As per a report released by Nasscom
and Zinnov, India witnessed the addition of
1,200 new tech startups over the course of 2018, making it the world’s third
largest tech startup ecosystem with a total of about 7,700 tech startups.
These are encouraging numbers for investors and future entrepreneurs, but it is
important not to count your chickens before they hatch. Data also suggests that
75% of all startups fail, and more importantly - 90% of
all products fail.
And while Digital Businesses have a lot to do with the Product they bring to the
market, it can seem all the more daunting for non-tech entrepreneurs looking to
be the next Jack Ma or Evan Spiegel. But here are some things to watch out for,
if you are a non-tech entrepreneur looking to ride the digital wave.
Lesson 1: Start with a problem you wish to solve,
not a product you wish to build.
This may sound counterintuitive if you are already designing presentations
that detail your dream Digital Product and its long list of features, but
the starting point of any great product is always a pain point that solving.
If you cannot describe the problem statement without involving your product,
go back to the drawing board.
Lesson 2: Do not confuse Product Features with
Your customers’ needs are closely linked to their pain points and your
product’s features are only one of the many ways that can be solve these
needs. Always focus on the needs first, and let the product follow.
Eventually, this would also make it easier for your Digital Business to
address the elephant in the room at a product level. Instead of wasting
resources in building ancillary features that might be a “good-to-have” for
your customers, it would allow you to focus on the “must-have”.
Lesson 3: Figure out your business strategy
With Digital Businesses, like with any other business, the key is to get the
business strategy correct. There is no golden rule for building Digital
Products, and what might work for your business might not work for another.
It does not matter if you are a tech
company or a tech-enabled company, as
long as you have happy customers, happy employees, satisfied investors and a
Lesson 4: Be wary of buzz-word
A competitor might be using Artificial Intelligence or Machine Learning to
get from point A to point B, but it might not always fit into your strategy
too. Incorporating unnecessary tech into your Digital Business not only
increases your Digital Wastage, but also blurs your vision of best tackling
the problem that you had set out to solve.
Lesson 5: Embrace technology.
You might have hired a great CTO to help with your Digital Business and you
might be blessed with a capable tech team, but as an entrepreneur, you need
to know how it all strings together. Take out some time to figure out the
basics - how back-end is different from front-end, and how consumer
interactions online are recorded in databases, etc. This will not only help
you stay on top of the business, it will also give you the right tools to
understand business requirements of future clients.
Lesson 6: Numbers speak for
Non-tech entrepreneurs can often be overwhelmed by the vast sea of
technology that keeps getting harder to understand as you go deeper, but it
is important to remember that as an entrepreneur, you are simply navigating
your ship across this vast sea. Once your ship starts to gain momentum, the
winds will start to blow and the numbers of your Digital Business will
easily eclipse the complications of technology.
To wrap this up, there is some great advice that Andi Hadisutjipto, the CEO of
Riviter, has for non-tech entrepreneurs.
Hadisutjipto says: “Once you have a
working product, the objection of worrying about your tech skills is eliminated.
Once the product exists, then it’s about sales or marketing.”