Great! Your Technology Works but Can You Run a Business?
There are over 600,000 companies set up in the UK each year. Many of these companies seek to offer new technology to the market, technology that they hope will improve their customers’ efficiencies, safety and cost.
Indeed, there are fantastic ideas out there. Most companies only launch a fraction of developed products. In addition, over 80% of them fail once launched.
A Harvard Business Review article written by Joan Schneider and Julie Hall states,
“Companies are so focused on designing and manufacturing new products that they postpone the hard work of getting ready to market them until too late in the game.”
So why do innovators sometimes give up launching their products? What support do they need?
Choosing to be an innovative entrepreneur
Over the years, I’ve seen ground-breaking, patented technology never leave the warehouse of the company that created it. There is also great technology hidden within the pages of an engineer’s notebook, without a clear idea of how to sell it to the marketplace.
I’ve met some of these innovators. They are usually experts in engineering, manufacturing, project management and similar technical roles. Often, they try to develop their idea while still working full-time. Sometimes, they fund the ventures themselves. Other times, they leave the monthly paycheck to become innovative entrepreneurs and business owners.
Great technology is not enough
There are pros and cons with both choices when it comes to successful market entry. The educational and/or professional experience of innovators help them create relevant products. But they often don’t have the skillset to build and run a business. It is a significant transition that requires additional support. And it’s all doable once that support is in place!
Innovative products often save the buyer time, money and effort. There’s likely to be improvements in efficiencies and productivity too. But this doesn’t mean that a buyer will snap up the new product. It’s not a quick process and if ‘you build it they just won’t come’. Even after you develop and validate your product through pilots and trials, the buyer is still going to assess the business risks and have a focus on the liability if something goes wrong. This is the nature of the business-to-business buying processes.
Support for building and running a successful business
So having technology that works is not enough. The business owner needs to evidence a strong business that provides a quality product or service with competent people to deliver it.
Often, buyers look at the business management system such as ISO accreditation, financial risk, the calibre of the management team and sometimes, membership of bodies like FPAL. Moreover, the business needs to cultivate the relevant relationships in its industry to develop and leverage opportunities for business growth.
Fortunately, Scotland and in particular, Aberdeen, offer support through programmes such as Elevator’s Accelerator, OGTC’s TechX and Grey Matters. New programmes for innovative ideas launch regularly through organisations like ONE’s Digital and Entrepreneurship Hub launched with RGU and Codebase. These initiatives help businesses to get ready for investment and to be commercially successful with their technology.
If you have a new product or perhaps an idea that you aren’t sure how to progress, drop me a line for a quick chat at firstname.lastname@example.org
A version of this blog was published on sarahdownsltd.com