Why it's important to benchmark your startup against competitors globally, and how you can do it

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Steve Jobs once said - "You cannot look at your competition and say you're going to do it better, you have to look at the competition and say you're going to do it differently..." Nonetheless, he meant you have to keep looking at your competition to know what needs to be done better or different, and not just obsess over your own growth in isolation.

His words perfectly blend with the age of cut-throat competition that we live in today, where businesses are increasingly required to not just focus on their own journey, but to stay abreast of where they stand vis-a-vis their competitors/peers. They are required to gain any and all business edge they can in order to survive, stay relevant and succeed in the changing market dynamics. In such challenging times, data analysis has assumed a key role among most companies wanting to discover useful information to make sound business decisions. It is in this area that a startup called Televisory India Pvt Ltd is trying to make a difference.

Led by Shiv Dave, who has held advisory and executive positions in India and South-East Asia for almost three decades, Televisory is an online data analytics firm providing benchmarking services worldwide. That means any company (small or large, listed or non-listed) or individual operating a business, in any industry, from anywhere in the world can use this online portal to compare operational and financial performance with a global or locally listed company as well as peers. Televisory claims to have "the most updated operational and financial data" in its database covering over 900 distinct industries. Its reports reflect data of last five years and five quarters.

On being asked why businesses today would need Televisory's services, Dave said, "Our Operational/industry data can help companies to understand how the competition is performing. They can know where they stand compared to competition, peers or best operators in the industry, that too every quarter. This can further help them in understanding why they are behind and what needs to be done. It's simple, if you are not as good as your competitors, your chances of winning customers at right prices are low and let's say even if you win, you may not make profits."

He further said that businesses up-to-date with operational/industry data can reflect high productivity. "Higher productivity implies higher outputs with similar resources. This leads to higher revenues and margins. Better usage of raw material similarly implies higher margins, lower costs further add to margins. Meanwhile, there are other key issues like cash conversion cycle as well, because if you do not manage your working capital cycle properly, you may have large sales, but the company may not have sufficient cash," the Televisory Founder said.

Therefore, Industry/Operational data analysis, he said, can give a deeper understanding of operational strengths or weaknesses that basically drive productivity as well as cost efficiency. It also comes handy when bidding for business or setting up business in new locations anywhere around the world "because you find critical data in a matter of minutes, saving your time, energy and money".

But Televisory claims its services cannot just prove valuable for entrepreneurs, corporate, but also investors, lenders, researchers, consultants and anyone looking for relevant comparable operational and financial data to make educated decisions on where to locate an operation, or where to invest or not, to lend or not etc.

The reason Shiv Dave decided to kick-start Televisory back in 2014 was because he found one key element of financial analytics missing. It was "the lack of focus on operational aspects that drive the financial numbers". Moreover, he learned that small to medium companies lacked systemic analytic apparatus within their organization. Operational analysis, he said, remains difficult and has largely been left out because it varies from industry to industry. It is this vacuum of operational information Televisory set out to "fill that by explaining some of the financial numbers in more credible and intelligible fashion than mere financial ratios will tell."

Its database boasts of 7,500 listed company data as of now and Dave wishes to take it to 35,000 from around 100 countries in the world in the near future. The firm also claims that it keeps non-listed company data anonymous to protect confidentiality, and aims to achieve 2,00,000 non-listed company data in the next 2-3 years.

Despite globalization, this startup seems to be ensuring 'Information Globalization' in its true sense. It remains to be seen, however, whether Televisory will achieve the high goals it has set out to achieve.
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