Successful startups are the ones that are able to cross the chasm from early adopters to sustainable revenue - they have been able to validate their value proposition, defined a business model and now are ready to expand.
So how do you transition from innovation to operator ? what is your new business model ? how do you operationalize the business at a level that will scale ?
How do you cross the chasm?
All of those questions are the ones facing many business but especially startups that achieve early traction - and thought they have been successful at developing and selling to early adopters, how do you turn that process into a repeatable, scalable, sustainable and accountable method..
This is the moment that we call R+S2+A=R@S
Repeatable + (Scalable*Sustainable) + Accountable = Revenue @ scale
Lets focus on the basics: If the organization has achieved product market fit - the organization has identified the customer segment, a proper value proposition, a way of reaching them and deliver on their proposition for exchange of value - the next question is how do you operationalize sales and delivery from early adopters to the next larger market segment for consistent growth.
The transition by any organization from early adopters to rapid and large adoptions seems to lie into a model of doing more of the same, which is not the right approach - The path from early wins to an operational company is an arduous and lengthy task, one that is built with processes, tools, accountability and strong methodology.
For example, let us guide you through some of the questions that organizations must answer as they plan their next phase of growth:
Sales: what is the sales strategy - is it consultative, transactional, web driven..is it outbound or inbound?, what is the ratio of inside to outside sales? is your sales team composed of hunters or farmers ? and what is the sales transition ? what is their training ? how do you recruit them ? what does each sales group need? how do you manage them? how are they compensated ? what are the incentives and how does that affect your cost side ?
Marketing: What about your marketing and content strategy - does it align to your objectives? do you know how to reach that community? is the information valuable ? are they listening? does it resonate? how do you measure it ? how do you capture the activity ?
Pipeline: What about your pipeline management - do you have a process to drive net new business? what is your sales timeline? what is that impact on cash flow? how do you deliver the product or solution? can you do it at scale? how? what about support ? who is responsible for what, and is your compensation aligned to the value, customer and business objectives ? how do you incentivize the proper behavior?.
Channel: If the organizations has a channel approach- what is do your channel program? is there enough value for the channel? how do you train hem ? what tools do you provide ? what is their role - are they lead providers, sales agents, service providers ? how do you manage the process and what is their impact on the organizations pipeline ? how do you manage such risk ?
Delivery: What about services, what are the methodologies that are being employed ? what tools are used ? do the tools deliver the proper information for managing the business?, how do you recruit and onboard the service teams ? what is their training path? how do you engage with customers to deliver the product ? communicate the timelines? communicate with the stakeholders ? what impact does it have on your revenues ? on your cost? how do you manage their downtime ?
Accountability: what is your business culture ? how do you manage it ? does everyone know the objective ? how do you communicate it ? what tools are you using ? do they know where they stand ? and do they know their impact on the business ?
These are just some examples of the many questions that organizations must address as they move from early traction to sustainable revenues.
As startups or businesses mature, the transition from early sales to scalable and operational models, may seem like a natural evolution, but the reality is that organizations face a secondary valley of death driven by operational issues, complex implementations and a new landscape that required them to operationalize their innovation within a mature customer supply chain.
How a business and its leadership approach this challenge can make the difference between sustainable success or a slow drawn out death driven by a thousand cuts of wasted resources .. to the dismay of key stakeholders, investors, operator, founders and customers ..planning and execution are worthwhile efforts and ones that should not be undervalued.