People leap forward to start own ventures and to pursue their passion besides the regular job. Technological innovations make entrepreneurship more accessible to a wider swath of people.
India is growing to be one of the global centers for entrepreneurship. People’s perception of starting their own venture or moving from a steady income to investing in their own idea has changed drastically in the past few years. From the major acquisition of Flipkart by Walmart or Byju’s growth to become the global leader in the edu-tech sector all becoming fuel for these changes along with changing job dynamics in the IT sector. Also, many of the professionals who have a passion for arts, cooking, creative works start their ventures as a hobby and later on establishing a business brand. Industry eagerly watches such changes in the past two to three years where many IT/management professionals have taken a great risk to get out of the comfort zones of their hierarchical designations and to be up and about to build their own business. Few major reasons for such changes are given below;
CHANGING INDUSTRY DYNAMICS
Industry, irrespective of the sectors, has seen tremendous changes in terms of business model, resource efficiency and technology innovations. All these dynamic changes have brought a very competitive environment and further change in market leadership of various sectors that were never thought of a few years back in time. This has forced many industries to think differently and bring changes across the organization. Rather than the experience, employers value competitiveness and creativity as key factors in the selection of resources. Henceforth reducing the career span from 60 years to 45 years in private sectors where the retirement age for a government employee is 60 years. Thus the employees of the private sector lose their job or were forced to quit the job due to high competition or frustration.
From Uber to Ola, Amazon to Flipkart, consumers expect the product or services to be delivered at their doorstep irrespective of the time or holidays. The major example is the changes in the banking sector; Google Pay and Phone Pe are the most accepted payment platforms among the payment options where more than 50 banks have been leading the financial sector since the digital payment inception. Consumers believe in and seek instant, convenient and affordable options and compare what is more suitable than what is available, where availability was the factor impacted the consumer decision in the past. Technology has played a major role in creating the customer segment that forced industries to revise or revamp their business model to compete against startups which got acceptance in a short time among end-users.
PASSION TO PURSUE THE INTEREST
Individual's perception of pursuing their interest has changed in recent years and have marked significant growth in the number of professionals who have left their job to pursue their own business. From the past few years, the number of women entrepreneurs is growing exponentially. They would prefer being a business owner who has the freedom of their own career and financial destiny rather than being limited in the old conservative society and most of them have been successfully managing their business and family. Also, the entrepreneurship platforms conducted across various cities like flea markets, handicraft exhibitions, homemade products, etc. encourage these categories to create visibility among end consumers and earn more by being their own boss. The success of the social e-commerce platform Meeso is a great example of these categories and keeps growing with the support of technology.
ACCESS TO MORE USERS
The growth of social media has enabled the ventures and entrepreneurs to reach more to the crowd of people within a short span. Also, the involvement of social media has reduced the cost of investment in marketing and infrastructure. Many of the ventures depend on social media platforms and have validated the business model before investing money to be an established entity. Social media factors like user engagement and immediate feedback enable the entrepreneurs to work on the business model, product/services and henceforth bringing more value additions to engage their end-users.
Technology plays a major role in creating the infrastructure for these trends in entrepreneurship. Social media and changing technology influence and creates the thrive inside those who want to get into entrepreneurship. IT and enabled systems can support and accelerate the growth of such entrepreneurship by providing the right solutions. Nowadays every startup/entrepreneurship needs to boost their digital presence to reach out to the mass crowd. Web/mobile solution is the most sought after the requirement to ensure the best end-user experience and then to engage with the business. Since it's not necessary that all entrepreneurs have the technical skills to come up with as IT solution providers, software companies can act as interpreters to bring them on digital platforms.
PRODUCT DEVELOPMENT AND MANAGEMENT
Most IT firms are involved to serve as the product support system or product management team if your customer is not technically sound. This can create a considerable delay in the product development process and further conflict in the project as well. We have seen the client change the overall project scope in the project run as he/she gets influenced by competitor projects or by other complementary products in the market. It may even force the customer to leave the project as he loses confidence in his own idea. An IT team with the right experience can only help entrepreneurs to understand and validate their ideas and further create feasible product solutions that enable customers to reach out to the market with minimum available features. It will help the entrepreneurs to identify the initial traction and then develop the product with better insights from the market.
Every product requires continuous development and value addition and that's what engages the end-users to stick on to the product. Most of the time entrepreneurs wait to get all features together and delay launching products in the market, the market dynamics can change in these timelines or competitors may introduce the product in the meantime. As working with entrepreneurs as their product support team, the previous experience will help the team to manage such hurdles and develop products that suit the market in phase by phase approach and validate the product at each phase for better value addition for its customers.
