Startups are the future of India. Startups tend to bring changes, introduce new ideas, implement the latest technologies and revolutionise the country. With the rapid advancement in technology, startups are growing at an even more rapid rate. Indeed, startups are very risky but it is like sowing a seed. If you water the seed every day, take good care of it, make the right efforts to grow it, it blooms like a beautiful flower. A startup needs lots of hard work, dedication, commitment, patience and efforts to set up and run it smoothly.
India has become the third-largest country in terms of budding startups. India looks forward to more startups for development, addressing unemployment issues, implementing technology, making people friends with the latest trends of technology, bringing advancement and for the proper growth of the Indian economy.
But often the first question that arises in minds of people who want to set up their startup in India is where to start and how to start. Many of them fail to find adequate ideas and solutions for it and drop the idea of opening a startup in the middle.
Here are answers to the people who are searching for how to start and where to start a startup in India-
1- THE BASICS
Foundation and base on which your startup will build is the core beginning of a startup. A startup is an entity which is not older than 7 years with a turn over of less than INR 250 Million.
Building a strong idea on which your startup will be based on the core and strings of a startup. The idea should be strong in the sense that it should aim at bringing a change, developing something new and beneficial, implementing new things to make life easier for the people (It can be a product or a service) and so on. The idea of the startup should be strong and bold to influence people to invest in it and to get it registered from the Government of India. If your idea of startup doesn’t aim at bringing any positive change or sign, your idea sets behind and you need to work on it or bring another strong idea.
A startup is a budding and young company build by an entrepreneur or group of entrepreneurs who need to propose the idea of a startup, shape it and mould in ways which can attract investors and other resources to invest in it and hence collecting funds for the startup.
India has set up 7 years benchmark for a company to be labelled as a startup whereas the USA has set the benchmark at 10 years. The idea of startups and the first startup was proposed in Silicon Valley in around 1976of the USA which is now the world’s biggest hotspot of startups.
History of the startups in India
Before independence, there was not even a trace of any Indian entrepreneurs in India. After the independence, people gained some amount of confidence in them and came forward to do business but at that time the government majorly focused on the public sector but after the implication of New Economic Policy in 1991 which brought liberalization, Globalization and Privatization. But the concept of budding startups mainly come into existence after the recession in 2008 when the government realised the need for encouraging privatization for the growth and development of the country.
Unique ideas are the core of the startup. But the question arises here that how to develop the idea for startups to get successful? The biggest companies of the world stand at the base of unique ideas, working very hard, giving all the blood and sweat in it. If we analyze big companies of India such as Tata and Reliance- There is one thing common between them. The companies analyzed the problems people faced and working on the solutions of it to ease the life of the people and to bring change.
How to conceptualize an idea for any startup?
- Look for problems around you- The first key to get an idea is to look small and big problems around you and note it down. Go through these problems every day. Analyze it and think of bring out the best results.
- Interest- Among the problems that you will analyze, choose the one which makes you excited and catches your interest. You will be willing to work on it properly only when it will catch your interest and it will be something that you will enjoy going with whole dedication.
- Finding an innovative solution for it- After you have selected a problem and ideas that you will work on, try to find out of the box ideas for it which will address the problems in a way that it will become convenient for people to use it and the problem will be solved.
Analyzing The Solution
1. Analysing Products and Services
The first step is to analyze what it offers to the people. You have to see if any same product or service is available in the market. As mentioned above, unique ideas and service is the way to attract people. If something similar will already exist in the market, people will be least interested in it.
2. Does the market need your product or service?
This is the most important question that you need to address while forming an idea for a startup. If your product or service is not liked by the market, it will just not work for you. So you need to carefully analyze the market trend and needs to come up with the idea and eventually implementing it.
3. Personal interest
Your interest matters in whatever idea you will form. Only if you’ll enjoy what you will do and come up with then only you will perform it with utmost dedication and give it your whole for it to succeed. Your choice and interest as an entrepreneur matter the most.
