Manish Choksi, President – Home Improvement, International & IT, Asian Paints, explains how startups can ride on the digital revolution. By Shweta Gandhi
Manish Choksi has worked at Asian Paints for the last 23 years and specialises in IT strategy and implementation. A member of the CIO Angel Network (CAN), Manish has been investing over a year for now with diverse startups like InstaSafe, a cloud-based security system, Canvera, a photography app, Germinait, a social media analytics platform, and NowFloats, a business website developer.
Having invested more than a crore, Manish says that the ability for some startups to become more successful than others all depends on their ability to scale. Here’s his advice on how startups can leverage technology to surge ahead.
#1 Analytics is key
“Sometimes entrepreneurs may know a lot about analytics but fail to apply it to their own company. Investing in analytics is critical as it is an intelligent technology that can be used to monitor everything on a ‘right here, right now’ basis. It can provide cognitive growth to the business.”
#2 Spend on advertising
“Startups don’t leverage the full capacity of their advertising power on digital mediums. They use very little of their own marketing—how do they expect to expand only through organic marketing?”
#3 Publicise references on social media
“Currently a weak ecosystem exists, which seemingly devalues the effectiveness of references. Entrepreneurs must generate references and display it on their social platforms to cover the lacuna. This will create a more stable and trustworthy environment and attract potential customers based on previous references.”
#4 Use the tools freely available
“Startups need to realise that technology is a larger hosting arena and a quite a few service providers have a lot of embedded tools that can be leveraged to the startup’s advantage. Find out which ones work for you and utilise them to the max. Also, businesses need to be more consistent. If you plant a new idea, don’t yank it off in 15 days! Give it time to grow as it may require time. Think of longevity for every new plan you create on the digital spectrum.”
#5 Tech for collaboration
“In very small startups, differences are likely to crop up. The way to avoid this is by taking advantage of digital technology to ensure all the teams are in sync. Startups must use connectivity and make every effort towards collaboration. Technology can really help in this case, like the business version of WhatsApp, the TeamChat app.”
#6 Stay updated with hot tech tools
“Hot tech is embedding intelligence of any sort that acts as a differentiator—it could be how customer data is stored or how it is analysed—that will separate the startup from the crowd. Startups can build newer tools, change the way user interfaces work, delve into artificial intelligence, machine learning and robotics if their ideas are in the non-human realms. 3D and visualisation will change the way we interact with computers. I haven’t seen too many startups in India employing this technology—if they do, it would be game changing.”