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Hebben jullie reeds betalende klanten? Dan verwachten wij dat de volgende vragen in het businessplan beantwoordt worden.
|Probleem van de klant: welk probleem heeft de klant en hoe wordt dit door jullie opgelost?||Markt: hoe groot is de markt waarop jullie je richten en welke concurrenten en substituten zijn er?|
|Product en/of dienst: wat is de status van jullie aanbod en op welke wijze is er een concurrentieel voordeel te behalen met de gebruikte technologie?||Business model: Op welke wijze verdient jullie bedrijf geld en wat is de financiële prognose voor de komende 3 jaar?|
|Finance: wat is de financieringsbehoefte en hoe wordt het geld gebruikt?||Team: wat is de achtergrond, rol en de ervaring van de teamleden?|
Op basis van slechts 4 vragen krijg je een goed beeld wat de belemmeringen zijn voor de groei van jullie bedrijf:
Als de antwoorden op de eerste twee vragen 100% luiden, jullie meer dan 18 maanden achtereen de maanddoelstellingen halen en 3x zo hard kunnen groeien met de huidige cash-flow, dan kunnen wij niet veel toevoegen.
In alle andere gevallen zal er werk aan de winkel zijn met betrekking tot de strategie (vraag 1), de personele bezetting (vraag 2) en de executie (vraag 3). In dat geval is er vaak ook een aanvullende financieringsbehoefte (vraag 4).
Daarnaast biedt Value Creation Capital samen met Spark Entrepreneurs Education een groeiprogramma van 12 maanden aan. Ambitieuze technologiebedrijven (scale-ups) worden hands-on ondersteund bij het bereiken van haar groeidoelstellingen. Klik hier voor meer informatie over het programma.
I often receive pitches from sales people with only company and product centric information. The key focus of these messages is on the sales person’s company, their products/services and their needs for getting my business. Sometimes they also drop names of their customers in the message and sometimes they just claim that they have many customers. The main call-to-action is that they want to talk to me or meet with me in person to give a demo, explain their offering further or explore “business opportunities” (whatever that means).
They all fail to achieve their objective.
Selling is not yelling
I am not talking about unsolicited and generic SPAM, because that is mostly caught in my SPAM filter and I never see it. I am talking about messages sent to my email address, addressing me by my name, sent to me via the social media platforms where I am present or delivered as a voice mail on my telephone (I never answer calls from people that are not in my contact list) asking for my time.
Sometimes the objective of the message is to sell me something and sometimes the objective is to get me to do something for the sales person, such as getting access to my network, getting me to recommend the person to someone or convince me to recommend or resell their products.
I can tell you with very high accuracy that none of these approaches have ever worked with me in the 40 years that I have been in business. Mostly because I couldn’t find the value in the message. Sometimes because the product/service was irrelevant to me and sometimes because I was not in the market for that type of product/service at the time I received the email or phone call. The sum of these three reasons makes 100%.
Am I an exception, meaning that in general these approaches work very well and yield great results? I don’t think so. So why does this senseless waste of resources continue?
The product is not the value proposition
In my work as an author, workshop facilitator and business advisor I meet with many information technology executives across the globe and it continues to puzzle me that only very few are familiar with the core frameworks for designing scalable revenue generation platforms. These core frameworks are:
http://tbkconsult.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/07/Business-Model-with-environment.png The value proposition and the business model environment are actually integrated parts of the business model concept, but I have spelled them out separately here because most people are not aware of that.
These frameworks are well documented through the writing and work of Alexander Osterwalder and there are books, videos and training sessions available in abundance to help you learn how to use them. There are also consultants available in abundance that can help you apply the frameworks in your specific business.
The price is what we pay – the value is what we get
Nevertheless, most information technology executives do not read the books, they do not watch the videos, they do not attend the classes and they do not engage the consultants. The result is that they fail to recognise the need for clearly identifying the segments in the market that could get immense value from their product/service (instead they shoot at everything with a pulse). They fail to identify the value propositions that translate the features of the product/service into messages that are relevant to the potential buyers in their specific position in the buying cycle (instead they just hammer out company and product centric propaganda). They fail to recognise the channels that could be the most productive for getting the messages across and they fail to understand that engaging these channels also requires value propositions (you can buy advertising for money, but how do you make me recommend or resell your product/service?).
A change in mindset and behavior is required
Can someone explain to me that while we all recognise that it takes a certain path of studying and practising to become a pilot, a plumber, a nurse, a medical doctor, a lawyer, a mechanical engineer, a carpenter and so on, we do not recognise the requirements for starting, running and growing a business. Don’t get me wrong – I am not advocating a scheme for public certification of entrepreneurs or business people. Heaven forbid such a bureaucracy. All I am asking is this: Why do so many entrepreneurs jump head first into the swimming pool without checking first if it is full of water, and if so, then how deep? Why don’t entrepreneurs at least read the two books on Business Model Generation and Value Proposition Design or just watch a couple of free videos on YouTube to get acquainted with how to translate all their efforts in developing a product/service into meaningful messages for their potential customers and potential channel partners.
I write about issues related to revenue growth and globalization in the software industry.
You can follow me on Twitter: @hpbech
Hans Peter Bech is an author, economist and consultant. He is a frequent blogger on issues related to growing software driven companies to global market leadership and is the author of several books and whitepapers on business development in the software industry. Hans Peter also facilitates workshops for software executives in the TBK Academy¨. Hans Peter holds a M.Sc. in macroeconomics and political science from the University of Copenhagen. He speaks Danish, English and German and is a certified ValuePerform, ValuePartner and Business Model Generation consultant.