DATA MANAGEMENT AND ANALYTICS
Data is now the fuel every industry looks for and hence understanding and managing the data is very important in the growth of every business. Many of the traditional businesses failed in the recent past due to a lack of understanding of consumer behavior and purchasing trends that were not captured with traditional business models. As consumers moved from availability (means consumer used to purchase or order what is available to him) to demanding (means consumer prefers to have customized or personalized experience while availing the service or purchasing a product) mode, customer data management became very critical for every type of business.
According to the University of Exeter Business School, Customers are demanding personalized experience at every stage to have an easier and relevant purchase and hence having a deep deep understanding of the audience business trying to capture is how to stay ahead of the curve. That's why startups and corporates actively investing in the latest technologies like big data, artificial intelligence, blockchain, etc, that enables businesses to deliver better customer experiences.
It is indeed the first step in building the IT solution for the venture. The Venture must be visible to end-users or consumers in your supply chain. It is done by developing a website that communicates the purpose of your subject, your offering to end-users, how the venture is different from competitors and how the partners are getting benefited from the business. The presence can be further increased by involving social media in managing official pages on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. Recently Whatsapp has come out with a Business profile with catalog options where businesses can share the product/service offering that can be sent to the end consumer directly from the profile that details the same. This also helps businesses to create awareness about the product offerings and later engage their users via various campaigns and ads. Vloggers, Digital media Channels, Social media pages, celebrity endorsement, etc are few of the most accepted digital preferences adopted by startup ventures these days.
It is suggested to invest in mobile-based solutions (mobile application) if customer engagement seems frequent and grows at a good pace. A strategic plan for digital presence with the help of experienced product management firms is very useful in making such decisions. The growth of the mobile industry influences the new ventures to invest in mobile-based solutions without understanding the market requirements and having a proper user case study. Many of the ventures who do not have the technical capability misinterpret this scenario and invest in mobile application solutions. A mobile compatible web solution will justify the need for the mobile solution at the initial stage of the venture. The first priority should be to deliver the right experience to the user and make him engaged with the offerings. Analysis of the data captured can be used to make a decision on investing in mobile solutions. Growth in user base, frequency of use, location-based service delivery are some of the definite factors supporting the decision when venture plans to move to mobile-based solutions.
It is very important to optimize the cost at all stages of the business for ventures and especially when the venture is bootstrapped. There are many incubators and accelerators to provide space and credits to user services to reduce the operational cost as well. The introduction of cloud services has tremendously cut down the cost of a server, reduced the downtime, infrastructure cost and network-related cost for startups. Amazon Web services, Google Cloud, Azure, and other major players provide credits to startups in association with various accelerators to reduce the cost of running the services. The identification of such services will help ventures to manage their cost initially.
Outsourcing the non-core services or technology development to third-party will reduce the cost of in-house resources and focus on core business strength. A good technology partnership will help in identifying suitable technology and optimize the cost of investment. As a technology partner Serville Technologies prefers to grow with customers and provide a phase by phase product development strategy, immediate basic version launch to capture market, improvement based on supply chain feedback and value addition at each version, avoids one-time investment and spend based on market feedback.
Many of the technology-based associations and government-supported agencies provide virtual or physical incubation centers and acceleration programs for new ventures. They not only provide the infrastructure but train the entrepreneurs to grow the business and get investments, avail credits and other benefits to run technology and operations and create a space for networking and collaborations. Kerala Startup Mission (KSUM) from Kerala is awarded as one of the best incubation centers at a global level thus enabling the startup ecosystem to international standards is one of the best examples for a complete startup support ecosystem. Also, these incubators build a more application-oriented approach in the venture supporting both technical and non-technical entrepreneurs to overcome their weaknesses and stand among the best solution providers at par with global standards. Whether product or service, all entrepreneurs get the opportunity to interact with experts from various sectors.
From various surveys, it's very evident that the gig economy is growing at a fast pace bringing more people out of the structured system and creating the ecosystem for entrepreneurship or freelancing. According to Naco.org “The share of the U.S. workforce in the gig economy rose from 10.1 percent in 2005 to 15.8 percent in 2015. In 2016, 24 percent of Americans reported earning some money from the “digital platform economy ' during 2015. The number of self-employed individuals (many of whom are independent workers in the gig economy) soared by over 19 percent from 2005 to 2015”. These trends will soon be accepted globally and India will be among the predominants in the count of gig workers or entrepreneurs.