Platt Perspective on Business and Technology

Synchronizing product, market and vision – an iterative process

Posted in startups, strategy and planning by Timothy Platt on December 30, 2011

I had a conversation with an entrepreneur a few days ago, interested in building a startup in fulfillment of a long term dream and ambition. Precisely what she wishes to develop as her own unique value proposition is intriguing, but that detail is not particularly germane to this posting. This conversation did, however, prompt me to think through the issues I will be writing about here, and those issues revolve around the relationships between product or service to be offered, market where they would be seen as offering value, and vision as to what the providing business stands for and represents.

To start this discussion from a clean slate, consider a nascent startup – still in the pre-build planning stage. And there is a founder or perhaps a small team of founders who hold a vision of what they seek to accomplish.

• This vision in most situations seems to include at least two distinct parts. One is a general conception of a core product or service – and that in many cases, at least in my experience, is not even as polished as a specific conception of a product or service. This is more likely to start with a distinguishing feature or quality that a more polished product or service would imbue and that would set it apart as its source of unique value to a marketplace.
• The starting vision is at first unformed and out of any specific focus – and certainly lacking in a specific operational focus.
• The core unique value concept is out of focus and developing it in a real sense means fleshing it out and validating it in the process as it is transformed into a product or service that might be brought to a real marketplace.
• The eventual marketplace that would be originally build towards and marketed to is also going to be unformed and out of focus – as has to be the case until the product or service to be sold there is brought into practical, empirical form.

And in practice, product or service coming out of initial unique value proposition concept, and vision as to how best to realize and offer this, and marketplace all come into focus together through an iterative process of thought and action and refinement, and further thought and action and refinement.

This basic process is important for startups and early stage businesses. It is just as important for more established businesses as they seek to break out of their here and now to create disruptively new. In both cases, success requires finding a balance that works, between proceeding quickly and effectively so as to capture new opportunity, and allowing time for all of this to mature so opportunity is not lost before its possibility can even be seen.

I have posted on issues related to this a number of times and am sure I will be coming back to this again too. Meanwhile, you can find this and related postings at Business Strategy and Operations – 2 (and see also Business Strategy and Operations.) And you can also find this and related postings at Startups and Early Stage Businesses.

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