08 Mar 2018 | 0
With ever-changing market dynamics, it is only the agile who will survive. Most start-ups that I have known or read about had to change the entire business plan atleast once before they could hit on a winner … if at all. So hanging onto an idea may be as painful as letting it go.
When I set up my own business in office interior fit-out a few years ago, I never for a moment felt that it may not work out. The realty sector was the sunrise industry then and demand for office space was growing exponentially. Multinational companies were opening shop and looking for quality work and willing to pay top dollar. It couldn’t get any better.
But as time went by reality turned out to be very different. With competition being intense, one had to plumb new depths in terms of price and accept unrealistic timelines, both of which seriously impacted the bottom-line. Quality was only a term that competition bandied around, with no intention of adhering to any standards. Under these circumstances the entire business plan had to be reworked. Eventually I decided to do work with only high-end projects, mostly with HNI’s, for superior structural woodwork and tensile structures. From interiors I moved to exterior work. The market was limited and demand was not high for the products that I dealt in, but atleast I could do business that made some sense.
Ofcourse there also got wiped out with the recession that hit us in 2007. Realty was the biggest casualty and demand completely dried up. There was one eventuality that I had not planned for. A lesson learned … definitely. Next time I will think of a business that is also recession-proof …. like a grocery store! After all a man has to eat!
Most new entrepreneurs stop thinking like a businessman and continue pursuing their dream of building a business for something that is very close to their heart, irrespective of continued challenges in getting customer acceptance. An astute business owner would always have a Plan B ready, in case of such an eventuality. It is more important to keep the revenue stream flowing, whichever way it may be, as the business’ survival depended on it. It is critical to ensure longevity of the business, which in turn could ensure achieving one’s dreams.
Think of alternatives that could help you to acquire customers and keep the revenues flowing in and in the meanwhile continue fine tuning your idea or product, until you have customer acceptance. When you actually have a marketable product, you would also have a good customer base to test it out and create your first set of reference customers for the product.
As I keep repeating, ideas are great only if they have paying customers. If the idea has to be revisited to ensure a paying customer then the entrepreneur has to do everything to ensure that the product or idea conforms to customer requirements and fulfills something that the customer is looking for. You have to constantly endeavor to create the need for your product and make sure your business sustains the ever-changing market and customer needs.