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The start-up challenge: An Indian perspective

A News.com reader writes that thanks to the sudden deflation in the Internet space, most of the small companies are struggling to find those first customers.

 

  
The start-up challenge: An Indian perspective

In response to the July 29 column by Robert von Goeben, "Selling's a pain, but it's all that matters":

I agree with Mr. von Goeben in that thanks to the sudden deflation in the Internet space, most of the small companies are struggling to find those first customers. Being a partner in a VC firm myself, the ability to lock in the first few customers, provide the right relationship management and, over time, convert the sale to the desired dollar levels, should be the strategy.

One of the key things missing in most of the start-ups is proper delivery and the execution processes that will ensure that customers stay with them. As the market matures, it is imperative that repeat customers form the main part of the revenue. This way, using these relationships as references will be easier to acquire new customers.

In cases where the product is heavily IT-enabled, attracting the needed domain talent is quite difficult if the hiring company is in the red. Today's scenario has a glut of programmers but to convince customers to buy, the need of the hour is to have functional subject matter experts who can work with IT professionals on implementation.

Besides the VC role, I am also a COO-on-hire for an e-pharma start-up where everything von Goeben has said is happening. The good thing is that we have concentrated on the right execution and management and things have started looking up on the sales front.

Naresh Nagarajan
Tidel Park, Chennai, India