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Will you get SEED fund for your idea?

Will you get SEED fund for your idea?

Being a start-up enthusiast, I have come across many innovative minds who wanted to raise SEED fund for their ideas. If you are a start-up looking for SEED fund, you may have so many questions popping out your mind: How and where to raise the SEED fund. As the term SEED itself describes, SEED fund is for start-ups who wish to turn their dream into reality to help them kick start their journey.

Before you think of raising SEED fund, you need to consider these 5 points as a must in order to become a successful entrepreneur!

  1. Product Validation

Rather than Sitting and talking with Google, Reach out to the real people outside. Talk with your friends, family members and most importantly to the people who are prone to be your future customers. Document their opinions/feedback so that you can conclude how far your idea/product will succeed.

  1. Know your Market

My boss will always say “Nobody will buy a Product since because it exists in the market; they buy only if it solves their problems or ease their lifestyle. So before you launch your product know your target customers. Do a deep market research, know the customer persona and nail a strong reason why they should buy your product.

  1. POC

Anybody can think of an idea but only those who have knowledge to develop and execute that idea can become a successful entrepreneur. You should try to build a demo / proof of concept and see if your idea is really working. You should be well versed in the technology/platform to develop your product, identify the challenges and undergo a detailed study on how to overcome the challenges.

“Investors always prefer to invest in what they see rather than what they hear”

  1. Business Model

Whether your product is a super wow product or a simple one, what matters most is “how do you make money out of it?” A clear business plan with all possible revenue models is a must while approaching the investors. Prepare a simple yet informative pitch deck with all information fulfilling the expectations of an investor. ( refer guidelines for preparing an investor pitch deck )

  1. Good Team

“Teamwork makes the Dreamwork”

A good team with expertise in different fields will definitely take your business to a higher level.  Every team member will have something special to contribute on their part. So select your team wisely. Execution plays a major part as it is the outcome of your idea. Your product will be a success only with a good execution team.

You can get SEED funding from-  Government schemes, angel investors, friends and family, Incubators, Accelerators, Venture Capitalists and Crowd funding. 

Of all the sources, Incubators plays a major role in an entrepreneur’s journey. Apart from providing SEED fund, they provide a wide range of services including office spaces, mentorship, investor connects and business opportunities.

Cultiv8 is a startup ecosystem fostering exceptional founders and creating measurable business impact, powered by Government of India. Know more

Idea Validation

Idea Validation - Why and How?

Me, you, anyone who has an idea and who is willing to act upon the idea, can become an entrepreneur.

Now, assume you have an idea. You like it. You love it. You believe it is futuristic and will change lives of many – great! Now is the time to validate if your assumptions are right and if the idea is worth spending more time on.

A simple definition of Idea Validation is – the process of validating your idea prior to launching your business.

Idea Validation – Why?

We are always biased towards our opinions and ideas. What problem I face might not be faced by 95% of the population. Is the remaining 5% a large enough market to cater to? – Not really.

Idea validation is important to understand:

  • Does your idea solve a real-world problem?
  • Do people need it? – Else you will be working on an idea that nobody is interested in.
  • And more importantly, are people willing to pay for it?

Before you start with the process of validation, create a framework around your idea. Easiest way to do this is to fill a Lean Canvas.

Lean Canvas helps you –

  • Define your customer.
  • What is the problem you are trying to solve?
  • What is the existing solution and how you will be better than them?
  • Unique value proposition

Lean Canvas should be refined based on new insights you come across while validating your idea. These are just your base level hypothesis to start with. Some of these hypothesis might get redefined and some may be falsified while you validate your idea.

Idea Validation – How?

  • Talk to potential customers

There is no better way to validate your idea than talking to your potential customers. I cannot stress this enough. These people should not be your friends or family. Get on the field and talk to people. Validation only comes from potential customers.

Ask as many open-ended questions as possible, try out different scenarios, get to know their pain points, ask whether they will be willing to pay for your product/service. Run targeted surveys to get feedback on the idea. Online surveys should only be a part of customer validation and not the only way.

In the initial stage, talk about your ideas with as many people as possible. The success of an idea depends on the execution; hence you should not be worried about someone stealing your idea. Sharing idea helps you refine it, get various insights, understand the obvious loopholes which you may have missed earlier and some outright critical comments.

  • Competitive analysis

Mapping the existing market players provides some understanding of how the product is received in the market. You can learn from the mistakes your competitors made, avoid them and build your own USP for the product.

