Pandemic offers a golden opportunity for start-ups to re-visit and refine their business models: Skannd Tyagi

Skannd Tyagi wears many hats. He is a serial entrepreneur. He has founded e Info Solutions, Mould Innovation and Digital Chakra. His ventures are in the fields of Technology, Advertising and Training. Skannd is also the founder of Starshot Ventures, a virtual incubator for Deep Technology startups. He is also a two-time TED speaker.

Chalgenius managed to get a few minutes out of his busy schedule to know from him about the current scenario of pandemic and lockdown and its affect on the start-ups in India.

Here are the excerpts of the interview.

Tell our readers something about yourself.
I’m a Software and Robotics Engineer and have built businesses in the Software, Digital Marketing, Communications and Deep Tech domains. My passion is to connect the dots from unrelated fields and observe how they can change the way any regular business is conducted. This passion has led me to start Starshot Ventures, India’s first virtual incubator for Deep Technology Startups. Mentoring startups is a hobby and passion for me.

What is your reaction regarding the current pandemic and how it’s going to impact the start-ups?

It is an unprecedented situation, however as a race, we humans have weathered worse storms and survived. Human ingenuity truly reaches its peak during difficult times.

The startups that identify the opportunity in this adversity will thrive and scale up. Startups that let themselves become victims of their pandemic will perish. This is the golden opportunity or startups to re-visit their business models and identify where they can pivot and deliver more value to their customers with these new parameters of doing business that this crisis has created.

Do you think that funding would become tighter for start-ups and whether they should brace for the worst?

Funding is never tight for any startup which ships the right product and service at the right time. Startups have the benefit that large corporations and companies do not – they are lean. They can quickly pivot their business model based on dynamic operating environments around them. Those startups that can quickly evolve their business model and deliver value to their clients and customers right now, will attract funding. Startups that don’t adhere to it, should brace themselves for the worst.

Should the start-ups wait and watch and not approach investors for a couple of months?

If the product of service being offered is an immediate need for the customers or clients at this point, then any investor will invest in them. For instance if Zoom approaches any investor right now, they will invest without thinking twice.

If the startup is not satisfying an immediate and urgent need at the moment enough to have customers and clients lining up to buy their product or service, then they should ideally not approach investors at this time.

We have also seen that most of the start-ups have penchant for investments. They want to have investment even before they build a proto type or start project. What you want to tell them?

This is the incorrect attitude and needs to be avoided at all costs by any startup founder. In my opinion, funding is the last thing a startup should be worried about. A startup should only invest their energies in answering either of these two questions:

1.Is my product or service 10X more value to the customer than the competition?
2.Will the life of my customer improve by 10x after using my product or service?

If the answer to any of these questions is yes, then they should prove it by selling it to 100-1000 customers (depending on the product or service). Only after they have completed these two steps should they even think about funding.

The valuation game has put a badge of honour on getting funded. In my opinion, funding is a handicap for a startup, not the lack of it. The lack of funding allows for original thinking based on bootstrapping and an innovation mindset. As a result the business fundamentals become strong and the Startup becomes more long-lasting and stable.

Do you think the government should up come with a fresh strategy for start-ups?

Not needed at this time. The Government has already done more than enough for startups at the present time. It is up to the startup owners to be a little more aware and take advantages of the resources that the Government has made available to them.

What the start-ups should do to survive in the current situation even without investment.
1. Refine their business model for current and future times.
2. Reassess their structure and cut fixed costs to mitigate losses.
3. Revolutionize their industry and product using 10x thinking.
4. Reconnect with customers – use online meetings and webinars to be able to help their customers and try to deliver more value
5. Recognize that this is the greatest opportunity they will get to onboard new customers by informing them about their offerings and product.
6. Reorganize their business process and optimize it to work smoothly in the near and distant future.
7. Remember to smile. Panicking doesn’t breed innovation.

Get in touch!

Skannd Tyagi

Keywords: Skannd Tyagi, Chalgenius, start-ups, Digital Chakra

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