90% of small businesses fail within five years – how do you beat the odds?
Since you are launching a business that is built on your core values, purpose and passions, the odds are high that you will be fully committed to making it successful in the marketplace. In order though to beat the odds regarding failure, we take you through a proven methodology for product development out of the tech sector where our founder spent over twenty years developing computer systems and software products.
Once we have helped you develop your product brief, we guide you through a launch phase that is iterative in nature. In modern software development, we build out small components that are tested and assembled into larger systems that develop more and more functionality as time goes on.
We help new business owners launch small components of the overall business and test them without building all of the infrastructure to support a complete fully baked offering. This allows the new business to test assumptions before they accept them as facts and over invest in infrastructure or staff.
As we develop these ideas into testable components, we define as much as we can of the processes that need to be performed with the components in order to support their use in a commercial environment.
Simply put, there are sales, marketing, finance, operations, construction and fulfillment tasks that need to be performed in order to commercialize any commercial product idea. These need to be developed and tested along with the product being created. Too often, these are ignored by startups and left to just be done or figured out and businesses can not scale past the capacity of the founder, who is often times a technician delivering a product by themselves. This is true whether that person is a real estate against, artist, chiropractor, a web designer, window cleaner, insurance agent, life coach, chocolatier, bug killer, contractor or consultant
Some of the things that have to be tested and developed in the launch include:
- Sales pipeline systems
- Referral marketing
- Internet marketing
- Direct mail
- CRM (Customer Relationship Management)
- Payment processing
- Point of Sale
- Loyalty programs
- and so on
We work with you to help you understand what each of these things are, prioritize how they are performed and tested especially in the early phase of your launch and introduce you to tools and service providers that can help you operate efficiently when you are ready for them. The launch phase for most small businesses is one to two years.
Does this mean that it takes this long to get started?
No, our iterative development methodology allows you to test small parts of the offering and then expand the offerings with more and more functionality as methods and services are tested in the marketplace. For example, a service offering destined to be delivered completely over the Internet might be first defined by a customer over the Internet using a form to define specifications of a service to be delivered such as handyman services. In the first iteration of this offering, humans will look at the customer request and match it to a series of handymen who would be selected by a skilled project estimator who would match the skills of the handyman to the project to be completed.
The company then gets revenue for the sales process and estimation process allowing the handyman to spend all of her time delivering work and collecting payment. The service company built its reputation and its service fulfillment arm (handymen) and develops a client list. In the meantime technology is developed to match customer requirements to handymen, automatically schedule them, collect payment and track progress through completion.
Then, additional product offerings are tested and deployed in the same fashion until a complete set of technology, service providers, sales and marketing, back room processes and other supporting systems are fully constructed.