Click here to read the article as published in the September 2023 edition of Inc42:

NPS®, Net Promoter® and Net Promoter Sc

Four-fifths of startups in India fail within the first five years. Only 8% survive beyond a decade. Which of the bandwagons are you riding right now? It is time to join the 8% group. Minimise odds in your favour by strategically listening to your most important stakeholder – your customer.

A startup revolution is brewing in the heart of India’s growing cities, even as the landscape is littered with ventures that didn’t hit the mark. With the rise of entrepreneurship, there has also been a parallel surge in startup mortality.

Does Your Number 1 Stakeholder Have A Seat At Your Table?

Customers typically don’t have a seat at the startup’s strategy planning table. Every startup founder must know that at the end of the day, business success is based on whether customers choose them over other alternatives, are loyal to their business and repurchase, buy additional products and services, and recommend them to others and leave positive reviews.

Everything else that a founder needs to do is to achieve these objectives.

The Startup Traps That You Need To Overcome

A startup ignoring customer feedback and insights is set for failure. But why does this happen? It is because of a mindset unique to startups, irrespective of whether it is a tech company or a restaurant. The most common three elements of a startup mindset are:

  1. An inside-out mindset: Startups are often so enamoured with their idea that they fail to see if their target market wants the new product or service. This mindset can also create a warped view that the product stands out compared to alternatives, but this may not be so. Market research has found that 90% of startups fail in India due to a lack of real innovation.
  2. Launch a half-baked product to correct defects post-launch: The trouble with this mindset is that most new ideas become successful because they go viral via positive word of mouth in the early days. The flip side of this is that if you are blissfully unaware of negative word of mouth in the initial life stage of your startup, then you could be the victim of negative word of mouth that will destroy your business before it has any chance of success.
  3. Lack of customer feedback, especially in the early days:  It is critical to understand product and CX satisfaction along with how customers use your product. The discipline in the early days of a startup should be customer insights and action as a continuous loop.

Picture this: A brilliant startup idea nurtured with dedication, investment and hours of toil, yet it never takes off. The seemingly impeccable product just doesn’t resonate with the intended audience. Or the logistical nightmares keep piling up, driving potential customers away.

The frustration of being so close, yet so far, is palpable. In the vast, intricate maze of the Indian startup world, the voice of the customer often gets lost. And that’s where the chasm lies.

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