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When is a Startup No Longer a Startup?

When is a Startup No Longer a Startup?
Let’s start the discussion traditionally with a Merriam-Webster definition, a startup means “the act or an instance of setting in operation or motion” or “a fledgling business enterprise.” What does the American Heritage Dictionary suggests is “a business or undertaking that has recently begun operation.” A startup is an organization formed to search for a repeatable and scalable business model. A startup is a business that has the capability to grow very rapidly, ultimately becoming a “real company” with an HR department, divisions, and processes. Steve Blank calls #startups a “temporary organization designed to discover a business model.” Startups, when they begin, have no procedure, no culture, and no recurring business model. All they know is that they have the potential to address a huge market if they can figure their business model out, and then scale quickly enough to stay ahead of the competition. As a founder you set off with a vision of a #product with a set of features and a series of assumptions about all the pieces of the business model. The inevitable questions to be answered are: Who are the customers/users? What’s the distribution channel? How do we price and position the product? How do we create end user demand? Who are our partners or Co-Founders? Where/how do we build the product? How do we finance the company, etc. When you go around and ask people however, startup really means a young company generally building something focused on technology. Every business goes through the same four phases: #Idea Startup Growth Maturity This maps rather well to Steve Blank’s 4 stages described in four steps to the epiphany: Customer discovery Customer validation Customer creation Company creation When is a startup no longer a startup? “A startup is no longer a startup when the product/market fit has absolutely been achieved, profitability or considerable revenue with a path to profitability has been obtained, and if any one person left the company would still survive and not get swayed by the departure.” Being a start-up is mostly about work environment and employee interactions. A start-up graduates to being no longer a start-up when interactions across hierarchies become formalised. For example, if you can no longer walk into the CEOs office to pitch your idea and (s)he does not know you by name, you are no longer working for a start-up. Also, if a company begins to have rules about employee progression (such as you need to spend 2 years before being promoted or moving into a new role etc) then it stops being a start-up. #Companies which have strict rules on which schools to hire from or firm ideas on how many years of experience should be required for which role, are no longer  start-ups. I am not saying that start-ups do not have any criterion for hiring but these criterion, in a start-up, these would be based on things other than simply the pedigree or the number of years of experience. Start-ups hire people if they see passion and willingness to go the extra mile rather than for merely the right pedigree. Source: http://www.quora.com/Faguni-Jain Having made the above points – if a company crosses a certain threshold of revenues and/or profits, it should also declassify itself as a start-up – though it can continue to maintain the ‘start-up environment’ for its employees. Some Startup Mantras for Beginners would be: Be Careful with Cofounders Startups Take Over Your Life It’s an Emotional Roller-coaster It Can Be Fun Persistence Is the Key Think Long-Term Lots of Little Things to be considered It’s much more of a grind than glamorous Start with Something Minimal Engage Users Be Willing to Change Your Idea after User Interaction...
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Patent Protection

