I (Amit, CEO, iMocha) have just spent last 19 weeks at GenNext - a startup accelerator by Reliance and powered by Microsoft ventures. We found a great value in this programme and business has observed some remarkable improvements during this period. Simply put: I feel like I have just graduated from one of the world class STARTUP MBA institute with my business iMocha as Major.
I thought of sharing a few important highlights of this programme that can really help a tech startup to achieve next level.
- Customer Development & Customer Acquisition
Customer is the King. Understand needs of the customer better than the customer himself. Align your product and marketing efforts accordingly. We learned to connect to customers to understand their need/s that keep them awake at night. The Mother problem that we are solving through iMocha and our positioning were the outcome of this activity.
- Operating plan
Startups often forget to plan. Be ready with at least 4 months of the detailed operating plan. A simple yet very powerful activity. A small excel template worked for us.
- Plans are useless if not TRACKED and corrected from time to time, weekly tracking is preferred.
He (don't want to mention any names that make it private) tracked us every week, without fail. Strict, candid, upfront, insightful. For us highly useful.
- Product Road-map
Prioritize development efforts. Start with customer problem as the base and drill down to the most effective solution(feature) to solve the problem. Take into account - ROI (value to a customer - with some metrics) and ROE (return on equity - what you earn with some metrics) while deciding on new feature development priorities.
- Traction triumphs everything
Focus on traction(growth) and everything else follows. Understanding various ways of traction and prioritizing it for iMocha was fun and life changing. Traction triumphs everything. Healthier business is the outcome of traction efforts.
- Great faculty is not enough, Great students are badly needed
However unique a tech startups business seems, one must learn that there are proven methodologies, game plans and action items to be followed. Thanks to the Excellent team of GenNext, Microsoft and industry mentors who helped us shaping our dreams and realizing it as PoC in four months.
Would like to highlight here, informal coffee sessions with peer companies were equally insightful and connecting.
Big luv to First 11 at GenNext. Interested in names? .... see here>>> GenNext.
- Funding - the most talked and the least attended
Everything in business comes at a cost viz. the team, operations, customer acquisition, customer serving, traction, almost everything. Finding the right resources at the right time can get you there fast, first (few). Don't be afraid or hesitate to raise money when business demands.
- PR, Presentation skills
Doing is not enough, show it to the world. Spending time on PR, presentations paid off.
iMocha is on dozens of media sites, have a look at my presentation skills here (better than earlier for sure :-) )
- Time to party
Socialize and party regularly :-)
- Fresh office - Fresh employees
Little spent on the office to make it beautiful and inspiring, GenNext did just that. A refreshing workplace with inspiring quotes and beautiful pictures makes a huge impact on your mood and mind. Keep you fresh always.
Would like to quote a definition of startup learnt during this programm - A temporary organization designed to search for a repeatable and scalable business model.
Thank you GenNext, Thank you Microsoft, Thank you Mentors, Thanks "First 11" friends.