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What does it take to run a successful digital business in India?

What does it take to run a successful digital business in India?






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    What does it take to run a successful digital business in India? What does it take to run a successful digital business in India? Presentation Transcript

    • So this is the question that I am addressing: What does it take to operate a successful digital business in India??
    • I may as well have been trying to answer the question: What does it take to get World Peace?! Ok, a tad over-dramatic, I agree..  But given the few successes, a challenging question…
    • Let’s set the framework clear though: What does it take to operate a successful digital business in India ??
    • Successful / Digital / India
      • Real scale: beyond friends and family
      • Angel, VC funds or Biz plan competitions are not success: earning money, not burning money is what we are talking about
      • Hockey-stick curve, Brand, IPO!
      • Every biz has digital component; developing apps is software business
      • Digital: largely pure play online biz, any access device, e-com/digital del/portal etc.
      • India: ops based here, market can be global
    • Let’s look at a few examples: Global and Indian
      • Understands its customer well
      • Makes it easy to purchase
      • Keeps innovating; awesome use of technology, but for benefit to the customer
      • Uses its reach to sell more; via brands, via user stores
      • Affiliate programs – online distribution network
      • Scale, mind-blowing SCALE
      • Early focus on doing one thing right – very right
      • A need that was virtually global – everybody searches!
      • Did all that others were not doing
      • How Free can be a lot of Money
      • Protect the key turf well; innovate to remain cutting edge
      • Scale, mind-blowing SCALE – yes again!
    • Rediff in 1998: the Indian Yahoo?!
    • Rediff in 2008: still looking a lot like Yahoo… !
    • And Rediff now..is it a Google look? Oops.. No, now it is a Facebook look.. ! When will the real Rediff stand up and be noticed??
      • The digital handshake model
      • At least one side of the handshake pays and pays well
      • A recurring requirement model
      • Improved on offline efficiencies
      • Generates good scale: companies keep needing people, people keep needing jobs
      • Gone offline, for growth and to meet stock market expectations!
      • Also a digital handshake model
      • Both sides may pay, or not pay
      • Not quite recurring, in India 
      • Some offline models still look better
      • Constantly acquiring new clients
      • For credibility, offline piece required
      • Offline necessity, call centers add huge cost, and reduce biz efficiency
      • But great model, all the same
    • Shaadi vs Naukri: The Real Challenge!
    • The Business Model
      • What is the market size?
      • Will it scale with technology or with on-ground presence?
      • What are the entry barriers? (How many of us can remember the 2 nd name in auction sites??)
      • Is the model simple for a consumer to understand?
      • Are you ready to ramp up in a hurry?
      • Is the revenue piece clear?
      • Is it fundamentally cash positive?
    • It’s Digital and it’s India..
      • PC based user base is finite; is it still attractive enough for your plan?
      • Mobile access is an option for sure; does your service demand large screens?
      • Can you aim for a global market? (Just read today about Titan, VLCC, FabIndia, Just Dial and other retail brands going global – for digital brands, it’s got to be easier!)
    • The Depth of your Pockets?
      • Technology costs; at some point, it will go beyond the hostel room and beyond pals!
      • Do not underestimate branding and marketing expenses; in the maze of the digital space, you may not be visible!
      • Cost of speed, cost of technology changes, cost of responding to surprises, cost of responding to competition with deep pockets
    • Revenue: It’s not always the user of the service who pays!
      • Advertising
      • Subscriptions
      • Pay-per-view
      • Freemium
      • Affiliates
      • Lead Generation
      • Brand Placements
    • In Summary
      • Clean, scalable digital business model
      • Technology strength – core competence
      • Smart not stupid – save money, where you can, but not at cost of service levels
      • Branding, smart marketing
      • Clarity of revenue model
      • Aim for the world – why can’t a Facebook or Twitter come out of India?!
      • Good investors and mentors are a huge plus
    • Interesting models: which ones work?
      • DVD rentals
      • Used car sales
      • Text books – sales and library
      • Mobile payment services – aggregation
      • Group buying / reverse auction
      • My wish list: a model to manage my communication overload.. Any takers?!
    • Thank you! Sanjay Mehta Jt. CEO, Social Wavelength www.SocialWavelength.com Twitter: @sm63 Blogs: SanjayMehta.me and GreyHairWisdom.com