. You have limited time and money to buy acquire a new customer.
Â 6. Believe in your story
There was a gathering in a village to pray for the rains .. and only kid came with an umbrella.
When in trouble just trust your team and work hard.
I welcome comments and help of all kinds 🙂
- India’s Hottest Startups - September 7, 2008
- The case of SonimTech – And lessons we can learn - August 23, 2008
- The Druvaa Story – III - July 14, 2008
Totally agree on all points especially “the feature game” and “positioning”. Getting lost in feature rat race is easy particularly for engineers and not so smart managers. I believe 80% of the users use only 20% of the features so one should know when/where to draw the line.
Thanks for sharing.
At least someone liked my comment on VCs
As usual very interesting post ! Keep sharing !
In the end the Low Cost Carriers(LCC) did kill premium segment competition but eventually it left all (including LCC themselves) of them bleeding!
Further to make your USP a sales killer isn’t easy because it calls for brand communication – meaning higher ad spends that creates high recall. How many startups have that fire power?