Don’t be fooled. This isn’t a quick 10 step guide for success. In the context of enterprise sales in a highly competitive market, it is for us the metaphorical equivalent of climbing Mount Niesen in the Swiss Alps – all 11,674 steps on the world’s longest staircase. This article is about how one can get from the stage of idea generation to profit generation.
Except our staircase is in Singapore, and instead of starting the race together, some of our competitors have a 30 year lead on us. At this point I’m thankful to acknowledge that the staircase really is a treadmill so it’s more a matter of who keeps running.
1. Identify a market need: smart employees don’t want to settle for dumb HR software.
2. Understand the problem: the leading solutions in the market went out of style a decade ago. So companies have to settle till something better comes along (that’s Talenox btw).
3. Smell the opportunity: more business leaders see the benefit of switching to cheaper simple to use cloud software for functions like operations and finance. HR is next in line.
4. Draw up a plan: muster your forces, gather resources, choose your battles, deliver an inspiring speech. But don’t get stuck.
5. Muster your forces: we formed a small balanced team to start – HR & product knowledge, engineering and design capability, enterprise business development experience.
6. Gather resources: be mindful of capital and expenses. We managed to bootstrap with some early revenue to feed us (very lucky) allowing more time to consider the best option for funding.
7. Choose your battles: it was easy to be reckless when starting from scratch but securing early wins was extremely important for momentum. We knew the MVP would appeal to smaller businesses with simpler requirements but selling the innovations in the pipeline (realistically) helped secure interest from bigger brands.
8. Deliver an inspiring speech: not just once, but whenever needed. The vision is equally important to the team, clients, investors, partners. Some creative liberty is advised since not every battle will turn out as expected.
9. Revisit steps 1 to 8: good for you if you make profit after one cycle. Some of us take a few cycles (with plenty of tweaking), and more or less time between steps. We set the first milestone as “profit making, ASAP”.
10. Don’t fall off the treadmill: which really is another way of saying once you start running, don’t stop till you’re done.
Ideas are easy. Projections are bullshit.
Execution is everything.