How to generate opportunities to develop an early stage business?

As per the website, the first entrepreneurs can be traced back to nearly 20,000 years ago with trading being one of the first entrepreneurial ideas. During my career I’ve had the opportunity to connect with several people aspiring to be entrepreneurs. Today most conversations around early stage funding in India, only focuses around tech-based start-ups. However, there are many ways to generate opportunities to develop an early stage business. 

  • Innovate

    This is one of the most popular and hardest way to become an entrepreneur. After all, how many people can be the next Steve Jobs, Mark Zuckerberg or Bill Gates? However, if you have an innovative first of its kind product that meets an existing or potential market, then this could be the best way forward for you. How many people knew they would use Facebook the way they do before it was invented?

  • Bring a successful idea to a new market

    This is what most of the successful Indian start-ups have been built on. They identified a successful business models abroad where they could have a first mover advantage in India and were able to not only bring it to the market but also raise start-up funds fast enough to grab market share before their competitors.

  • Franchise or Distribute an existing brand

    Somewhat similar to the earlier point but with lower valuations and need to innovate, if you are able to identify an unmet local market need and franchise or distribute an existing brand in a new market, it could give you an advantage of developing  a market for a company that has a large potential but they themselves may not be keen to invest in.

  • Setup a niche business

    In a growing economy there are several customer needs in niche areas that can be met by developing solutions with fairly reasonable initial funding levels and these may or may not be fully technology based. So if you can research and understand the customer in your area and region really well, setting up and growing a niche business may also be a great idea to get started on your entrepreneurial journey.

So, while it may seem cool to say that you founded a tech company, remember there are many ways to be a successful entrepreneur without it necessarily being the next Facebook or Amazon.  

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