Patent Protection
The Idea behind Patent Protection In product markets, the problem of imitation poses a great problem for innovators who are deprived of enjoying economic profits fully. If imitators are able to move in rapidly and capture a substantial share of the market, the initial profits earned by innovators may not be sufficient to cover their costs and risks in the long run. However, a substantial delay between the time of innovation and successive entry by competitors may provide the pioneers with decent profits and make invention and innovation a more attractive activity. The patent system, by establishing a period of time during which the firm faces reduced competition, increases the expected return for innovative effort. Product and Process Innovations: A nation by stimulating research and development can increase the prospects of product and process innovations. Governments can encourage such innovations by granting patents. Three criteria must be satisfied to obtain a patent: The invention must be new It must not have been known to the public before the inventor completed it for more than one year prior to a patent application It must be useful and must be non-obvious What are Patents? Patents confer the exclusive right to the use of an idea for a long period (which varies between nations,say,in countries like India, it is seven to fourteen years, depending on the nature of the product) within which the innovator might be able to recover his initial investment. Another reason to grant patents is to provide for widespread disclosure of new ideas and techniques. The main objective of patent protection is to encourage research and development. Patents: Encourage research and invention Induce an inventor to disclose his discoveries instead of keeping them as a secret. Offer a reward for the expenses of developing inventions to the state at which they are commercially practicable; and Provide an inducement to invest capital in new lines of production Granting of Patents: The idea behind granting of patents thus is to benefit the society. Developing countries have to offer patent protection, the lack of which has made many foreign firms shy away from investing in core sectors like pharmaceuticals and biotechnology in these nations. As a result, people of these countries are forced to buy life saving drugs like those for cancer and have to pay ruinous prices. Once patent protection is available, there is a possibility for manufacturing most of the drugs that are being imported, eventually leading to a fall in the price levels. One of the difficult aspects of patent law is the principle that, whether a patent is to be issued to the person who conceives the idea or who first files for a patent. Another international issue involving patents is that, countries allow firms to steal and copy protected ideas, due to lack of severe legal enforcements or lack of interest. Either way it proves detrimental to the interest of the patent holders and such violations have to be strictly prohibited. Note: THE PATENTS ACT, 1970: An Act to amend and consolidate the law relating to patents The Patent Amendment Act,2005 The Patent Rules,2003 and Amendment Rules,2006 are some of the laws that protect patents in India....
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Effective Communication

Effective Communication
Promoting Effective Communication in the Work Place A purpose or an idea to be conveyed is needed for communication to happen. The question is how well or how successful you are in transmitting the message (mind you! without transforming it) to the receiver in the proposed meaning, whatever the channel might be! Communication must serve the following functions… Effective Control Motivational expression Information Fundamentally communication helps in controlling the behavior of the members of an organization in several ways. Either formal or informal, it controls the activities of the employees by prescribing certain procedures of communication to be followed when there is a grievance or a difficulty regarding his/her job, the work situation etc. Communication provides Vital Information: Communication also motivates people by clarifying what needs to be done, how to be done and how they are performing and what can be done to improve their performance. Most important function is that communication provides vital information that is crucial for members at all spans or levels to make effective decisions. The feelings of members are also articulated as grapevine in an organization, and in a way it serves as an outlet for their emotional expression. Grapevines: Grapevines are always not harmful, they might even give you information about the pulse of people working for you and if you are really sharp, “you can work it out to your advantage. Communication is always referred to as “oxygen”, we can feel only when it breaks down. Communication plays an important role in managerial and organizational effectiveness. Nevertheless, on the other side it can be the root cause of all the problems in your organization. This excellent infographic on Business Etiquette and Body Language Blunders clearly indicates how body language and gestures influence communication to a greater level.  Source: www.thewebsitegroup.uk Effective Communication: In general, effective communication is the prerequisite for any healthy organization and the attainment of its standard objectives. Most of us are in fact aware of how our vocabulary has been modified to reflect political correctness. For instance we have replaced certain words like handicapped, blind and elderly by physically challenged, visually impaired and senior. One must be sensitive to others feelings. Words are the primary means by which people communicate; so due importance must be given for politically correct words both in the society at a larger level and in firms at the micro level. Increasingly, I find people like being addressed by their designation capacities. Even people might get offended if you call them by their first names as it is regarded to be disrespectful. But I think it is always better to address a person giving due respect to his position if you are reporting to him. That way there is no scope for conflicts and strained relationships. Western countries are more modern in their outlook and have a broader perspective on human interactions than the east. Gestures: Words mean different things to different people. In organizations, people of different background work together, so they have their own language of expressing their opinions and ideas. So it calls for a uniformity of language that is well understood and appreciated by all. Gestures also play their part in communicating ideas. So self controlled expressions, proper behavior are also necessary that completes a communication process. Ultimately proper communication leads to… Satisfied employees Effective feedback Organisational efficiency Freedom for suggesting ideas Enhanced interpersonal relationships Closely knit organisational network Encouraging trust and openness. Communication is an on-going process and the purpose is “not to dictate but to make the employees understand the big picture” as to how the process imparts success and viability to the...
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