Failure in your tech business should not be seen as a deterrent but an opportunity to learn from past mistakes. Learning from the failures as much as successes means you are on the road to be the next billionaire. Hard work is always a fundamental part of the entrepreneur journey.
Not all tech business failures were disastrous products and some have been pioneers for products we take for granted in our daily lives. Some examples:
- TiVO pioneered a new way to access TV shows and was the major step between video players and on-line on-demand access to TV and film output now championed by Netflix and Amazon Video
- Pre-iPhone the smart phone equivalent was the Blackberry which is now a significantly smaller company that at its peak. Nokia spent a lot of time and money developing music player / phone and gaming / phone combos before the technology was developed to make it efficient enough to have a greater experience
- High profile “failures” include Google Glass which was a great idea but couldn’t overcome concerns about privacy, safety and the high selling price. I personally don’t think we have seen the last of this product
- Microsoft ventured into the smart watch market well before the iWatch but arguably was ahead of its time and certainly ahead of the effective technology that really makes a difference to the user experience
Investors, when needed, come into companies at various stages and often there are multiple round of investment as the company and the product grow into a level of maturity in the start-up phase of their development. The stages, in simple form are:
Amount of investment
Usually at the IPO stage there is a tangible product that is building traction in the market and is getting potential customers and investors alike excited about the future of the product and the business. When the founder releases his / her investment through an IPO, crystalising great personal wealth it is not uncommon for them to become the future investors in new ventures themselves.
Before the IPO comes WORK, and lots of it. It is a hard slog building a business, getting investment, controlling a rapidly growing team and staying fit and healthy to be able to drive it all forward. It’s not for the faint hearted.
Current Unicorn hero, Deliveroo, was founded by Will Shu and Greg Orlowski in 2013 with Will Shu taking to the streets on his own bicycle to sign up early adopters for the first year. He freely admits that despite having an MBA, he was learning on the job daily and still is. These days he’s off the bike and leading a business with over 1200 employees in multiple countries and with over $860 million of investment. Well-funded competitors have entered the market after seeing the success of Deliveroo. The technology is constantly under development and uses machine learning to improve the customer experience.
In your own business you are going to have to do things you never thought you would have to, stretch yourself beyond what you thought possible and be prepared for mistakes, setbacks and unforeseen consequences.
The B.U.I.L.D. methodology it simple and easy to implement in your tech business.
Using the B.U.I.L.D. model helps overcome some of the biggest challenges and reduces the common mistake of building in failure.
The process is designed to ensure that new products are fit for purpose, accommodate demands and expectations from potential customers, actually have a market of buyers and therefore get the investment that is appropriate for the market opportunity. It’s a method for getting your product idea tried and tested before investing more time, effort and resources than necessary in something that is not commercially viable.
It requires some actions that may appear counter-intuitive or take more time than feels necessary but each activity, if followed carefully will save thousands of ££’s or $$’s, more time in the long run and probably a certain amount of your sanity.
The framework includes:
- Big Idea
- User Focus
- Litmus Test
“Big Ideas are usually Simple Ideas” – David Ogilvy
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