  • Create MVP

Create a Minimum Viable Product and check the response. This is a great way to get feedback and build on it.

  • Crowdfunding

The most popular methods out there is crowdfunding platforms. Here you find people that are ready to pay for the product that doesn’t exist (as yet!)

Closing remarks

Sometimes just going out there and trying to sell your product/service is the best way to validate it. Often times it is difficult to precisely predict how your idea might be received. While idea validation methods provide some understanding of whether you should pursue an idea, initial confidence etc. – it is going out there and selling that paves way for continuous learning and improvements.

                                                                                                 Anusha Kamath

                                                                              Program Manager – Cultiv8

EQ for Entrepreneurs

When emotional intelligence first surfaced as a concept, it served as an explanation to the curious finding that about 70% of the people with an average IQ have a better performance than those with the highest IQ.

This changed the way we perceive success and where its source is. Research has shown that emotional intelligence is an essential factor that makes some entrepreneurs stand out from others. Emotional intelligence, or EQ, is that “something” within us that has an effect on how we manage our behavioural patterns, handle social situations, and make personal decisions that lead to positive results.

 

Significant aspects of EQ:

Self-awareness

 When we take emotional intelligence into account, self-awareness differs from what many people define as “knowing yourself”, or in other words, taking up strategies such as self-assessments, writing journals, and analyzing what other people think of you. It is more than just being knowledgeable about your strengths and weaknesses.

Emotional intelligence is a lot more about being aware of what you are actually feeling in a particular situation. A lot of people have emotional responses to events that they have no awareness of. When asked about how they feel, they will give you one of the basic answers such as happy, angry, sad, and the like.

Being more self-aware is actually about paying attention to the state of your emotions at regular intervals during the day. This way you get to be more aware of the subtle variations in your emotions, and what exactly is influencing them. This is important when you are faced with new information, interacting with your colleagues or clients, or changing your environment.

In order to work on your self-awareness, you should meditate and develop a habit of examining your emotions before an important meeting or a conversation with a client.

Self-management

When you become more aware of your emotions in particular situations, you enable yourself to properly manage them. Self-management is all about being completely aware of what you are feeling, and therefore being capable to choose the appropriate response in the given circumstances.

There is a huge difference between raging out when you’re marketing manager makes a mistake in your email marketing campaign, and being aware of how you are feeling and choosing to be compassionate about the situation.

However, you should know the difference between self-management and self-containment. You can’t call it self-awareness when you’re walking around with a fake smile and saying everything is working out just fine.

In order to truly master self-management, you need to work on accepting what you are feeling. While you can alter your emotional response to a certain situation, most often you won’t be able to just shut off the emotions that you are experiencing. Accept your feelings instead of bottling them up, and you will be able to come up with an appropriate way to respond to what’s going on.

Social awareness

Social awareness, or what most people call empathy, is what defined as understanding and sharing the feelings of others.

In order to be truly empathetic, you need to be completely present to people that surround us, so that we can sense when they are feeling and anticipate the emotional changes. We also need to be aware of ourselves and more vulnerable so that we are able to identify with all the emotions that another person is having.

People are often surprised by the fact that being more vulnerable and self-aware boosts your ability to be empathetic. But it is a fact that it is like language – you won’t understand what others are saying if you don’t speak it. By taking up meditation and exercising your mind, you will be able to be more present in your workplace and have a better understanding of what your colleagues and clients are feeling.

In the end, you can just be straightforward and ask them, to try and confirm your understanding of their emotional state.

Relationship management

Once you have mastered the previous three skills, you will be able to manage your relationships with people in the best possible way. Forming beneficial relationships depends on three crucial skills: always being curious about what motivates other people and what brings given situations about, believing that everyone has the best intentions, and being open when it comes to communicating your emotions and thoughts.

The fact that you are working on your emotional intelligence doesn’t mean that the person you are communicating with is doing the same. Therefore, when interacting with others, you should always be curious about their behaviour, so that you can learn how self-aware they are and how they manage their emotions.

The importance of assuming the best is in keeping a positive mind and bringing about positive outcomes. In most cases, people are just looking for a way to gain something beneficial from the interaction, the same way as you are, and being the bigger person is the best way for you to go.

This changed the way we perceive success and where its source is. Research has shown that emotional intelligence is an essential factor that makes some entrepreneurs stand out from others. Emotional intelligence, or EQ, is that “something” within us that has an effect on how we manage our behavioural patterns, handle social situations, and make personal decisions that lead to positive results.

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