An enlightening workshop for emerging entrepreneurs by Suresh Sambandam held at Kovai.co
On the sidelines of the Startup TN event held in Coimbatore, SaaSBoomi organized an exclusive workshop for budding entrepreneurs in the region at the Kovai.co’s office. The “Path to PMF (Product-Market Fit)” workshop involved Kissflow founder and CEO Suresh Sambandam, who educated 10 entrepreneurs on strategies to achieve product-market fit at the earliest.
The workshop involved entrepreneurs in multiple exercises to help narrow down and sharpen their problem statements, marketing strategies, and their solutions themselves. Suresh Sambandam emphasized that the first step for entrepreneurs is to get their business idea right. He explained that there are three crucial aspects to understand in order to derive the right idea, and it has to be done step by step:
- Derive your ideal customer profile (ICP) by first understanding who your customer is. Next, determine if the customer is a buyer, user, or influencer. Suresh explained, “A buyer pays for your product, a user simply uses your product, and influencers influence people to buy your or other products.”
- Identify the problem you are trying to solve.
- Understanding the contextual information
- Develop a clear plan for solving the above problem
Suresh emphasized, “The intersection of all three of the above answers is your business idea.”
He continued to say that the second step is to determine the total addressable market for your business idea. You need to quantify your ICPs or people facing your problem and understand how your solution addresses their problem, whether it’s by saving time, human resources, or improving efficiency.
You also need to understand the profitability of your solution. How does your product improve your customer’s profitability? And does the extent of profitability justify the price of your product? – Suresh added.
Once the entrepreneurs attempted to answer these questions and shared their answers, Suresh assisted each of them in further refining their business ideas during the discussion. After completing the first two steps, the third step was to validate the business idea by understanding if your ICPs are genuinely facing the problem and if the problem’s magnitude justifies solving it. Suresh stressed the importance of assessing the severity of the problem and encouraged entrepreneurs to ask themselves the following questions:
- How significant is the problem?
- How frequently does the problem occur?
- How widespread is the problem?
- How urgent or non-urgent is the problem?
- How rare is the problem?
Suresh Sambandam also advised entrepreneurs that their solution must be exceptionally unique to attract paying customers. For example, he mentioned, “There is no point in developing another email system because there are already Gmail, Outlook, Yahoo, and so many other platforms.”
Entrepreneurs were then asked to explain what they do in one sentence or phrase. Some crafted excellent sentences like “A poultry care CRM for poultry businesses.” Suresh provided feedback to each participant and questioned many of their business assumptions to help narrow down their customer profile. He later advised entrepreneurs to ensure that their solution is:
- Has a reasonable lifetime value
- Allows continual innovation
The last exercise of the day was for entrepreneurs to use the results of their previous exercises to develop a solid GTM (go-to-market) strategy. Suresh emphasized, “For the GTM strategy, you need to focus on how to sell and market your solution.” He also encouraged them to determine the channels through which they would like to execute their marketing activities. He concluded by saying, Once you gain traction, witness your customer base growing, and generate cash flow, you can assume that you have achieved product-market fit. Doing this is crucial before attempting to scale.”
Many entrepreneurs who attended the four-hour workshop said the discussions were extremely useful in helping them formulate niche marketing strategies, expand their total addressable markets, and continually question their business ideas to improve them further. The feedback also expressed hope for more eye-opening sessions by successful entrepreneurs like Suresh Sambandam to be conducted for the startup community in Coimbatore, further contributing to the development of the ecosystem.