• How can start-ups scale up? In conversation with Juan Sabater

    In India, right now is the best time to start a business of your own. But that’s only step one of the entrepreneurship process. As every businessperson will tell you, trouble begins when you want to scale up your enterprise.

    To deal with this issue and more, SheThePeople.TV partnered with the US Consulate to organise a special round-table session in which 10 selected women entrepreneurs met investor Juan Sabater, partner at Valor Equity Partners, and learned much about funding, partnerships and marketing strategies.

    “Taking the next step is a problem because you are not aware of where to get the seed-funding from,” said Sabater. “Entrepreneurs are not aware of which outlets and organisations to approach in the start-up game.”

    Also read: What does Make In India mean for entrepreneurs?

    While more and more women make their startups a success these days, they stumble at the point when they must grow their baby brands to their fullest potential. One reason why this happens is that industry is still male-dominated. But the only way to deal with this, said Sabater, is to be resilient.

    Individual startups need individual solutions to the scaling up issue, Sabater explained. For instance, while everyone is interested in how to acquire clients at a low cost, the answers are different for different enterprises.

    For Nazia Erum’s product-based The Luxury Label, for instance, Sabater explained that embedding loyalty always attracts customers. “Create empathy by making people use the product so no marketing money is spent,” he said. “Validation is the biggest marketing strategy to scale up.”

    For the other entrepreneurs present, he added: “Referrals is also a way of customer acquisition.”

    Also read: Empower And SheThePeople promote women’s entrepreneurship

    Sabater also had a specific solution for Neela Kaushik of the support group Gurgaonmoms, who now wants to create similar networks in other cities. “Create little clubs to move up the ladder,” he said. “Find partners in the other places.”

    But when Kaushik pointed out that finding a good partner can be tough, Sabater offered a few points to keep in mind when scouting for a partner in your business.

    Choose people who have seen good times and bad times;

    Choose people you have known for a while;

    Choose people who can spend time on the business; and

    Be willing to trust your partner.

    Also read: Pushing the envelope: Start-up moms thrive in the entrepreneurial space

    Most of all, he added, “Become the ecosystem for your business and include FUN in business.” Without fun, he pointed out, creativity is lost.

    Juan Sabater is a partner and co-chairman of the board at Valor Equity Partners, a firm known for its investments in companies that have transformed their industry, such as Tesla, SpaceX, Addepar and Renovate America. At Valor, Sabater is a member of the investment committee and focuses on opportunities in the services sector. He also serves as and principal of Augeo Affinity Marketing, Inc., which identifies and develops new strategic initiatives.