Why speed of execution is crucial for Indian startups

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LS Subramanian, CEO, NISE LS Subramanian, CEO, NISE


As more entrepreneurs enter the Indian startup scene, their speed of execution will be their key to success.  If their innovative ideas do not see the light of day in a few weeks, it maybe doomed for failure as startup founders do not have the luxury of waiting. The time is now, as it is like a crowded beach full of penguins where everyone is trying to find a place.

The winners will be those who are willing to take the plunge and offer  value by quickly launching their offerings to their customers and  need to be agile and adaptive in making the changes needed to win.

Startup projects no longer can use the waterfall model or even the spiral model; the model which works best for startups is the Evolutionary Delivery model along with Agile and Innovative interventions; this is a hybrid model which needs to address hyper speed execution with short bursts for the time to market and need to also demonstrate substantial customer value.


The winners in the Indian startups space will emerge from this space of leaders who are willing to embrace change and uncertainty to deliver innovation and value speedily. If they cannot cater and scale to meet the needs of customer demands in days, they may be left behind in their quest.

I recently met a founder member of an innovative year old solution company. The firm had the right experience and energy but their strategy needed mending.  Their speed of execution was slow, they did not have a physical presence in the USA -- their chosen market , neither did they believe the need for feet on the ground in USA for speedy adoption of their solution.

They relied on digital marketing, IP driven phones and digital demonstrations along-with  a virtual suite as their company address in the USA -- an economical marketing approach but definitely not effective. The firm needed to recognize that they cannot serve a customer when they are asleep in Bangalore and the customer wants someone on the phone ASAP. All they need to remember it takes only one unanswered phone call to lose a customer forever.  They did not seem to have a speedy execution strategy and it surprised me that their best efforts was focused only on technology. But hold your breath, they had got their first round of funding from a VC.


I asked the founder how many Fortune 500 companies were in their list of customers, my question surprised him, the next question was had they done any specific industry segmentation and positioning -- the answer to all these questions drew a blank.  I shook my head in disbelief -- they had a poor marketing strategy to amplify their presence in the US market, and it was coupled with poor branding strategy, their belief that the digital market alone could deliver conversion for SaaS solutions was misplaced.

The lack of a local physical presence in the market was a handicap for any American corporation to evaluate their solution. If the founders do not fix these issues there is a possibility that their company may fade into oblivion soon and the VC may exit.

I advised the founder to overcome these challenges and to be present physically in their chosen market and to hire marketing professionals who had prior experience in the US market. The marketing professionals mission would be to double the startup's customer base month on month with proportional revenue realization. This would allow their company to capture their rightful market share before another agile start-up copies their idea and launched  a competing solution.


Indian Startups must understand that technology is only 20 percent of their business, 80 percent is still the tried and trusted methods of prospecting, closing and bringing in revenue. Without a clear strategy for marketing and hyper speed in execution, they may be stranded at the start line in their goal to conquer the world.

The time has come for Indian startup founders to recognize that "Speed of Execution" is the key to success. Indians need to accelerate their business growth, revenue growth, customer acquisition for success; if Indian founders do not adopt speed of execution they may dry up their capital  and find themselves in a desert with no customers, investors or money and face bankruptcy and their dreams may be shattered like an Indian clay pot.

The author , L S Subramanian, is CEO of NISE.  LS (as he is called) is also a respected thought leader known for his innovation in information technology for business. He is the architect of the OTC Exchange of India, India’s first online trading national stock exchange and has advised NCDEX, Power Exchange, CRISIL, Exchange Next  and other companies in trading solutions and processes. He can be reached at

Other articles by L S Subramanian

How a solar mobile phone can transform banking for the poor in India

Bharat Badal – Why rural India needs a national cloud computing plan?

Why India needs to build 100 new smart cities from the ground up

Can Indian banks do a Flipkart in customer service?

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