Analyzing the Market
Analyzing market closely is necessary to form an idea about how your product or service will work in the market.
1. Through Market Research
For conducting market research-
- Make a brief list of your product and service’s features, uses, benefits etc.
- Look in the market for the kind of product or service you are going to launch to analyze the competition of the market.
- If you come across some similar the product or service, make sure to cross-check it for any similarity.
- See customer’s reviews and suggestions for those products. The shortcoming in their product or service can be covered in yours to attract an audience.
2. Interact with the audience
Interacting with the audience will help you tremendously. Their point of you will give you proper insight.
- Interact with the audience through online forum websites to know customers’ issues.
- Conduct online surveys to analyze customer’s needs, choice, taste and expectations from a product or service.
- Discuss your ideas with your contacts to analyze their view and response on it.
Minimum Viable Product
This is the part where you will start working on implementing your idea. It is the most basic structure of your idea which should be cheap and quick. It is implemented to practically analyze the performance of your product.
Don’t confuse it with Prototype. A prototype is a draft product of your idea whereas MVP is a product that will be used by the audience.
Minimum Viable Product is required to practically analyze customer’s feedback and suggestions on the product so that when the whole complete product will be launched it will cover all customer’s points and feedbacks to attract customers and enhance features.
Since it will have only basic features, it will be quick to develop and cheaper to buy.
Formulating Business Plan
The business plan is very important to draft as it will include all necessary aspects of the business-
- Summary of the whole business plan
- Marketing and financial strategies
- Analysis of the market
- Future goals and projects
- Legal Aspects
- Plan of operations
- Team Management
- Overview of the whole business
The business plan is important to keep your business organized, planned, strategizing goals and projects smoothly.
Name of The Startup
In naming your startup you have to keep a variety of points in your mind to come up with a suitable name-
- Take care of the keywords
- Choose a name that links with your business plan.
- It should not be very difficult in pronouncing and understanding
- Understand the significance of the name
- Avoid long names, keep it short and simple.
Creating Team For your startup
Selecting people for your team should be very precise. Choosing trustworthy and capable team members becomes extremely challenging at times. The teamwork will be one of the biggest factors behind the performance of your startup in the market. Make sure to choose it very wisely.
Following are the points to keep in mind before selecting co-founder and team members-
Trust is the key factor to choose the employees for your startup. Without trust, the foundation of the startup will become very weak. The first question that you should consider before choosing to work with anyone- “Can I trust this person?”
The new startup will not have a very big team, you have to select a co-founder and a few people with whom you can implement your ideas and build trust. Gut feelings are the power of human beings. So before choosing anyone to listen to your gut feelings and heart, analyze their potential, past ventures and performances and then come to any conclusion. Don’t be in too hurry, take your time and decide.
Their skills should complement your skills and the skills that you require for the company to work on the projects. If you possess any weakness, find co-founder and team that will cover the lapse with you and strike a proper balance.
Personality says a lot about a person. Their personality should be confident and strong to run your startup successfully. Their nature should be humble so that you can create a positive and favourable working environment for the team.
You can look for a co-founder in your spheres like someone from your friend circle or relatives. If the co-founder is known to you, it will be much better otherwise you can find it through co-founders networking, events and some online platforms.
Team members can be found from your inner circle or employees interactive sites such as LinkedIn, Glassdoor, Naukri, etc.
Understanding the legalities of a company is a very basic step that you should come in terms with. It can be done both online and offline.
Registering your startup
There are two steps- Incorporating your startup and registering your startup under the Startup India Program.
Incorporating a startup includes obtaining the Digital Signature Certificate and Directory Identity Number. Once it is done, your startup becomes eligible to be enlisted in the Indian startup program.
You have to choose one out of these four ownership models-
Proprietorship- No registration is required and legally you as the Proprietorship has the sole ownership. Your income will be taken as the taxable income and you cannot transfer the ownership to anyone. You cannot call for foreign investments. A Sole Proprietorship is not counted as a startup in India.
