How it all Began
I’ve been writing at this address for more than 4 years now. It was back in the winters of 2012 that my transition from an employee in an IT MNC to doing something on my ow started. I started with writing blogs, learning the basics of Content, Social Media Marketing and other useful skills required to promote your content online. It was a good time to pick up these skills as Facebook was turning into a successful ad based portal and the world was converging upon content marketing as a major contributor of their online marketing spend.
All the skills polished by writing blogs, promoting them online and understanding how Facebook and Google change their ways from time to time helped me work as a freelancer and further run a focused social media marketing and consulting agency for 3 years.
Building a Product
I have a pact with myself, that i move out of my man cave and travel at least once to a distant place every year. Mostly these are sudden arrangements with my old friends where we pack our bags and move out to places unseen. During these expeditions, I’ve realized the importance of role played by local people of the places we visited. I’ve always tried to learn local practices, experienced places with locals and tried to make travelers feel comfortable who came to my hometown and were referred to me for any sort of help. I felt that travelers who wished to have a local experience of the place and mix up with locals were undeserved and locals who were good with information or provided services professionally were nowhere to be discovered. There was a gap that needed to be filled, hence LocalGuy.
Hungry to Know More
While I made this move to start working on LocalGuy at my hometown Shimla, my consulting business had to take a toll. Making it sure that I maximized my chances of learning, exposure and strengthening my network, I started booking tickets to startup conferences and workshops across India.
I traveled across the length of India from Shimla to Bangalore to attend the likes of TechSparks 2016, NSRCEL IIM Bangalore and more. It was a huge rush of adrenaline booking for travel, blocking slots in workshops, packing bags and going out on a voyage. I stayed and ate with my friends who were in Bangalore and Pune and nothing would have been possible without their support. A month later, I was high on 100% on motivation, ideas and TO-DO lists but low with Rs. 80 in my bank account.
I had made some advancements in developing a blueprint of how LocalGuy would look on web and mobile as my friend used to review and give suggestions on my work. Now it was time to make the next move. I wrote a piece of description about LocalGuy and applied to numerous Incubation programs running across the country and one odd day sitting in Shimla and looking out of the window at a setting sun, my phone rang and it was the call that changed everything.
LocalGuy gets incubated by NASSCOM
After this call, I went down to Delhi for the startup Konnect program and consequently, we got incubated at the NASSCOM Noida Warehouse.
NASSCOM 10,000 Startups is a program where the industry body tries to fulfill its aim of impacting 10,000 startups by the end of the 2023 and they are doing very well. As far as what I’ve understood from our first month at NASSCOM 10,000 Startups program, it’s a startups 6 months journey towards building a product that is self sufficient to take on the challenges of the market. You get an exposure to mentors who empathize with startups, understand the challenges faced by an early stage startup day to day and provide relevant advise and strategy to take on these challenges. Mentors like Dr. Sunil Shekhawat listen to your problems and stategise with you as if they were your co-founders. The zeal to help stratups is high among these folks.
My Experience at NASSCOM Warehouse:
- Great place to work and sync with your creative self
- Solid mentoring
- Regular workshops and discussion sessions
- Exposure to Industry experts on issues varying from product development to improving customer experience.
- Startup Ecosystem where you get to learn a lot from other startup incubatees.
- Free credits to run your product online for a year at almost no Expense.
As a part of my plan for these 6 months at NASSCOM 10,000 startups program, I am already experiencing a great leap of learning and exposure being a startup founder from a small town Shimla known for mountains and Snow than Startups. Let me share with you how I wish to use my time here and I welcome you to tell me how it should be according to you in the comments below.
Month 1: Understanding how this side of the startup ecosystem functions, roles of industry bodies, individuals and verticals. Just like any other organized sector, Startup ecosystem gets a good shape under an industry body like NASSCOM. Understanding what industry your early stage product is dealing in how it functions impacting the demand a supply.
Month 2: “Identify the Disruption”, knowing how your product can get connected to the existing business and become a part of Supply chain with the innovation it promises to create a difference or improvement. Improving Industry connect for better learning, increasing the business opportunity and cross industry learning. Scaling into new areas on the market side and increasing the cashflow through the portal.
Month 3: Understanding the capability of product created to emerge as a solution that user likes, sticks to and propagates to others. Pinpointing the painpoints it is actually solving and zooming into the transactions to understand what part of your offerings are getting the footfall, what’s contributing most to the earnings and what is contributing to the loss of revenue.
Month 4: Pacing up on the improvement part and implementing changes based on the data accumulated in the past 3 months of sales and market experience. This is the time to actually running sprints to improve your product on a high priority basis and becoming presentable. This is the time to improvise offerings, ease of use in your product and laying a foundation of your brand.
Month 5: This is the time to spread, expand and mushroom in as many new places as possible. The throttle has got to be on the full towards increasing the presence across the country keeping all the constraints in mind.
Month 6: All of the above and looking out for the next avenue for your startup. Be it an accelerator, a Seed fund, new office space or anything else you need to do to graduate out of the incubation and fly high in the sky.
At the end, these are my personal thoughts and may not be the best approach. Would love to hear from you about any improvements I can make in my approach or LocalGuy in the comments section 🙂
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