Case StudiesFrom Idea to Ideal
Over the years we have been approached by: new and existing companies with various ideas for products, management teams needing to be rounded out, and companies looking to build on their success. We have assembled three representations of actual case studies to provide a sample of how Strata could work with companies:
- Listening = Your Solution
- Delivering on the Promise
- Leveraging Success
While these provide a “snapshot” of our concept in action they do not represent all possible scenarios and we are available to discuss variations on these themes.
Listening = Your Solution
Often a company comes upon an idea as a direct/indirect extension of its existing business.
A successful consulting practice had developed a unique process and branding for the delivery of its service. It was constrained from growing by the fact that the work around its services was labour intensive. After a number of information exchanges, Strata people were able to work through a solution for the company. The idea was to incorporate their well-established process and branding into an interactive Web 2.0 software application. The software facilitated the exchange of information with clients, gave them an ongoing personalized access to the consulting practice’s service, enabled multiple input sources to collaborate across the client organization, and all delivered on a live basis. The resultant efficiencies allowed the consulting practice to not only serve more clients with its existing complement of staff but also broaden the geographic reach of its market. We facilitated and project managed the development of the product while also working with management to establish and deliver the business plan for the release of the software. Ongoing support is provided dependent on the management team’s needs.
This example of a product evolving from an existing service offering has occurred a number of times before and can be one of the best ways to take an idea to market. The product has the opportunity to be field tested and market validated while providing funding through the ongoing sales of the service. This is only one way an idea can be developed. Strata has also supported people beginning their business solely on an idea and moving it all the way to commercial sales.
Delivering on the Promise
Management teams can sometimes get caught in a situation of having an ongoing need for certain skill sets and experiences but only on an irregular basis.
There is the instance of a company that had worked over a number of years at developing a hardware solution with award winning technology and far reaching consumer appeal. It had been able to obtain good financing because of the tremendous upside potential and committed investors. Despite these positives the company was having trouble ramping up from its initial (beta) product launch to general release. Management was still made up of the original research and development group and was having trouble making the transition to a structure which was focused on producing and selling a product. Strata people were able to integrate themselves into the company reinforcing existing management in the areas of marketing strategy/sales, production, and finance. They facilitated the general product launch through contract manufacturers and third party distribution channels while ensuring administrative systems and contracts were in place to provide useful management reports and protect the intellectual property of the company. Through cooperation with the management team, board of directors and investors Strata was able to transition the company and facilitate the hiring of full time staff in the future. There is ongoing support provided through a combined advisory role and specific needs basis.
The whole matter of moving from one style of organization to another is one of the most difficult and crucial times in a company’s evolution. It often can be the breaking point between different parts of the management team and investors/boards of directors. Our ability to support existing management through the product launch and eventually facilitating the transition to a new management structure were keys to the company being successful.
Sustaining and growing on a company’s success has its own challenges and can be influenced by a multitude of factors. One of the biggest questions is: What’s next?
We had the opportunity to work with a company that had to ask itself the question; how do we maintain, sustain, and grow on our success? They had already passed a significant hurdle by asking themselves that very question. It often happens that companies who have fought their way to a certain level of success lose focus or get satisfied. Realizing and understanding the need to do more and to constantly review and renew the corporate plans is something that can get lost in the euphoria of success. The company had us review how they were working, where they could improve, and even more importantly where to go to next with their technology. Strata worked with management to review and implement a growth strategy that followed a natural order and evolution of their technology both to the market and the end consumer. We also helped them to organize the company relative to their revenue and cost centres, and intellectual property. The net effect for the company was it continued to grow its annual revenues past the $1,000,000 benchmark and well into the $1 – 10,000,000 range. The little amount of disruption to management and its advisors occurred solely with the organic growth of the company and its need for greater resources.
The ability to manage through the demands made on a growing company often calls upon a need for experience and new skill sets. Maintaining order and success through the transition is a difficult task and requires a background and a degree of separation that is not normally available in management teams. The Strata team was able to translate its experience with the growth curve into support for the company’s and management team’s move to the next level of growth.