Businesses need to flourish in a Volatile, Uncertain, Complex and Ambiguous (VUCA) environment. Our niche Strategy Formulation, Execution and Monitoring services will help you flourish.
New Age Businesses
We help you answer questions such as:
> Are you in the right space?
> Can the business model / revenue model be improved?
> What is the unit-economics strategy? Where to lean on growth v/s profitability?
> How to make the organization scalable and sustainable?
> Does the financial model make sense for investors / lenders?
> Can the presentation be improved / overhauled?
> How to structure your resource mobilization effort?
> How to handle valuation and negotiation?
We also offer the entire gamut of preliminary activities such as legal structures, review of legal documents / contracts, capital structuring, preliminary market research and customer discovery exercises.
Further, we hold powers of attorney for international clients as part of our trusteeship services.
We provide insights on concerns such as:
> Where am I?
> What do I NOT know?
> What are the new opportunities in my space?
> How do I counter competition from new-age businesses?
> How do I improve – Strategically? Tactically? Financially?
> How do I keep track of where I am headed?
> How do I ensure smooth transition to the next generation?
Our structured, research-oriented approach often helps identify problems early, for quick corrective action.
We do a lot of interesting work, including assignments that are exploratory for both client and us.
Our assignments call for varying degree of expertise in Strategy, Economics, Finance, Marketing, Systems, People and Law.
Our services are offered confidentially, in a high-trust environment.
Artificial Intelligence (AI) Strategy
AI is changing everything. For us it is déjà vu. Over two decades ago, we were “internet strategisers”, providing strategic guidance to businesses when internet came into vogue. During that phase, businesses were deciding between brick-and-mortar and dotcom models. The click-and-mortar models that we recommended to many clients became the dominant models. We also helped many dotcoms shut down.
Businesses today are at the cross-roads of AI. Many make the mistake of viewing AI as either a technology project or an algorithm development project. You need to re-imagine your business, keeping AI at the centre. This re-imagination should not be influenced by blind-spots linked to the existing way of doing things. A few issues:
> Is a “platform” strategy meaningful for your business? Or would conventional “pipeline” business be better?
> Should the customer channel be B2B, B2B2C or D2C model?
> Where to use big data and where to stick to conventional statistical models?
> Where to apply big data for inference? Where to benefit from its predictive ability.
> What are the boundary conditions to know when machine-learning models are pushing the business along dangerous paths?
We define this emerging role as “AI Strategiser”.
Shorter product life cycles and higher investment outlays are a lethal combination for business risk. Traditional businesses face a more fundamental challenge of surviving competition from start-ups who are re-defining client experiences with seemingly unlimited access to resources. This has increased the need for independent research to back various managerial decisions; conventional marketing research addresses only part of the problem.
Research is ideally suited for managerial decisions that cannot be taken intuitively; it can also improve intuitive decisions. The issues may relate to any domain e.g. finance, marketing, human resources, production, supply-chain etc.
For instance, understanding country risk for a new market, estimation of demand function for a product, assessing the ideal capacity to plan for, evaluating the profile match between the client and sales person, measuring channel strength etc. Valuation of your business or your share-holding in the company can also be viewed as an interesting research problem, with several precedent and consequent possibilities.
Did you know that something as basic as your estimate of product / process cost can have a bearing on how you might structure your business model in the medium-term, and your survival / prosperity in the long-term?
Smartly defined research problems, focused data frameworks and deft analysis of the information are key to cost-effective research and prudent decision making in organisations. While Big Data has its benefits, it is not an elixir for all situations.
We have seen companies spend lakhs of rupees in research that does not provide any actionable insights – or worse, point in the wrong direction, merely on account of poor definition of research problem or shaky research methodology or fundamental data collection issues.
We are happy to help clients get better value out of their traditional research relationships by offering critical direction to both qualitative and quantitative research projects.
Entrepreneurs and business leaders need to evolve a fine balance between “Get Big Quick” strategies and “Surviving for the long term”; at times they have the unenviable task of having to choose between these two contradictory strategies. Such balance or choice depends on the nature of both – the business and the business-owner.
We work closely with business-owners, especially in the start-up world, helping entrepreneurs discover their strengths, and take critical decisions with appropriate levels of data and deliberation in a learning environment. Our approach is very structured, relying heavily on robust frameworks, such as Steve Blank’s Customer Discovery Process and mind maps / concept maps.
Our background in investment banking ensures that we can also provide direction to and support the resource mobilization efforts and inorganic growth strategies of the business.
Recognising the liquidity constraints of start-ups, our rewards are typically in the form of a small equity stake in the business, until the business can support conventional commercial arrangements.
Sundar has personally handled hundreds of seminars and workshops attended by over 10,000 participants. He developed several unique frameworks and programs to meet the competency development requirements of organisations.
Programs / workshops can be structured to meet the competency development needs of your organization. For instance, in the case of one company, we developed a Channel Management Grid that was unique to their business. Thereafter, we conducted a one-day Channel Management program where the grid was unveiled. At the request of the company, we repeated the program during their annual sales conference.
The following two open programs are illustrative of the depth and range of expertise that exists.
ThinkStrat workshop on thinking strategically
EconoView workshop on developing an economic perspective
PonD workshop on selling and negotiation skills
Starkgrid workshop on channel management I
Starkgrid workshop on channel management II
Sundar takes up speaking engagements selectively in areas of his interest. These tend to be rich in content, and cover a broad brush-stroke of disciplines including strategy, economics, finance, marketing, markets, technology application, regulation and people.
Business Strategies for Start-ups in Post-Covid World.
Stratonotics for Post-Covid business: Brush-strokes for Research and Practice