7 of 7 Unique Ways India Conditions the Minds of its Entrepreneurs to Excel

New Age Start-ups – Advantage India!

7. Variety and fragmentation? Indians have always been dealing with them.

As discussed in Chris Andersen’s “The long tail” businesses have to deal with millions of players with their unique offerings competing for a part of the pie. Niche offerings and the internet’s ability to address the “audience of one” has resulted in fragmentation of every market. India has always been a fragmented market given more than 26 languages, hundreds of sub cultures with their own religious customs. Hindus believe in worshiping a different deity (God or Goddess) depending on the purpose or day of prayer. Even food habits demonstrate the same variety.

It’s time Indian entrepreneurs realized that they have these special advantages while competing with others in general and the western entrepreneurs in particular.

6 of 7 Unique Ways India Conditions the Minds of its Entrepreneurs to Excel

New Age Start-ups – Advantage India!

6. Indian entrepreneurs are used to a crowded world where one has to compete for everything.

Startups have to compete hard to get a part of the pie. Indian entrepreneurs are used to fierce competition from childhood days. Its not easy getting into a good primary school in India. Parents have to prepare their children for months for the test/interview conducted by recognized primary schools. This is the first taste of competition for the child which continues to develop through high-school , college and finally in the job-market and beyond. Its very difficult for startups to get funded. Recent business plan competition by The Economic Times had sixteen thousand participants out of which only a handful got funded. The economy of shortages has forced Indians to find innovative and efficient ways of using scarce resources. Fierce competition will eliminate those who don’t.

Unique Way 7 >>

5 of 7 Unique Ways India Conditions the Minds of its Entrepreneurs to Excel

New Age Start-ups – Advantage India!

5. Indian entrepreneurs are more comfortable in communities than corporations

In my earlier blog “Bottom up, employee driven corporate metamorphosis” I have extolled the virtues of communities in this age of crowdsourcing and how they are more valuable than corporations. Corporations are a western phenomenon. Deep hierarchies in the armed forces and Government were introduced by the British in India.  Typically an Indian village was ruled by a group of elderly villagers called Panchayat. Spread of the Hindu religion happened in a viral way with many Gurus and saints acting as change agents propagating the message of their religious belief unlike Churches that had a well organized hierarchy managing them. More recently communities have been organized as co-operative societies in India. Amul – a dairy co-operative is competing well with international brands like Nestle and Kraft. Co-operative societies organized by communities dominate banking, sugar, poultry and dairy business in India. Most of the trading businesses are managed by communities that specialize in the specific merchandize being traded. It will be interesting to see how these traders compete with large retailers like Wal-Mart.

Unique Way 6 >>

4 of 7 Unique Ways India Conditions the Minds of its Entrepreneurs to Excel

New Age Start-ups – Advantage India!

4. Indian entrepreneurs prefer dealing with people than processes

Successful startups often adopt agile development. The agile manifesto values people over processes. Indians have simplified most processes by having “agents” who “take care” of the forms , rules and supporting documents required. Natural response of an Indian dealing with a process in a Government department or a large private corporation is to find out “Who do I meet?” or “Who will do this work” . His first choice will be to find out if he already knows someone who can help him navigate. These human interfaces hide a lot of complexity that no one wants to deal with. The agile manifesto can’t find more convincing validation than this. Indians are very comfortable in an environment where who you know matters more than what you know.

Unique Way 5 >>

7 Unique Ways India Conditions the Minds of its Entrepreneurs to Excel

New Age Start-ups – Advantage India!

Like every November Indian Startups will flock at Bangalore this year for the Nasscom Product Conclave . Many well-educated and experienced entrepreneurs will showcase their new age products. Its time we looked at the unique way India conditions the minds of its entrepreneurs to excel.

Unique Way 1:

Indian entrepreneurs are good at making creative improvisations in the face of resource crunch.

Successful startups owe their success to their ability to be creative and economical at the same time. India is an economy of shortages. People often think a lot before spending on things as trivial as a phone call. “Missed calls” are extensively used to communicate without spending anything. Guards or drivers report on duty by giving a “missed call” to their superiors. TV viewers can vote in a competition by giving missed calls to the chosen competitors. Rag-pickers recycle almost everything from pet bottles to plastic bags. Arvind Gupta makes innovative scientific toys from trash. Almost quarter million office workers in Mumbai have hot meals from home delivered to them for a quarter per day and has near zero error rate- thanks to the low cost transportation system developed by the community of Dabbawallas.

Unique Way 2 >>