Mukund Krishna: Got a great product idea? Answer these questions first

Mukund Krishna is CEO of Suyati Technologies
As part of the steering committee for the NASSCOM 10,000 Startups Initiative in Kerala, and while participating in entrepreneurial meetups, I get to interact with young charged minds. They have many entrepreneurial ideas and seem restless to take their ideas and products to the marketplace.

I always tell them a piece of wisdom from David Ogilvy, founder of Ogilvy & Mather. “In the modern world of business, it is useless to be a creative, original thinker, unless you can also sell what you create.”

So here are a few things that you should evaluate before you take your entrepreneurial plunge. I have taken inspiration from Paul Graham, the famed investor of Dropbox and Airbnb, to make this list.

Can you find 5 - 10 people who can pay for your product now? 
If not, think again. 

A year back, we developed an IT product for amplifying a person’s brand on social media. We got amazing reviews, and had a lot of users. But when it came to paying for the product, people backed out. So, we hit the drawing boards again and redeveloped it for enterprise users. Now, we have paying customers.

Are you ready to spend the next three years of your life to your idea / product?
Some of the people pitch their products passionately in front of me. But when I ask them this simple question, I sense hesitation. 

So, do you believe in your own product or idea? Will you personally buy or use your product? Will you give up your current job and dedicate yourself to your idea for the next three years? Proceed only if you answer ‘Yes’ to these three questions. Entrepreneurship is more about perseverance, energy and conviction in the initial days and less about venture capital funding.

How painful is the problem you intend to solve?
You have to answer this not from your gut feelings or from friends’ advice. Do the research, get the first-hand experience and then come to a conclusion. One of my friends, before starting an IT healthcare company, spent days and weeks visiting diagnostic labs to know in person the challenges they face. 

Once you understand how the customer addresses the problem today, you might know what you can do to make your product different and useful to them. You will also know for sure what your target market is, and whether it is good enough to have a good scalable business. 

Can you cobble together a team?
Once you realise that your idea can be turned into a profitable business, it is time to recruit employees.

A start-up is not just about the founder. It’s also about the founding team and the initial workforce. Sell your vision to your future employees. Expound on how your product or idea will change the industry dynamics. Don’t recruit people who haggle for salaries, however good or qualified they might be. Take people who are enthused by your energy, idea and future prospects. 

Mukund Krishna is the founder and CEO of Suyati Technologies, an IT services and product company, based out of Kochi. Suyati Technologies has 200+ employees with offices in four locations 

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