The second meet of the Open Coffee Club again took place at the same venue – Brew Ha Ha and as expected, the turnout was not very high this time.As compared to the 50+ in the first meet , the turnout this time was around 30 but the good part was that there were a lot of new faces in the crowd.May be we should say the word always spreads out and you never know when it spreads like a fire
Ranjith began the discussion with his startup Kapston.Kapston is a startup which is built to help startups.So what is it all about? As Ranjith mentioned “Since , most(or almost all) startups start with a part time idea, many entrepreneurs loose focus due to various reasons(like lack of time,work load etc etc) and this leads to an additional delay for the startup to hit the market”. So does he(and his team solve the problem)? Startups have to go to his company with the requirements and they would provide an end to end solution for them.Their service is only applicable to the Web 2.0 space and this is where even I felt that Web 2.0 is definitely a space which is looked up by everyone.
But the million dollar question is : “How does a startup afford to outsource the complete work since every penny is worth a millions for them” ?
Sharman ( 99% of the startups fail due to bad marketing):
Sharman who does not have a startup of this own shared his views on Business Plans and marketing.Though he does not have a startup of his own, he has helped Entrepreneurs to formulate their business plans. This statement caught the crowd’s attention and this is where Balu(wanna be Serial Entrepreneur) pitched in mentioning “Business Plan should be made by the entrepreneur himself since, he is the person who should know all the numbers(which would come out in the Business Plan). This argument went on for some time after which he closed his talk with 2 important things(on why startups fail) :
- Most of Entrepreneurs(with whom he has worked), did not succeed in their venture due to the lack of the understanding about their customers and
- Some entrepreneurs are so much tied(biased) with their idea that they never know when their idea is approaching the dead-end.So, always be flexible with your idea or should I say “Reformulate your plan(idea) just like you change your underwear”
Prateek from Muziboo was the one who took the maximum taste from this coffee.He came out with a simple statement “Just like a startup, we don’t want to spend money on marketing”. So , how does he get visitors to his site? He started off by saying that “Friends are good medium when you want to spread the initial word since, you expect the numbers to multiply though your friends but that happens to a very less extent”. He also touched upon Word Of Mouth (WOM) marketing which would be useful when there are a considerable no of visitors to his website.There was an open question to an audience as to “How should we do the marketing?” and there were some good suggestions:
- Have your own T shirt with your website, so that the word spreads out at a faster rate( This suggestion came from my side and was liked by a quite a few people in the audience)
- Reviews( positive or negative) on blogs which help them make their service better as well as let the open community know about your site.And yes, in today’s world , there is no better , faster and easy marketing medium than Blogs…
- Create a one to one relationship with the visitors(till the site has limited no of visitors,right now it has crossed around 200+ visitors so that they feel closely associated with the community). This is what Prateek has been doing at a very regular basis so that there is close relationship between them and the visitors of the site.
- Tie up with some of the local music schools and this was a very good suggestion from Siva
- Have a “Muziboo Badge” which can be put up on Blogs and sites [ which would help the word spread faster ] , this would do the trick what Firefox Badge had done for Firefox !!!
So, at the end of the day, bloggers just voice out their opinions and it is upto the startup to authenticate and take the valid inputs(and implement them).
Swaroop – Ion (Poster marketing does work):
Swaroop’s startup Ion is an ideal example how “A pain can be transformed into a startup” and Ion – the iPod charger is the best example to prove this point. He shared his experience on how “A simple poster did the trick for Ion”. After coming out with their invention, they(Swaroop and his co-founders) had to market the product and they followed “Poster marketing”. They stood outside a Nike showroom and asked few people randomly about the liking of the posters and finally , they chose the poster which had a majority no of votes !!! Apart from posters and publicizing their product on few blogs, they never spent a single penny on marketing and still they got good sales for their product !!!
If you find their story really interesting , check out some of the posters here
Hitesh & Vikram Mehta – PinkKatalyst:
These guys were true examples of advent of Entrepreneurship in India and just in their early 20’s , it was a nice after-event conversation with them about their startup PinkKatalyst. Since, it was more of a routine conversation, not much to be updated here.You can find more about the company here
Photos from OCC Bangalore:
Photo courtesy : Harinath Pudipeddi
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Harinath OCC Meet on 2nd Sept,2007
Other relevant Posts:
Bangalore Open Coffee Club debuts with 50 plus !!!!