Both share great insights on life as an entrepreneur. The setbacks, the fun, building a team. Getting out of the comfort zone. Management styles, Quitting corporate life after 15 years and how they first met! So please enjoy the show.
Service-driven startups like cab hailing apps, e-commerce apps, delivery and logistics enterprises, etc. thrive on very specific yet highly competitive ecosystems.
Most startups work towards the one thing which matters most – Survival. In the crucial early years, startups are consumed by solving critical challenges like getting their product/service off the ground, creating differentiation with consumers, hiring the right team and raising capital. Most times this leaves no bandwidth for anything else and lower order priorities like training usually take a backseat – and, rightly so. Most startups can do without structured learning for a very long time, and instead, driving a culture of ‘figuring it out’ and self-learning can help teams remain cutting-edge and current. However, if you are a particular type of startup, then learning is actually quite critical to the success of your business model.
1. Startups with large field forces
Startups that depend on a large field force to either sell or deliver their product/service to customers, need them to be knowledgeable and be skilled at selling. But, with large field forces come issues such as high attrition and the need for training their replacements faster. As a startup, balanced on the thin edge of efficient capital consumption and delivering a world-class brand experience to customers, these costs can prove very dear.
Startup founders typically, expect field force managers to teach incoming employees on-the-job or through 1-2 day-long classroom sessions, to equip them with all the knowledge regarding the product/service, its differentiation, processes, and skills related to selling and issue handling. That can be a lot to absorb in such a short time span! However, what startups don’t realize is that the willingness to commit this time to train may differ from manager to manager as may the ability to train, resulting in a lopsided field force where some are trained to deliver better than others. And one of the fastest ways to kill a brand is inconsistent brand experience with customers.
Such startups can benefit enormously from having structured learning and onboarding programs, that incoming field force is mandatorily required to go through in their initial few days. With advancing learning technology, such structured programs are now delivered with ease through mobile devices with micro-learning that is consumed on-the-go. Ultimately, the cost of such a program is offset by the benefits of consistency of brand experience resulting in growth and scale.
2. Startups who run an ecosystem
Service-driven startups like cab hailing apps, e-commerce apps, delivery and logistics enterprises, etc. thrive on very specific yet highly competitive ecosystems. Features such as one-day delivery, pick-up & drop services, returns, and home trial add enormous pressures on logistics teams in startups. Conversely, the differentiating factor is not always the product/service itself, but the quality of hospitality and customer care provided, which is actually delivered by the ecosystem.
Compared to the previous type of startup, the need for training this ecosystem comes from two fronts – Process and Brand Experience. Ecosystem partners deal with both major stakeholders involved – with the startup (seller) and the customer (buyer). Understanding processes which may include critical aspects like authentication, cash handling, timely delivery and pickup, returns etc. is imperative for ecosystem partners. And every partner of this ecosystem doubles up as a brand ambassador, therefore they need to understand the brand experience they are supposed to deliver.
If such an ecosystem is at the center of a startup’s business model, then founders need to ensure that the ecosystem represents and communicates the brand experience founders have envisaged. This, however, cannot be done quickly and is a long-term process. Startups need to analyze the role of each partner, design training programs accordingly and ensure the same is communicated to them on a regular basis.
3. Startups with complex product/service offerings
Startups with complex product/service offerings such as technology products, fin-tech or medical tech have a unique requirement. Their offering is typically based on a thorough understanding of the domain and the issues with existing products/services, which can be sometimes fairly complex subject matter. Not only historical context, it is important for such companies to keep abreast of the advances and latest developments in their domain. Sometimes, the requirement can be as simple as knowing new regulations in the industry that affect your product/service.
As such startups grow and hire, whether it is sales and marketing, product development, Operations or HR, translating this context and understanding is important and needs to be done continually. Such startups would benefit from building up a repository of knowledge that is available for reference or learning as needed.
Augmented Reality & Virtual Reality have changed the way corporates look at content dissemination. With handheld devices like smartphones becoming faster and more powerful, the scope is limitless. These technologies offer highly immersive experiences making them appropriate for engaging with the audience.
While many still consider them to be a fad, the research being put into improving these technologies proves otherwise. More and more apps are being created to enhance the experience. Newer phones with better processing power and wider screens are being introduced to enable a close to real experience for the user. The new Iphones offer a new iteration of Augmented Reality right out of the box. It is time to take this medium seriously and to start riding this technology wave.
What can these technologies do for your company? How can you exploit it for your benefit? Though there are multiple uses, listed below are a bunch of uses they are being put to.
Full immersive experience gives you an opportunity to test your product as it evolves. Running tests in a virtual environment simulates a real world experience without the high costs involved in real life testing. This is perfect, when you need to develop a complex product that requires user feedback and iterations. With these technologies viewers can be given all the information through a close to real scenario.
Imagine a bank or an after-sales service provider can train and test the prototype with employees and customers even as the actual product is being built, a virtual experience can be offered to potential users to gauge their reactions and alter designs and plans on the go.
AR-VR also offers the perfect environment for training. Be it multilayered product, complex processes or simple real life sales simulations. Your employees are placed in the midst of the action and they can interact with objects just like in the real world. Being a first person viewing experience, the viewer can instinctively explore and discover.
Imagine you have a set of new recruits who need to undergo an onboarding process before they can start off. Usual onboarding happens through classroom sessions or presentations. With AR / VR you can let the new joinees explore the office using beacons or markers and explore the actual space or let them explore multiple office locations virtually and interact with objects and learn. They can also be assessed on their learning in the same virtual environment to derive real-time assessment data.
Data collection & analysis:
The best part about a virtual test is the ease of experiential data collection. Every move made by the user can be tracked and analyzed as it happens, giving you highly detailed and comprehensive data. This can be analyzed as reports to forecast marketing plans, product development and future trends. The environment can be altered to change the experience based on the data collected from viewer’s interactions.
In both cases mentioned above, data collection and real-time analysis gives you an edge as you build your plans. Imagine your potential customers giving you live feedback even before your final product hits the market. Your employees can be assessed during their virtual experiences and live data can be collected for real time analysis or future analytics and reporting.
As a corporate, Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality are the technology waves you shouldn’t miss out on. Explore possibilities, understand the potential it offers for various needs in your workflow. Embrace the virtual possibilities to enhance your company’s performance in the real world.
Wish to know more about applications of AR and VR in learning? Drop us a mail at email@example.com.
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