While businesses are still recovering from the shock and awe we witnessed in 2020 because of the havoc wreaked by the pandemic, it´s time to look ahead. The Tech Panda asked several women entrepreneurs what they have planned for 2021 as well as advice for aspiring women entrepreneurs.
Effectively Execute the Strategy Honed and Developed Over the Past Year
“We intend to expand pan India, capturing prominent news hot-spots across the breadth of the country. Moreover, we plan to implement our digitization and marketplace solution in tier-2 and tier-3 ecosystems, which in turn, will boost the entire news fraternity,” she says.
If you are a startup, one thing is certain, the moment you stop innovating in terms of your Product-Market Fit, you start losing relevance in the market
She says that the most important lesson she learnt was that Product-Market Fit is a constant phenomenon.
“The market is always dynamic, you need to always figure out what change you require in your offerings, business models, revenue streams, to best suit the customer´s needs. If you are a startup, one thing is certain, the moment you stop innovating in terms of your Product-Market Fit, you start losing relevance in the market,” she advises.
Target the Right Customers with the Right Content
Another startup that wants to focus on product market fit of their product is Sortizy (WE-HUB incubated).
“Our plans for 2021 are to focus on the spectrum of product market fit, getting the feedback from users and focusing on necessary iterations for the product we are building. We are starting to commercialize our consumer facing tech application, we will focus on strategies to target the right customers with the right content. We are also focusing on building a community to create the initial trust among users and establish Sortizy as a brand,” says Co-founder Surbhi Guha.
Come out of the comfort zone, don’t let negative and discouraging opinions and expectations of people demotivate you and be stubborn enough to not give up
She says she has drawn inspiration from courageous women who took initiatives without caring for what the society expected them to do.
“Women like Sarojini Naidu, Harriet Tubman and, Kalpana Chawla, and in modern times, Falguni Nayar and Whitney Wolfe have displayed tremendous amounts of courage despite all odds. My advice for other women founders is to take initiative. Come out of the comfort zone, don’t let negative and discouraging opinions and expectations of people demotivate you and be stubborn enough to not give up,” she says.
Continue Expanding the Pivot Caused by the Pandemic
Another WE-HUB incubated startup, Studio Uniforms is one of the startups that has had to pivot from the hospitality industry to the healthcare industry, a line they want to pursue, says Founder Shikha Verma Thutheja.
“In the journey of the last six months, we realized our healthcare workers deserve good quality medical clothing with protective features. We are working towards launching our line of medical clothing,” she says.
As long as one is aligned with the purpose and is enjoying the journey, one should go ahead. Dare to dream big and continue reading and learning each day
They have started operations in Hyderabad after success in Nagpur.
“2021 will be the year to explore the Hyderabad market and leverage on technology to scale,” she adds.
While admitting that entrepreneurship is a challenging journey, she advises never to give up.
“As long as one is aligned with the purpose and is enjoying the journey, one should go ahead. Dare to dream big and continue reading and learning each day. One has to learn to adapt to the change during a crisis and never give up,” she says.
Stronger R&D and Manufacturing Innovative Medical Solutions
MedSamaan, another WE-HUB incubated startup, has a plan of expanding operations to ten cities by the end of 2021.
“We are looking forward to stronger R&D and manufacturing innovative medical solutions that can further improve healthcare accessibility in India,” says Founder Romita Ghosh.
Do things as you think are best suited for your business; assess risks but don’t get influenced by the norms; and let time decide whether it was right or wrong
As a lesson learnt, she says that adaptability can be a big strength for a startup.
“COVID-19 has shown that a startup’s flexibility to adapt and embrace processes that are unconventional can actually be its strength in times of crises. What the world termed ‘wrong’ COVID-19 proved ‘right’ for us. Do things as you think are best suited for your business; assess risks but don’t get influenced by the norms; and let time decide whether it was right or wrong,” she advises.
The Future Looks Extremely Promising
“The future looks extremely promising, not just for women but even men and children,” says Nishtha Yogesh, Founder and CEO of Hunar Online Course, an online learning platform that aims at empowering women across the country by helping them learn new skills and become financially independent.
“We intend to expand our portfolio of offered courses across segments and build a curriculum that is designed to bring out the best in students. Currently, 30% of our completed students have started their own home businesses at various scales. As we scale, we hope to provide more support by way to access to capital, and more market access opportunities,” she adds.
You just have to constantly remember the mission, the problem statement you are solving, and keep working hard
Hunar plans to introduce numerous courses this year and give their students even more platforms and support to use their skill to start their own businesses. They aim to first provide access to skilling opportunities with options such as learning through video, access from anywhere and anytime, learning in local languages, and 24X7 faculty support.
Her advice for fellow women entrepreneurs is to focus on the mission.
“You just have to constantly remember the mission, the problem statement you are solving, and keep working hard. Entrepreneurship is a journey, and self-doubt surfaces from time to time. It helps to have a strong support system in family, friends, or your team. For me, talking to customers always motivates me to keep going,” she says.