Startups in Nepal

May 9, 2024

By AITM

Startups in Nepal

 

The prospect of startups in Nepal

Let me paint you a scenario: You are a student and things are going great for you. The college is great, your family is well and you have the best circle of friends you could have ever asked for. But even so, there is this sense of blandness in your life. You know you will graduate and get a job and lead a good life from 

“Startup” has been the buzz of the past decade. We all have heard stories that multi-billion dollar companies like Amazon, Google, Apple, and Microsoft all started from a garage. In a way, they were the startups of their time. The startup is the term used to address companies that are in their initial stages of operation which brings with it a spark of innovation to solve an existing problem. The problem might be a literal problem or a simple imbalance of demand and supply in the market. Most of the time, a startup is characterized by its unique perception of the problem and therefore credited to be innovative on its respective front. These businesses typically have large initial expenses and little income, which is why they seek funding from several sources, like venture capitalists, crowdfunding, and loans.

But why Startups?

The market is currently saturated more than ever. Some services or products can address all of our rational demands. Therefore, if we have everything that we require, why do we need “disrupting” ideas to be executed? 

One way to look at it is through the eyes of evolution. One of the things that separate us from other animals is our constant desire for more. We always want more. No matter how saturated our needs are, our wants are ever-expanding. Do you take that if we had stopped looking for more when horse carts were the standard, would we still have cars? I like to believe startups are something like the first cars. 

Startups are important because they shatter stereotypes, solve issues, and enable people to create the future that they see. They offer us new products and services that might be more suited to the needs of the global community. We would still be trapped using typewriters at photocopy machines if it weren't for all the startups. 

Startup culture has pushed people to study business from a young age. Startups are considered innovative because they can quickly adjust to changes in the market or new technologies; very few large corporations have this level of flexibility. They may allow you greater freedom at work than what is often provided by larger companies. It contributes to bringing diversity where it may not have previously existed. In the way startups look at problems, they’re more inclined to think outside the box and try something different than what a company may have been doing for years if not centuries.

In a small market such as ours where it is very easy for one big company to come in and exhibit a monopoly. How many startups are there in Nepal anyway? Looking at all the points above, we can infer that startups are essential to bring better products to the market at a balanced price, which is a necessity for Nepali citizens at the current time. 

The challenges

While it is indeed a fun and exciting experience, it doesn’t come without problems. Let us look at the possible reasons that cause startup ideas in Nepal to fail in under one year of establishment.

Competition all around

The business world is quite competitive. The giants are constantly engaged in a competition to prevail over the other. One of the major obstacles to the survival of new firms is surviving competition. And the competition becomes more difficult if you are just starting an online business.

Since there is no room for error, the competitive atmosphere keeps startups on their toes. Businesses engaged in both B2B and B2C transactions frequently experience the heat of intense rivalry. Startups need to play aggressively and punch above their weight to obtain the much-needed notoriety among the clusters of ever-challenging and developing firms if they want to thrive in this cutthroat business environment, which includes both traditional and online businesses.

Out-of-the-world expectations

When startups have unrealistic expectations, problems can arise. Keep in mind that success is fleeting and aspirations never cease. Startups must translate what the actual expectations must be rooted in the ground. The goal is to be as sustainable as possible. Additionally, sustainability calls for ongoing efforts.

Startups must have high but reasonable expectations to survive in a cutthroat business environment, while also taking into account the resources at their disposal, the potential for growth, and other market considerations. Note that the best startups in Nepal, as well as around the world do a very good job at managing expectations beforehand.

Managing money

Say you got good seed funding for your startup. With the passing of that hurdle, a mountain lies in front of you. To manage that money properly in order to sustain the business by itself is much harder than any challenges you have faced before since the initial stages of a business are not readily profit-inducing and mostly dependent on investor funding.

Money begets money. With an increase in income, expenses rise alike. The startups do, in reality, rely largely on the financial support of these so-called investors. They can struggle to properly manage their finances during periods of influxes of cash and buckle under the strain.

Customers…they don’t trust easily

The customer is king. One of the most significant obstacles that businesses, and startups, in particular, face today is earning a customer's trust. Startups can grow and advance toward greatness if they have a large, devoted base of customers. Tech startups may have an advantage over all traditional firms thanks to their social media presence and word-of-mouth marketing capabilities. 

To achieve sustainable growth and progress, the startups must work aggressively to apply a customer-centric working philosophy. Giving the customers freebies, backing your claims with a case study, getting certification for your products, and providing excellent customer service right from the beginning can be the driving points that might help you gain your customer’s trust. 

‘Research is boring’

To sell a product, it needs to align with the demand of the market. And to know what your customers want, there is no proxy to doing market research. Too many aspiring business owners enter the market believing they have an extraordinary service or product to provide, but they are unaware that no one needs their offering. You can precisely satisfy the wants of your potential clients if you complete your homework and market research.

