Shaping Start-Ups into Businesses: Learnings from Real-World Experiences

“If you don’t know how to scale, then your success and ability to sustain will be very limited,” – Mrs. Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw

The essence of any start-up lies in the nascent idea that gives birth to it. However, it requires more than just an idea to sustain a business – it requires consistent, persistent growth and innovation to shape an idea into a marketable product or service.

Ms. Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw, Founder of Biocon, a heavily awarded power woman of today, shares her experiences and insights to guide today’s entrepreneurs to grow their start-ups into thriving businesses.

Scaling a Start-Up

All start-ups begin with a unique idea and have the ultimate goal of generating good revenue. In order to give shape to the idea and create a business model around it, entrepreneurs should aim to know the numbers involved in their business.

For example, setting sales or revenue targets and actively planning the resources and strategizing to achieve these goals is the first step toward scaling a start-up. It is essential to understand the sway and trends of the market, analyze the demand, and create a business model accordingly, Mrs. Mazumdar-Shaw highlights.

Sustaining The Spirit

It is unavoidable that MedTech start-ups have a long gestation period during incubation. Things being so, it is easy to lose steam midway or lose sight of the goals. In India, there are very few venture capitalists, which limits the funding that MedTech start-ups have access to. This deficit in bringing ideas to life breeds frustration, which can be addressed by keeping a service line alive, which generates income on the side as you work on honing the original idea.

Mrs. Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw gives an apt example: XCyton is a company that started with a revolutionary idea of infection diagnostics but also launched a traditional diagnostics arm to generate revenue. At the same time, R&D on their original concept could gestate and continue as they earned on the side. Such setups help relieve some frustration, keep the funds flowing and sustain the passion needed for start-ups to scale.

Assembling a Team and Sharing the Vision

Growth is possible for a start-up when a defined founding team has an equal buy-in to the original idea. Creating a sense of ownership for the start-up among the stakeholders creates an opportunity for open communication, sharing of ideas and innovation that add value to the deliverables of the start-up; this is where growth happens.

As an incentive to retain a good team of professionals with a start-up, tangible ownership of the start-up can also be distributed equitably among the founding team.

As far as developing a vision is concerned, it is first essential to understand the idea you are trying to manifest. What do you aim to achieve with that idea? Bringing pragmatism and objectivity into the picture gives a defined shape to a start-up, and from there, a vision is created. This pragmatic and objective approach to achieving this idea has the potential to drive visibility into a business model and help guide the team to their goals.

Dealing with Failures and Setbacks

As a start-up, failures and setbacks are inevitable. It is all about the learnings the entrepreneurs glean from surviving the “Valley of Death,” in the words of Mrs. Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw – a phase where things seem impossible. The key is to constantly build upon your errors, establish definitive proof of concept, gain validation and advocacy of the end-users, and look for potential partners under the same umbrella to broaden the perspective that catalyzes growth.

It doesn’t matter if India has limited venture capitalists; if an idea is unique and a business model well-thought-out, there is immense potential for funding, partnerships and, consequently, sales and revenue as well.

About The Speaker

Mrs. Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw is a pioneer of the biotechnology industry in India and the founder of the country’s leading biotechnology enterprise, Biocon. Named among TIME magazine’s 100 most influential people globally, Mrs. Mazumdar-Shaw is recognized as a thought leader who has made her country proud by building a globally recognized biopharmaceutical enterprise committed to innovation and affordability in delivering best-in-class therapeutics to patients across the globe.

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