Is there such thing as too much press in business?

Yes, there is!

I used to believe that getting a lot of press coverage for any business would be good. It would be great to create more buzz, more people would would know about it, more people would be ready to purchase the product, and ultimately there would be more sales. What could be wrong with that right? Well now, I have started to think that it depends where you are in the business stage (startup, survival, sustainable, growth and scale).

For a startup, getting buzz creates hype and excitement towards the company. That buzz can create demand for the product or service, get market feedback, attract talent to the company among others. Yet I have started to see the pressures and repercussion of too much press early in the business stage. First time founders are really excited and passionate about their idea and want to get it out there. It’s hard to resist getting that coverage when it is coming your way. However, when the idea is out in the media, more resource equipped people and companies can easily change their strategies and almost destroy that upcoming new business. Also, if the founder(s) don’t move fast in the market, the weight of the early press coverage/even awards can hold them back. The team dynamics and egos of various people can also be affected if not taken care properly.

It sounds almost counter-intuitive to not get too much press coverage and recognition early. This is definitely not the case for all businesses. However, I’m starting to feel and believe that for startups in Nepal that want to make an impact domestically and internationally, it’s best to extremely focus on your product/service (and resist press/other coverage until you are ready). The time will come when you need to market it, generate press, and grow your company.

Crowded market

This morning I read about a new food delivery startup in Kathmandu. I pondered do we really need another food delivery startup catering to the capital. There are already a few established names in the space and one who has been doing this since 2012.

Questions I had regarding the new food delivery startup:

-How big is your market size? How many people order food from office/home?

-How many other similar delivery startups are out there? What are their strengths/weaknesses?

-What is your Unique Selling Point (USP)?

-What’s your revenue model? Do the margins make sense?

-What is your burn rate? When is the expected plan to break-even/generate a profit?

Investment in Nepal’s tech scene

It was 2012. I was feeling that something was brewing in Kathmandu, Nepal. There was a new wave of enthusiasm, drive and hunger to start something-among the youth. Events were happening almost every weekend. There was Startup Weekend Kathmandu, PIVOT Nepal, hackathons to name a few.

The journey from 2012 to now has been long and many tech startups are able to get first mover’s advantage in the domestic market or selling their product/service abroad. Nepalese consumers are becoming more digitally savvy, mobile/internet penetration is growing and we’re noticing a rising ecommerce scene. Founded in 2011, SastoDeal recently got investment from Dolma Dolma’s website states Dolma Advisors Pvt. Ltd. is a consulting firm providing investment advice to international investors including Dolma Impact Fund – the first international private equity fund for Nepal, investing in various sectors and making sustainable and positive social and environmental impact. Stories like SastoDeal is good for the local startup ecosystem. It tells the aspiring and current tech company founders that if you need to take your growing company to another level, there are companies out there to assist you. But first you have to come up with an idea, execute it and show growth. SastoDeal took a risk and bet that ecommerce was going to become popular and culturally accepted over time throughout Nepal. Now most young consumers are shopping online from portals like SastoDeal, Daraz Nepal and Urban Girl etc. Also payment gateways are aplenty and ISP’s are providing better bandwidth at lower prices all helping boost Nepal’s digital economy.

In a lot of the startup/entrepreneurship related events that I had attended in Kathmandu in recent years, I felt that there was not many technology domain investors and funding opportunities available for tech startups. Now we might be seeing a few startups getting some investment to grow their business. If your online/mobile business is growing, the investors will find you. You have to build your business first. If you’re waiting for investors to come knocking so you can start your venture then you will be waiting forever. Start now.