The million-dollar question, or in our case the 1.5 million dollar question: Does your business model and vision for your company match your product? This may sound like a simple question with a simple answer, but once you are in the market it may be difficult to change your set course. For most ambitious Entrepreneurs it may be easy to underestimate early demand for the opportunity, as well as your ability to shrink-wrap delivery of your product or service. Most of the time a company turns into a lifestyle company due to the elementary feature set of the platform. A company will exhaust valuable resources on customer customization than originally planned and be left without enough manpower to build out delivery automation. Plus, if you lack the large runway of cash, the service revenue can be addictive.
What we realized in the early infancy of our application is that the services revenue gleaned from our early product was turning us into an “Excuse to sell a service”, rather than a Software as a service. We found ourselves not being able to offload implementations to keep up with new sales and neglecting the core product development. We knew we needed to act fast, so we have forced the decision, adjust the vision for the company or pivot and rebuild the product for automated delivery to match our vision.
Now if you ask an investor, pivoting is never a good thing, however, if you are confident you can pull off the capital raise requirements it can give you a unique opportunity to be a second-mover to your own idea and build the solution with an intimate knowledge of the roadblocks. This can create enormous competitive advantages for your offering over your competitors. The long-term success of our company will inevitably tie back to these early decisions, but we now know that our ability to execute our vision will not be hampered by early stumbles as a startup.
I hope this video can add some value to your start-up and save you a few nights of heartache in the future.