Another problem that well-versed market research would address is understanding your target consumer. Too many people attempt to launch businesses that include everyone in their target market. Once this approach fails to work, they then attempt to target everyone in a smaller demographic. It is crucial to know whom you are going to focus your products on. For instance, if you have a line of beauty products, focusing your marketing on young women would be much better than showing your ads to everyone you can. 

‘You’re my partner! And you, you….and you…’

A partnership might be a key to success. And startups can benefit from this reasoning as well. Startups also struggle to secure reliable partners in the ever-expanding and ever-changing digital era, where businesses must fight tooth and nail to survive. Today, it's truly a difficult task for startups. Additionally, the stakes in a partnership are substantially larger for IT businesses.

For companies, entering into a partnership might have a great payoff, but they must weigh several aspects before deciding to engage with another organisation operating in the same ecosystem. Startup businesses should seek out enterprises that enjoy a strong position in the market and a high reputation among the industry giants to maximise the benefits of a relationship. A partner can be the knight in the silver armour or the door to destruction, all depending upon whom you choose to go with!

How to make it work?

Hold on, don’t be discouraged yet. There are challenges to be addressed. Here are some things you must consider before taking a leap.

Plan it 

Plan your startup. There is no better way to put this. There is no substitute for that. You need to research your prospects. Go over the points over and over. It can be intimidating to write a business plan for the first time, but all it requires is that you put on paper what was initially in your thoughts. It ought to outline both your immediate and long-term goals.

The short-term section should contain specifics about what you'll do and how you'll do it. The long-term strategy for fast expanding your firm can be more flexible, but you should strive to make it as precise as you can.

Note that there is no reason why you can't alter the plan at a later time. In fact, you'll likely alter your future intentions. That is the fundamental idea behind pivoting, and it is what can lead to a successful startup.

Networking is the key

A startup requires investors. You need to be in touch with all kinds of people in the market who can help you with different things at different points in your process. Having said that, the best course of action forward is professional networking. The relationships you have in business determine how far your organisation may advance. Word-of-mouth marketing is more powerful than ever. Currently, 88% of individuals trust online consumer reviews exactly as much as they do personal recommendations from friends and family. For all the correct reasons, you must begin networking.

Keep your customers ready

No one wants to buy things the first time they see them. Think of it like this: if your friend tells you they tried something a day before then you are more likely to buy that over something you haven’t before heard of. 

For your startup, the best way to sell more is to let your customers know that there is your product somewhere in the market. Therefore, it is wise to invest in marketing. Sure, it would cost you but done right, it will bring in much more than what you have spent. 

Take breaks 

Life and work should be equally balanced. Being a startup entrepreneur makes it challenging to step away from your company. It is difficult to leave your newborn alone for even a brief period because it is your baby. You can and should, though.

Keeping up your leisure activities and relaxation will keep you feeling rested for longer and prevent burnout. Using autopilot or task delegation, your company can function without you for a while, and in a sense, it should as well. In the long run, you cannot always be there catering to it, can you?

Innovation is the key

As said earlier, the market is completely saturated. If you add something that is already existing to the market, you are likely to die too soon. After all, the ones currently reigning are those who have far more infrastructure than you do – you simply cannot hope to compete with them without something to stand out. Also, the whole point of startups is to bring something unique to the plate of solutions, right? 

Surround yourself with the right people, analyze your market, study the failures…just do not reinvent the wheel. Remember, innovation always was and is the key to success. 

Startups at AITM

AITM has always promoted the culture of getting out there and doing things yourself. We believe that the market must be free, open and most of all, decentralized. Pushing startups to rise is the only way to go forward. The startup business in Nepal is only starting. Therefore, we instil the will to innovate in our students through the means of different programs, one of them being the Hult Prize. The Hult Prize is an annual, year-long competition that crowdsources ideas from university-level students after challenging them to solve a pressing social issue around topics such as food security, water access, energy, and education. It is the largest student-led social entrepreneurship competition. By delegating students to work to organize, we are essentially teaching them real-life event management. By pushing students to bring in ideas, develop their respective business model and pitch it, we are preparing them to lead in their respective fields of interest. 

Apart from that, we have dedicated resource persons willing to listen to your ideas and help you build what you want to. We bring experts from the market and involve students in different training, seminars and such so that they will be able to look back at their days at AITM and be proud. We not only limit our students to textbooks, but we teach them how to solve the problems around them – this is how we teach at AITM.

So…solve a problem!

Look around you. The list of problems waiting to be solved goes on and on. Choosing adventure over security must bring adversity but in the long run, it will surely bring happiness as you realize you are changing the lives of people for the better. The challenges are inevitable. It is a fact that there is no single-stop solution to the surmounting challenges facing startups in this age. But what you have is perseverance and that is what counts. 

So get out of your comfort zone. Weave one great story, which would be counted as one of the startup stories of Nepal. Call in your friends and generate ideas, for the world is looking for innovation…the innovation can very well be YOU!

Want help in grooming your ideas and building the next unicorn of Nepal? Maybe we can help you with our industry-level expert faculties. Visit us at AITM. Khumaltar Heights, Satdobato or drop us a call at 9849449503.