- Partnership – A partnership requires two people to start with. Here you might choose not to register your company. But if you register, you will be subjected to all the legalities and compliances applicable to a company. A partnership firm cannot be counted as a startup if it is less than 5 years from its incorporation.
- Limited Liability Partnership- In India, LLP needs to be registered within the LLP act of 2008. It comes under the Ministry of Corporate Affairs and should have at least 2 partners. It has many benefits over other ownership such as operational flexibility, fewer compliances, among others.
- Private Limited Company- To be registered under this, such a company will have a workforce of above 200 and at least 2 Directors. There are additional legal formalities to register as a PLC in India, but they have access to other benefits accorded by the state government.
Property Rights and Co-founder legal considerations are the other two formalities that are required to be done in order to complete the whole registration process.
Many of the startups fail due to lack of capital. Money is indeed very important in order to set up and run the startup or firm. Therefore receiving funding is very important and utilizing it correctly is even more important. Having a proper budget plan and backups is very important.
Ways to increase funding of the firm-
- Bank loans
- Crowd Funding
- Venture Capitals
- Angel Investors
- Government Grants
Branding, Website and Launch
Branding your startup is establishing your startup’s identity. A brand has its own voice, image, and personality that makes it recognizable for the people.
Here is an example, when you hear the name Pepsi, what jumps right to your mind? Certainly, their blue ribbon, logo, advertisement, or something related to that drink. This is the power of branding. When people start visualizing your brand when they hear its name, that’s when it can be considered established.
Building brand identity is a very strong plan, increasing market operations and makes the startup stand out of all.
Designing a logo for the firm
The logo is the most important aspect as it will give a visualization for your brand. People will recognize your brand by the logo which will form in people’s mind. there are various parameters like the colour palette, typography, and graphics that need to be taken into account in order to build a strong logo and mark your organization’s presence.
Building a website
Creating a website is an important way of marking your presence in the market. With digitalization, the website has become very important.
A website plays a significant role in creating a potential business market for any startup company in India or outside. The given steps are involved in the creation process of a website:
- Picking a domain name
- Finding a host
- Shared hosting
- Dedicated servers
- Reseller Accounts
Growing the Startup
Let’s talk about growth now. Once you have established a basic foundation of your startup, you can think of growing. More importantly, you need to know the right time to grow or scale your startup. When the foundations and registration is correctly settled, the next step is to work on the growth.
But before we go there, you must be prepared to scale your startup. How to start growing is a different debate? Initially, you need some solid footwork on the ground. For growing your startup, you need to correctly analyze the market in order to gain insight when a startup should plan promotions and growth.
After analyzing the market another step is devising a proper strategy of marketing with the team and working hard to implement those strategies. There should be a foolproof plan of doing so. With apt marketing, you will gain the attention of the audience and excite their thinking neurons. And if the product is something that the customers really want, they will engage and reach out.
Some marketing strategies are-
- Sending e-mails- Initiating e-mail marketing and sending e-mails in bulk is a very good way of attracting customers. Email marketing holds a better engagement rate and can be used for almost all kinds of businesses and products.
- Create a blog for the startup- Blogs are one of the most organic ways to attract an audience and potential customers that will help you grow
- Social network presence Creating a social media marketing strategy is your answer to growth-oriented startup plans in India. Social media is a big game, so you may need the assistance of expert social media marketers to get the desired results. Majority of people are inclined towards getting influenced by various social platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter
- Handling sales- Managing sales effectively is a very tricky and tough job to do. Building a strong marketing team is very important. Handling accounts is also very important to simultaneously grow with the marketing team.
So far, we have talked about all the strategies and steps that you need to follow in order to set up a startup and run business. And if you are finding the right time to start a startup, don’t wait for it- every time is a good time to start a business, you just need dedication, right efforts and hard work to set up and run your business.