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5 Ways to Validate a Business Idea, Right Now

Don't let your day job or lack of capital stop you from finding and testing a business idea. Here's how.
Last year, I embarked upon a personal challenge to validate a business idea in 30 days. To make it even more difficult, it was a random idea chosen by my readers. They asked me to do it without using my existing website, traffic and business connections and without spending more than 20 hours per week on the project. On top of that, I limited myself to spending no more than $500 validating this idea. The experiment was a success.In just two weeks, I built an email list of 565 subscribers without having an actual website. Then, I reached out to a handful of those subscribers and pre-sold 12 copies of a book that didn't even exist yet, all in less than 30 days. I wrote about the experiment in real-time with in-depth weekly updates, successes, failures and lessons learned along the way, right here in my validation challenge. Today, I want to share with you the five most effect…

RBI report on ‘Private corporate investment’: 4 states corner over 50 per cent of project loans

Andhra Pradesh accounts for almost 16% of total banks and financial institutions funded projects in 2015-16; Maharashtra second.

Four states — Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat, Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu — accounted for more than 50 per cent of the projects funded by banks and financial institutions (FIs) in 2015-16, leaving more populated northern states far behind.

Andhra Pradesh, which has embarked upon building infrastructure to develop a new capital and other infrastructure requirement following bifurcation of the state into Andhra Pradesh and Telangana, alone has accounted for almost 16 per cent of the total banks and financial institutions funded projects in 2015-16.

According to a Reserve Bank of India (RBI) report on ‘Private corporate investment’, Maharashtra came second by bagging 14.8 per cent of the projects funded by banks and FIs. It was followed by Gujarat (14.5 per cent) and Tamil Nadu (9 per cent). In FY 2015-16, 41 banks and FIs sanctioned financial assistance to 352 projects with aggregate project cost of Rs 95,400 crore. In the previous year ended March 2015, banks and FIs had sanctioned assistance to 326 projects worth Rs 87,300 crore.

While it is for the first time in six years that there has been a rise in institutional assistance for private corporate investment in projects, the growth has come primarily on the back of a sharp rise in funding of infrastructure projects in the areas of power, road construction and water management. While the infrastructure sector accounted for 63 per cent of such funding, the power sector alone accounted for 46.8 per cent of the total funding by banks and FIs. The road sector witnessed a sharp rise in funding from banks and FIs and it rose from Rs 262 crore in 2014-15 to Rs 6,964 crore in 2015-16 thereby witnessing a 26 times jump.

Even the projects for storage and water management witnessed a 7-fold increase from Rs 524 crore in FY5 to Rs 3,816 crore in FY16, the RBI report said.

However, overall private corporate funding — through banks, public issues and overseas borrowings — in projects have fallen 24.7 per cent to Rs 1,51,200 crore during the year ended March 2016 from Rs 2,00,900 crore in the previous year. Capital expenditure (capex) by the corporate sector has been falling continuously in the last five years. Capex fell by 25.2 per cent in 2014-15, 11.9 per cent in 2013-14 and 17.1 per cent in 2012-13, says the report.

The capex planned for 2016-17 amounted to Rs 67,400 crore, if the companies stick to their investment plans. “In order to maintain the level of capex envisaged in 2015-16, a capex of Rs 83,800 crore would have to come from new investment intentions of the private corporate sector in 2016-17,” the released by the Reserve Bank of India report said.

“Banks are shying away from funding big projects of over-leveraged corporates. Big corporate loans have now become non-performing assets (NPAs),” said a senior official of a nationalised bank.

However, the central bank report is optimistic about a revival.
“Although uncertainty about the revival of the demand cycle would weigh on the investment decisions by the private corporates, the efforts made by the government in improving ease of doing business in India may have a positive impact. Improvement in the performance of the corporate sector including its leverage gives reasons to be optimistic for the year ahead,” it said.

Moreover, progress in clearance of stalled projects and revival of government projects during 2015-16, as revealed from CMIE database, may increase the confidence of investors, the RBI said.

The RBI said high value projects financed by banks witnessed a repeated decline in the past few years and the same trend may be expected to continue for a couple of quarters. Due to the cleaning up of the balance sheets undertaken by banks, they may not be able to lend aggressively in near future, it said.

Arun Singh, lead economist, Dun & Bradstreet India, said, “The Indian economy is expected to witness consumption-led growth in FY17 driven by low global crude oil prices, good agriculture production, measures taken by the government to uplift rural demand and the 7th Pay Commission payouts. On the other hand, the stressed assets in the banking sector, non-revival in corporate investment and declining India’s export could be a major drag to overall growth going forward.”

Written by George Mathew , Sandeep Singh | Mumbai |