Basic to Starting Up – Master Class by Prof. Ramesh Loganathan

Early stages of a Tech startup

A masterclass by Prof.Ramesh Loganathan

A startup founder advisory, a set of specially curated list articles by Prof.Ramesh Loganathan,on how startups can build on their basis and how the ecosystem can help them Develop insights on navigating the innovation process from idea generation to commercialization. Build knowledge on how to create strategies to bring innovations to market. Develop an innovation portfolio and business model canvas for your venture.

About Ramesh Loganathan:
Ramesh Loganathan is one of the founding members at Headstart and Head of research and innovation outreach at IIITH. He is the board member of CIE-IIIT and IIT Incubator. After 25 years in the product R&D space, in Dec 2015, moved full-time into academics. As Professor Co-Innovation, heading the Research/Innovation outreach at IIIT Hyderabad. helping start and grow the Technology Transfer Office, Co-Innovation (corp) labs, Entrepreneur In Residence program and the Centre for Innovation & Entrepreneurship. Have been adjunct faculty (middleware systems) at IIIT-H since 2002, visiting faculty at IIT Hyderabad (Innovation),member of governing board of incubators at IIIT-H, IIT and BITS.


0. Introduction 

While every stage of a startup is important and hard, the most critical and difficult one is probably the early stages.  More so for a first time founder.
This masterclass presents guidance to early stage startups on ideation, how to startup, how to find the right customer, How to understand your market fit. Working towards initial customers and revenue.  And setting up for early scale and growth. 

This masterclass is organised as a set of short articles.  In this order:

1.What Early Stage startups need? 

2.What to expect from a Go-to-market strategy 

3.Why is it important to look for the right customer?

4.What are the factors influencing growth?

1. What Early Stage startups need?

It can be intimidating but let’s add some order to the chaos and ease off your anxiety. Startups are considered inherently chaotic but there is always a method to the madness. The good news is you can always validate your idea before you decide to jump the gun and pour all your money on a sure-to-be-doomed idea.

Guide to mental models for Ideation:

1.Is your startup addressing your user’s needs?   If the startup is finding a way to improve certain aspects that used to result in commercial loss, then you’re in business. [Read].

2.Is technology the best way to a quick startup success/exit? One common path is to take something that worked elsewhere and pivot it to make it work in a different context or geo or domain. [Read]. 

3.Are startup events giving you bang for your buck? Here’s what you need to tick on your checklist to make sure that the time you spend at networking events is helpful. [Read].

2.What to expect from a go-to market strategy

The market definition identifies the specific markets — or groups of people that have the ability and willingness to pay — for a specific product or service. The markets should be specific and clearly defined, but they should also involve a large enough audience to meet the income and profit objectives of the product or service. If multiple markets are being targeted, then one should be prioritized over the others and this primary target should be clearly communicated.

Without a proper and well thought out Go to market strategy, it’s impossible to know if you’re chasing the wrong audience, are too early or too late to a given market, or targeting a market that’s too saturated with similar solutions — and you don’t want to run the risk of wasting time and resources on launching an unprofitable product.

A, Customer discovery phase crucial for success  The first step in the process is customer discovery, which starts with establishing a hypothesis around customers [Read].

1. ‘Identifying target customer segment key’ This is one of the most difficult aspects. Need a clear plan for the first customer, the tenth customer, and the hundredth. And beyond. Very specific. Very credible. [Read].

2. Reading markets right is key to growth     While working with clients, the smallest of details can help founders of startups to adapt and make amends

3.Why is it important to look for the right customer?

You need to focus on knowing your customers  because only they can help you get more leads and more business. Understanding customers is the key to giving them good service which in turn results in strong customer relationships and new sales through positive word-of-mouth recommendation. However, understanding the customers’ psyche is not easy and most often requires a thoughtful analysis to identify their preferences or purchase patterns so that you can anticipate their needs and exceed their expectations.The strategic choice of primary customer—with special emphasis on “primary”—defines the business. 

7 Effective Methods to Identify and Meet Customer Needs

A.Which revenue road to take?  It is never an easy choice at these crossroads. But then whoever said startup journey is simple.[Read].

B.Will your doughnut sell in the market? You must figure out how much value a product needs to carry, for it to sell. Get the glazed doughnut right first, then add the toppings. [Read].

C. Why viability is critical: Viability is the key to success. It can be viability to the users in the market, viability in the product building, or viability commercially. [Read].

4. What are the factors that influence growth?

Startups are full of promise and excitement, but the flip side is, they’re also full of risk and uncertainty. There are a lot of great ideas out there that somehow never get off the ground, and, conversely, there are plenty of questionable ones that become massive successes.Growth for a startup not only means a monetary milestone or number of sales, It is the culmination of various factors that contribute to the overall success/ growth.

Mind the Gap: The Startup’s Transition from Go to Grow

1.How investment-ready are you? While clearly an important caveat – if and when a      startup needs money, assuming there is a compelling case for investment. [Read].

2.Where startups can flourish hassle-free Growth and enablement for startups is not limited to specialised spaces called incubators like the IITs or IIMs anymore. [Read].

Full reference list: Read here.