Advising and mentoring leaders of businesses developing electronic products
New product development can be an expensive and risky business. To drive a technology business forward you are going to need a well-defined business model, clear vision and defined goals, careful planning and good risk management. But setting out the strategy is only the start – delivering it requires determination and focus. It is too easy to get sucked into the day-to-day problems of the business and lose sight of where you are supposed to be heading.
There’s a critical moment for a young, growing technology business. Possible signs of this are when the first product is in the hands of customers, when the CEO can no longer manage everything directly, when investor and grant funding starts to be replaced by customer-generated revenue or when worrying about survival is replaced by worrying about capacity to deliver. Big changes will be needed, quickly – building an executive team, adding new organisational functions, boosting sales and marketing, creating a new, robust plan for the next phase of the business.
Are you getting the best from your team? How would you describe your culture? Does everyone share a common purpose and vision? You may have the brightest scientific and engineering minds, but they will need to be motivated and pulling in the same direction if you are to reach your goals. Investing time in your staff and providing regular, interactive communications will be needed to bring everyone along on the journey.
We can all get carried along by the excitement of the novel science or engineering behind a new product, but are you focussed on selling the technology or on the needs and desires of potential customers? If your technology provides a better solution than existing products, are you communicating those advantages clearly? If you are developing something unique, with no comparable competition, how will you persuade potential customers that they need this product at all?
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