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 90% of all startups 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 Customer Needs
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 'good-to-have' for your customers, it would allow you to focus on ones that are 'must-have'.
Lesson 3: Figure Out Your Business Strategy First
With digital businesses, like with any others, 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 successful business.
Lesson 4: Be Wary of Buzz-Word Technology
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: The Numbers Speak for Themselves
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.”