For Startups

Accelerating Early-stage Companies

We take an active role in accelerating the growth of our clients’ business by providing hands on mentoring and assistance every step of the way. From the first step of selecting and analyzing a new market, to providing hands-on  help to actually build the business, we can help you make progress and get results.

Step-by-Step Assistance for Early-stage Companies

We provide each of these services as needed:

• Interim Executives for Early-stage Companies

•  Market Research,  Opportunity Analysis and Business Plan Development

• Competitive Analysis and Threat Evaluation

• Customer Research

• Blue Ocean Opportunity Analysis

• Real World Revenue and Financial Models

• Go to Market Strategies and Cost/Benefit Analysis

• Product Design and Feature Value Analysis

• Venture Capital Sourcing

• Investor Presentation Design and Coaching

Interim Executives for Early-stage Companies

When it comes to building the right team, early-stage companies face a difficult double bind problem (aka “Catch-22”). On one hand, investors are reluctant to invest until the company has a credible team in place that can produce significant results (i.e. “traction”), but it is hard to attract highly experienced team members and gain traction without having funding in place.

Our solution to this dilemma is to temporarily provide your early-stage company with executives who possess the required skills, experience and connections to help your business grow until funding is secured and permanent managers can be hired.

We can help build your bench strength with interim CEOs, Directors, VPs of Business Development, Sales and Marketing. We can help you build a startup team with deep expertise and connections in the Internet, Telecom, Software, and Healthcare industries, just to name a few.

Business Strategy Development

Starting with sound business strategy design, we can help you develop a winning business plan and presentation that will increase your chance of receiving venture capital by clearly and effectively communicating your business opportunity.

Market Research and Opportunity Analysis

Early-stage companies can no longer rely on the “Field of Dreams” approach to market research (if you build it they will come).  It is critical to have a deep understanding of how your disruptive technology will create new opportunities by redefining current market boundaries – and be able to properly evaluate the size and attractiveness of those opportunities.

Our experts understand how to design and test disruptive marketing strategies. So instead of just being ahead of the game, your business can re-invent the game.

Competitive Analysis and Threat Analysis

There’s a lot more to an effective competitive market analysis than just arranging the major competitors on a chart.

We can show you how to use your Value Advantage to compete effectively. By having a clear understanding of how the market opportunity will change over time, we can formulate how new entrants should best compete and how to design a fact based strategic response that will capture and hold significant market share for the long run.

Customer Research

Do you think you know what drives your customers? Do you know exactly why they prefer to buy from you and under what conditions they would switch to the competition? Do you know who your most profitable and least profitable customer segments are right now? And who will they be in the near future? Which segments are you focused on now and why?

The age-old dictum of “Know your Customer” is sound advice, but it is only possible with deep customer research. Our experts have experience across numerous industries and know how to identify the most profitable segments and effectively target the best markets.

Blue Ocean Opportunity Analysis

Blue Ocean Strategy

Blue Ocean Strategy (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The term “Blue Ocean” comes from the book “Blue Ocean Strategy” by W. Chan Kim and Renée Mauborgne.

Every startup must create a new Blue Ocean opportunity in order to survive and thrive.  But sailing into uncharted waters is rarely comfortable or safe.  We have developed a process for identifying, quantifying and in effect charting new Blue Ocean opportunities.

Real World Revenue and Financial Models

Does your business plan contain the phrase, “We plan to capture just 2% of the potential market….”? This phraseology and thinking is common among early-stage companies that are trying to enter existing markets. The problem with this “top down” approach is that it is insupportable and indefensible, which means that the revenue projections and financial plans that are based on it are meaningless. Investors are looking for a more diligent (and challenging) “bottom up” approach that is based on sound market and customer research.

Go to Market Strategies and Cost/Benefit Analysis

From Public Relations to Promotions, Advertising to Email, we can help you develop and execute comprehensive marketing strategies that include a range of tools and tactics appropriate for your company, industry and budget.

Product Design and Feature Value Analysis

Designing the optimal feature set beyond the Minimal Viable Features can be a surprisingly difficult challenge. Some early companies delay roll out of their first product because of “feature-itis” or “analysis paralysis;” they often end up adding more features than the market requires.

Other companies try to “soft launch” a product that is really only in the beta test stage, and isn’t ready for prime-time. Microsoft maybe able to get away with it, but either of these tactics can become a costly (and sometimes fatal) mistake for an early-stage company. By providing an impartial and market driven analysis, we can help you design the optimal feature set and prepare you for a successful launch.

Venture Capital Sourcing 

In spite of all the press you have read about “wunderkind” tech startups raising multimillion dollar first rounds, make no mistake that for most companies raising venture capital will be the most challenging part of growing your business.  You are in competition with thousands of other brilliant startups for a limited amount of investment dollars.

We can help you through each and every step of the funding process from creating a credible and attractive business strategy, to telling your story in a compelling way. We help you design a presentation that will clearly communicate your company’s value and answer an investor’s fundamental question: ”Will this be a good investment?”

We will help you establish valuation guidelines, prepare a funding strategy, identify funding sources and support the negotiating process.