Category Archives: Startup

What is your North Star?

I saw a video of Alex Schultz who heads growth and analytics for Facebook talk about metrics and growth. He uses the analogy of a North Star. The founder of the startup steers the ship and should know the directions.

To sum up – The North Star is the most critical metric you should measure.

Various Metrics

The metric which is most valuable to your startup is contextual to your business. I have several metrics going on in my hyper-local venture. There is the most important one which is how much money the business makes? Data points are spread across social media, the various websites, support requests, advertising enquiry forms, etc. The metrics on Google analytics and social media can itself be very difficult to analyse.

My North Star Metric – Inbound Leads

I will measure the number of inbound leads I get from all platforms. i.e. 1) Social media 2) Website 3) Telephone calls 4) Referrals etc. Increasing this metric means I don’t need to spend time and efforts on marketing, sales and advertising. This would create a direct impact to the business volume growth. Once I measure and test where I am getting most of my leads, I would work backwards and try to make the process of these inbound leads generation smoother. These inbound leads are easier to measure, than the other metrics like social media engagements, content analysis, etc.

I have found my North Star, What’s your’s? 

Children we gave away your jobs to Robots!

The first time, I felt like I should have got a job was when I was about 30 years old when a friend told me the salary of her boss. Till then I had no idea that one has to get a job for a living.

My father a technoprunuer told me that I should become an Engineer and then join business.
What my father didn’t realise is that being an Engineer is not good enough. After all he had worked for 15 years in various positions before taking the plunge in to business. A case of hindsight blindness perhaps?

I thought I had business in my blood and whatever I did would be right and I had some great luck to begin with. I was achieving the manufacturing targets. My over-confidence soared and touched ego-maniacal heights.

After dads death, hell broke out. The workers instigated a strike, close employees rebelled seeing a weak 26 year old boss. I managed to trudge along and the momentum of initial success carried me for over a decade.
A theft in the factory was the nemesis of my career as a owner of a factory. Once I was out of business I had no idea about how difficult it is to get that success. I am still learning.

I don’t know the formula of success. The macro-economic situation today is weird. The tech savvy millennials are with all the jobs.

There are also more than ever robots replacing humans in the work place. Generation “X” like us don’t stand a chance with the competitive millennials. Check this video by Sramana Mitra where she talks about the future of Jobs. She predicts that in 50 years 60% of jobs would become automated or taken over by bots. The wealth would become concentrated at the tip of the Pyramid. Governments would then have no choice but to give “Universal Basic Income”.

If you think this wont happen in India, then you might be wrong. L&T retrenched about 14000 employees since April and it has digitised its operations.

So all those parents preparing their children for jobs, this post is a warning. What skills would you impart to your children, if jobs get automated or taken over by bots. Is entrepreneurship the answer. Could micro internet entrepreneurs like me ride the tide to a safer shore? Would automation be an enabler rather than a liability?

I am hedging my bets for automation. I would love to automate the sales process of my business. I don’t have the capital to hire employees. My business doesnt have the scale to attract VC’s so automation will save me from doom.

What an Irony!

Scaling Up Plans.

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I have been thinking. I need 10000 fans, and i need 150 customers a year. This is the maximum volume i can handle, but the only catch is I don’t mind growing my income by 10x.

So the constraints are

1) Only 150 clients per year.

2) 10000 fans.

Income Target = 10x(current income)

So lets see how this can be worked out?

I think i have about 100 customers a year now, but the problem is they are not going to pay be 10x the times i want to reach my goal of 10x(current income)

Solution – I go to new markets (cost of entering the market is available), find richer customers and base my game on value rather than price.

As the i get richer customers, the cheaper ones will be eliminated or replaced, or find a hire (outsource) to take care of the cheaper (in terms of sale) customers. (with quality checks in place, so the cumulative effect is that of a single big customer). (Not meant in a degrading way).

Current Status – Looking for newer (richer) markets.