A Startup idea is indestructible, but the Startup product is fragile. The fragile product requires strategic handholding while the idea needs reality check nurturing, says MJ Srikant, a strategic communication expert and Managing Director of MJSPR. He warns against the illusion of a bulletproof plan of Startups.
According to MJ Srikant, strategy is not a concept that can be structured in a boardroom and getting it done on the dirty streets of the market. Strategy is an integrated approach. The integrated approach includes – branding, media advocacy, liaisoning and then integrating business development aspects into these elements.
Successful founders create a plan and improve it continuously as market conditions along with customer feedback demands unfold, Srikant said.
But the unfolding of success for the Startups can happen only when the founders and the funders identify & tackle the missing links between the plan, the product and the market.
Typically, Startups resort to due diligence when they hit hurdles in their journey. According to Srikant, this is not a correct approach. Startups have to subject their strategy to due diligence. This will provide many answers to questions – about the product, market, scalability and aspects of sales.
One study says that the need for better marketing is more than the need for better product. A survey of Startup founders found that almost 13% felt that the failure of a Startup can be avoided by better marketing. Only 5.1% thought that a better product could have helped the Startup. Srikant says that “when you are getting into the market, you cannot depend on your strategy. Understand the market and to understand your place in the market, do a detailed due diligence of market conditions or market strategy in relation to your company strategy.”
“This will tell you much about your product and investment. The due diligence of market v/s company strategy will guide you on when to get investors on board, whether in phase 1 of operations or phase 2. Your will have clarity on funding and approach of the company,” Srikant advises Startup founders.
There is a big reality that Startups should consider before dreaming big. Even with good funds flow, three-quarters of Startups fail according to research by Shikhar Ghosh of Harvard Business School. However, the fear of failure shouldn’t prevent anyone from starting a business. Go beyond the failure of other Startups, says Srikant.
“If you want to go forward, do not get bogged down by the failures or case studies of failed companies. There may be 100 reasons why a company failed – they did not understand the market or did not get a proper investor. You have to see beyond the picture presented to you and identify your correct track. Your track will tell you the type of investor you should approach and about your product life cycle,” Srikant says.
A stark reality that his hitting Startup idea creators is challenges with financing. It remains the top reason for failure in recent years even as venture investment totals break new records annually. Srikant gives out investment seeking and presentation tips. “Most of PPTs of Startups are unable to show the basic character of their companies. You have to go beyond the obvious to tell who you are. To attract an investor, one has to say the unsaid part of the business plan. Your PPT should have your strategic understanding of the idea and implementation of your Startups’ product or service,” emphasized Srikant.
Former Google CEO Eric Schmidt says, “Revenue solves all known problems.” Let us hit the revenue stream with the correct and integrated strategy.