Somewhere along the way you realized that you built only half a company. Not so long ago, you were the bright one in your class…maybe even got your MBA besides that tech degree. You have a great idea for a new product; found grants, partnered with a prestigious university, and built that bright new shiny thing that you are absolutely convinced the world will want. In fact, you have a working pilot that you gave away to build some presence…maybe even you built it around a simple App. You found some Angel money along the way, but your investors keep asking when are things going to “…get to scale?” It’s just you and a couple guys and your dog.
What are you going to do?
It takes a different set of skills to envision the rest of the business cycle: marketing, solutioning, selling, implementing—let alone building relationships, customer service, and product life-cycle management. “Build-It-And-They-Will-Come” is right up there with “Hope Is Not A Strategy.” What is generally considered the softer side of business is really difficult: Selling. Don’t look at it lightly. All selling is not the same. You need a development and sales strategy to match the reality of what is out there in the real world—not what exists on the pages of a business plan.
General William Tecumseh Sherman during the Civil War, and the subsequent burning of Atlanta, said, “War is Hell.” If you look at the man, you will instantly understand. So too with business. Business is Hell. Be prepared to wage war. Surround yourself, like the Generals, with strategic advisors—not just with cannonballs. Dare to be different early in the life-cycle of your company.
You are spending money on your idea; but be sure to know how to feed your Beast.