Today’s business environment is not the same as it was a few years ago, where large dominant companies ruled the market. In came a bunch of renegades (or entrepreneurs) that turned the business landscape upside down, creating both value and opportunity for themselves and those around them.
In this era, disruptive technologies are what the game is all about. Those who dare win! (or lose to play again). Real success lies in leveraging disruptive technologies to improve processes at large organisations or create new ones from bottom up. Consider start-up successes such as Uber, AirBnB or even the many social media platforms around today, at the core lies a disruptive idea or technology. The need for these solutions was already existent or was created by entrepreneurs. As a result, the start-ups enjoyed immense success and the entrepreneurs were set up to make a lot of money via IPO or selling out to larger corporations.
However, this is just the pretty side of the picture. What most of us fail to realise is that for every “Mark Zuckerberg” there are hundreds of “Mark Nobodies”! For every Instagram, there are thousands of “InstaNOTHINGS”.
Research done by Forbes and other leading establishments reveal that 9 out of 10 start-ups fail. That means an astonishing 90% of start-ups are destined for failure. In fact, this rate is now accepted as a rule of thumb! Further, studies indicate that 25% start-ups fail within the first year, and over 50% fail within the first five years of operation. Looking at the number of start-up successes that gain media attention, no one bothers to pull back the curtains to see the failures, nor do they question what went wrong.
Here are some of the most important reasons why start-ups fail:
- Launching before they were adequately ready – some entrepreneurs in their desire to get to the market, launch without adequate preparation. This results in a flawed product coming into the market, which is ignored and soon forgotten. And, there is no room to make a comeback either.
- The idea was not original or disruptive enough – what the entrepreneur thought to be an amazing idea, in others’ perception may have been a “so what?” idea. In other words, there is no real incentive or benefit to those who buy into it.
- No product-market fit – the entrepreneur failed to ask the questions “how will my product fit into the market?”, “Is there a problem that exists that my product can help solve?” and “how can I make my product a ‘must have’ for my target audience?” Instead, he/she may have focused on perfecting the product as per his/her vision of how it ought to be, forgetting the customer in the whole process.
- Inadequate market research – when launching a disruptive product/service the entrepreneur needs to conduct in-depth market research to ensure that there is a demand for it or a demand can be created. This again, is very closely linked to the concept of product-market fit. Most entrepreneurs, as mentioned before, tend to focus blindly on what their product ought to be (for them) and not what the customer would want!
- Inadequate funding – According to CB Insights, 29% of start-ups run out of funds, thus do not see the light at the end of the day. With most of the funding going towards the core product, entrepreneurs usually find themselves without sufficient funds to market the product. Remember, no matter how good your product is, it is useless if your customers do not know about it.
On the surface, most of these ideas may have seemed like game-changers. But, thousands of ideas fail. Most founders made fundamental mistakes that could have been avoided. Only a few succeeded beyond anyone’s wildest dreams. You may fool yourself into thinking that the scales are tipped in the favour of the lucky few. We are here to tell you that you could not be more wrong!
Introducing the “Idea Incubator” – your partner in turning your idea, market-worthy.
Our aim to help bring your disruptive idea to the market stems from our belief that, from boot-strappers to multi-million dollar exits, every idea, and every start-up deserves a chance. Our team of experts here at Mitra have worked with start-ups and specialise in helping take ideas to market. We leverage on our proven frameworks, take your idea and build it into something that will bring value to you and to your customers.
Idea Incubators come in all shapes and sizes. When looking to work with one, you need to go beyond those that simply offer space and facilities and seek out ones that possess strong leadership and staff with strong credentials.
At Mitra, we literally roll up our sleeves and work with you to make your idea come to life. We do this through our five-step framework, commonly known as the Mitra Way.
The first stage is where you come to us with your idea, not knowing what to do next. We will work with you and study your idea and help you improve on it if needed. We will identify how your idea will add value to your customers and help them achieve their desired outcome through the product experience you offer.
Next, we look at one dimension of the product-market fit. We take an overall view of the business and visualise what the business plan ought to be like if we are to successfully launch the product. We even help you research the market opportunity for your idea, thus educating you on how the business-side of your idea will pan out. With close to 42% start-ups failing due to lack of market need for their product (CB Insights – August 2015), this is an area that we pay close attention to. We pool in our resources and expertise to ensure proper product-market fit before going to the other stages of the launch. Remember, if the foundation is not strong enough, no matter how tall or beautiful the building, it will eventually crumble.
At the third stage, we figure out what the end product will look like and visualise it. At this stage we identify improvements as well. In other words, we help you develop your proposition, thus solidifying your offer. We will also ensure that your product, while solving customer needs at present, can integrate with our many other proven frameworks and those that might emerge in the future. This helps ensure that the technology we use can evolve along with your customers’ needs.
The fourth stage is where we create the technical architecture and build the prototype. Here the product is tested using our most stringent quality standards. We will also incorporate consumer research into the design of your product/service and to test each iteration proven methods will be utilised to ensure quality isn’t hampered. If the product measures well against our experience and expectations, we prepare for the step that you’ve been waiting for!
The final stage of the ‘Mitra Way’ is all about the launch. We consider a variety of markets in various geographic locations to ensure maximum reach among your target customers. Once the product is launched, you will have perfect control over your disruptive business idea and our job is done.
CB Insights in their research done in August this year confirmed that 23% of start-ups fail due to the wrong team being on the project. With Mitra Innovation, you can bet that your start-up will NOT be a part of this list of failures. Our team brings to the table years of experience working with disruptive technologies and start-ups to ensure that you are backed by the right people for the job.
While we have helped many businesses in the UK, Australia and Sri Lanka go from idea to launch, we’ve also practiced what we preach internally. Our team’s experience working in the construction sector brought about an idea that was launched as BIMaaS, Mitra’s first internal ‘Idea to Launch’ product. In the next edition of this article, we will delve into how BIMaaS came about and how the ‘Mitra Way’ helped launch an idea that has begun disrupting the construction sector.