Start Slow, Develop An Impregnable Strategy, And Finish Strong

Finish Strong

A great American orator once said, “If you ain’t first, you’re last.” Unfortunately for some, Ricky Bobby isn’t the smartest character in cinematic history. Startups tend to believe the key to success is being the first one on the scene to provide a service or product. Yet for one organization application startup, Springpad, being first was the worst thing they could’ve done. Described as “Pinterest two years before Pinterest entered the market”, Springpad allowed users to find and organize recipes, movies to watch, home improvement projects, and interior design projects. They were ahead of the curve- anticipating market needs and creating a user-friendly app way back in 2008.

Tragically for Springpad, they were actually too early to the market. Mobile apps had not yet blossomed into what they are today, and because of this, Springpad struggled to monetize their product. Officially closing its doors this past June, Springpad was unable to foresee customer buying habits and willingness to pay.

While stories like this don’t come around too often, it just goes to show that just having a strong product is not enough. For long-term success, a company needs a strong foundation with a solid business strategy. It’s tough to sprint marathons, so start slow, develop an impregnable strategy, and finish strong.

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The Importance Of A Clear, Concise Value Proposition

Value Propositon Apples

What’s your value proposition? Are you able to articulate it quickly and effectively? Whether it’s your personal value prop or your company’s, this should flow easily for you and all your employees. If you couldn’t, you’re not alone. This is harder than it looks.

To be effective, your value prop needs to be framed from the reference of your customer. This takes insight into what is important to them, and perhaps more importantly, about how they make purchasing decisions. A good value prop is built upon knowledge about why your customers choose your offering – knowledge that comes from REAL customer feedback (not assumptions). Remember, there’s no value until your customer can see how it will benefit them – this takes an understanding of your customers’ viewpoint. This is what Vennli is all about – customer insights driving strategic decision making. Check out this article by Bruce McDuffee for more about the importance of the value proposition.

Predicting Emerging Technologies Over The Next 30 Years (Infographic)

Envisioning Technology (Header)

Are robot butlers, space internet, and actual retinal screens a possibility within the next 30 years? That’s the question Michell Zapp, technology strategist and founder of the trend forecasting firm Envisioning Technology, asked himself. He examined current technological and scientific research and predicted which possible innovations may become reality, as well as the possible significance they will have on society. The result is a stunning and concise infographic entitled “Envisioning Emerging Technology For 2012 And Beyond.”

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Does Growing A Company Organically Minimize Growing Pains?

Sprout

Joel Spolsky states that the four pillars of organic growth are revenue, head count, PR, and quality. When you choose to grow organically instead of take on outside investors, things tend to move slowly and the four pillars tend to grow at the same pace. Unless you raise outside cash, you can’t hire or advertise any faster than your sales will support.

Spolsky states that taking a slower approach minimizes the growing pains that faster growing companies may experience. For example, when revenue grows faster than hiring can, existing staff become overworked and customer service lags. If PR grows faster than the quality of your product resulting in an overhyped initial version, prospects will be permanently convinced that your product is inadequate, even if you later improve your product. Sometimes growing more slowly makes your business easier to manage and customers more likely to be pleased. What do you think?

Your Business Involves More Than Just Your Strategy

Business Breakfast

Breakfast is the most important meal of the day, but even the most important meal can be diminished if it consistently involves McGriddles and hash browns (no matter how delicious they may be). Just like breakfast, any business can be stifled when emphasizing just one particular portion. As of late, many businesses have moved towards the philosophy that great culture and teamwork will overpower a strategy-centric business. But, just as pancakes need syrup, culture needs strategy. When the two walk hand-in-hand, companies have a better chance at conquering the day, and more importantly, the market.

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