One success in the country is Carmudi.com.ph, an online vehicle marketplace connecting vehicle buyers and sellers. Launched in January 2014 with only 3 people on board, Carmudi has seen rapid growth in the country and has made a name for itself in the industry– reaching more than 20,000 listings online, 250,000 website views a month, and expansion outside of Metro Manila. Subir Lohani, Managing Director of Carmudi Philippines, shares some tips on launching a startup in the country:
1. Plan and Execute your Budget to Perfection
Even if launching a startup has an abundance of funding early on during its launch, it follows that tartups should plan ahead and plan properly. By failing to do so, the startup may experience budget shortages. For example, aside from spending on day-to- day operations, there is also the cost of scaling and expansion. “Bad planning can lead to one mistake that wipes you out,” says Subir.
2. Hire employees who are excited to build your business
This advice is especially true for start-ups, where employees are far fewer and handle much more roles that may make or break the business. Because each person is so essential to the business, passion becomes very crucial in order to manage all the risks and uncertainty, long hours, and also maximize the potential of where the business can head. Subir adds, “Startup employees have to live and breath the business, they have to be genuinely excited about what they are building. An employee just there for a job will not put in the effort and dedication you need. For instance, at Carmudi people are very passionate about cars and the services we bring to the market.”
3. Planning and Action Go Together
While planning is very important, many startups spend too much time on planning which does not lead to execution. This is a problem posed to all startups. Plans are nothing without execution, and often the speed of execution plays a very crucial factor in winning the market. Subir believes that the key to success is always being ahead of your competitors and responding to your consumers’ needs faster than anyone else.
Though you might run into some missteps along the way, at least you know right away what works and what does not. To manage the mistakes made, Subir recommends taking an A/B testing approach – trying your options at a small scale and therefore making mistakes at a small scale as well. And from there, you scale. If you are operating on a global scale such as Carmudi, then it is advisable to test one of your smaller markets before you roll out your plans globally.
4. Implement Proper Benchmarking / Tracking
With so many things involved in launching a startup and the urgency in acquiring results, many startups tend to forget to come up with structured processes for their business. Subir’s last tip is to implement proper benchmarking and tracking procedures and systems in order to fully understand every component of the business. Having set systems in place and proper tracking allows you to fine-tune every aspect of the business, make it close to perfection, and most importantly, allow you to scale up sustainably. In the end, you want to think of the long-term health of your business.
Subir Lohani is the Managing Director of Carmudi Philippines
Subir grew up in the Philippines for 18 years but is originally from Nepal. He graduated from Boston University with a degree in Economics and a focus on Quantitative Finance. He was based in Singapore as an investment banker for the last seven years. Wanting to take on a different challenge and pursue his passion for entrepreneurship, he is now back in the Philippines as the Managing Director of Carmudi, one of the world’s fastest growing car classifieds that has seen enormous success in the country under his leadership and shares tips on launching a startup.