Idea To IdealFrom Idea to Ideal
While the conception of the idea may only take one person, the evolution of it into a commercially viable product or service will see the influences of a growing number of people. It will ultimately need a team with the right skills and experiences to take it from just a dream to a company generating revenues. Conversely once the company starts producing revenue it will need a different mixture of background and experience to sustain and grow sales and profitability. Most of the companies that have successfully fought and shepherded the idea to a successful commercial launch will not have the skill sets required to continue the company’s growth.
Strata has the diversity of skills and experience for both the needs of the “Ideal”, growing company and the “Idea”, start-up enterprise. We can tailor our involvement in the company to its needs and as those needs change, vary the Strata people involved to meet the new challenges. Our client companies also benefit not only benefit from the continuity maintained with our relationships but also consistency, as our group already has a common mindset and vision.
The following sections detail the individual needs of the growth company “Ideal” and the start-up enterprise “Idea”, along with some specific case studies, a list of services, and links to websites we recommend.
How it works…
Inspiration hits and the product or service is conceptualized. The starting point for a knowledge based business can be in any industry but more typically in consumer products, high technology, entertainment, and bio-technology. The very beginning is also the time to start keeping the idea confidential (stealth mode) while quietly researching to see if the product or service already exists. The use of a confidentiality agreement is warranted.
The question “Does this satisfy somebody’s pain?” must be asked at this point and if so, is the potential market big enough? An initial market study needs to be done (still in stealth mode) while other questions like the potential impact of regulatory issues must be reviewed. If there is a technology component to the idea, product/service development continues concurrently. The concept is to bring the idea to a point that the decision to go forward as a business can be made and its ownership can be established. The vision of the business plan begins to take shape with regards to the idea becoming a stand alone offering or a part of a larger product or service offering.
At this point the idea has evolved and become an opportunity. Knowledge based businesses need to begin with crystallizing their intellectualproperty through its formal expression and theirlegitimate and enforceable right of ownership and control over the idea, whether it is in the form of patents, trademarks, copyrights, and/or even trade secrets. How it has or will become intellectual property will determine the type of protection it will require. Questions around incorporation, corporate structure, target markets and segments and timing to market need to be formalized and/or require answers. During this time work continues towards having a model of the final product and initial concepts of cost to produce are formed. Thoughts regarding candidates for a Board of Directors and Advisory Board are firmed up. Opinions begin forming around what type of business can be created or should the idea be sold to an existing enterprise to exploit.
A formal five year business plan and financial model is now required. The market analysis has been completed, a target market segment is identified, and a comprehensive knowledge of purchase decisions makers and influencers is complete. Decisions now have to be made on the best way to take the idea to market; will the company generate revenue from one or a combination of direct sales, distributors, and/or licensing into an existing product or service offering. Based on this decision, a sales strategy has been developed around the best way to take it to market with a clear set of milestones. Product pricing and costing has been analyzed relative to market influences such as competition, while costing has been matched to not only production expenses. A human resource plan and practical allowances for sales and support costs have been made with attention to outsourcing for initial requirements and adding internally as sales necessitate. The working version of the product or service is developed and requirements for initial tests are done. Any required regulatory testing is begun, if not already started.1
All product and applicable regulatory testing is complete. Premises, infrastructure and personnel are in place to generate and support sales with a continued emphasis on outsourcing. Endorsements of potential thought leaders are obtained. Accreditations for cross border issues between provinces within Canada, states within the U.S., and NAFTA for North America are obtained. Funding requirements are in place for the initial product launch. A review process is established with management, the Board of Directors, and the Advisory Board in order to maintain focus on the business plan while also leaving room for unanticipated opportunities. The product or service is launched and the idea becomes the ideal with sales being generated.
IDEAL = GROWTH
Generating, supporting and growing sales profitably are the ultimate goal of all businesses. The trick to succeeding is recognizing that there are levels within the evolution of a company’s revenues growth from; $0 – $1,000,000, $1,000,000 – $10,000,000, and $10,000,000 – $50,000,000.