“No one besides venture capitalists and the late Soviet Union requires five-year plans to forecast complete unknowns.” – Steve Blank
Starting a new business, or a new venture within a corporation, is risky. While it’s easy to get seduced by stories of highly successful startups, the truth is that something usually goes wrong. Even though you have a great concept, make a detailed plan, find investors and assemble a skilled, tireless team to launch your product – most startups fail.
But the companies that succeed have something in common too – nearly 100% of successful startups pivot, changing some aspect of their approach.
We know that startups have limited resources and their burn rate gives them a short runway from which to take off. So the difference between identifying the right business approach in a short amount of time, or not, can mean the difference between success and failure.
It’s been said that business plans rarely survive first contact with actual customers. No company nails their business plan right out of the gate. As Steve Blank says, successful startups prioritize “experimentation over elaborate planning, customer feedback over intuition and iterative design over traditional ‘big design up front’ development.”
In 2011 Calgary-based Trusted Positioning engaged Uncommon for an opportunity assessment. At the time the company had superior indoor positioning technology and was targeting many markets including the military, automotive and telecommunications industries. After talking to key stakeholders in the industry, Uncommon learned that one segment in particular valued their solution the most: smartphone manufacturers. Uncommon saved critical time in uncovering key strategic insight that was leveraged to develop a winning focused strategy, leading to a US$36 million acquisition by InvenSense Inc. several years later. Chris Goodall, CEO of Trusted Positioning at the time of acquisition, acknowledged that “from product management through to go-to-market strategy and business development, Uncommon Innovation has played a key role in our success.”
Successful startups typically stumble several times before finding the right approach. There are many elements that may be adjusted to achieve traction, while still leveraging core capabilities and advantages. In some cases, adding, changing, or removing product features launches a product into success, like Instagram. For Trusted Positioning, the key was pivoting from targeting a general audience to focusing on a specific market segment. There is a difference between jumping and pivoting, and sometimes a pivot is a small tweak that makes a big difference.
Do you find you are spending too much time trying to educate your market on why they should want your product? Does it feel like your product is trying to be everything to everyone and hasn’t found that ‘someone?’ Or are sales not where you expected them to be? Perhaps you have a great product or business idea and want to validate if it’s worth pursuing? We can help.
We are in the business of delivering critical insight that leads to better informed decisions. We’ll help you get customers, get investors and get going.
Contact Us Today to Schedule a Free Consultation