So many business start off as great ideas, but are quickly derailed. Sometimes it’s not even because of lack of good leadership or funding, but rather because of a lack of direction. That said, one of the most underrated aspects of launching your own venture is taking the time to figure out exactly where you fit into the overall market. Disruption is the name of the game right now, and without understanding exactly what it is you’re trying to disrupt you may find yourself mired in redundancies.
I’ve been rounding up a few articles with great commentary on how to contextualize yourself and your business. Introductions and overviews are below, followed by the link!
Case in point: Consumer Packaged Goods. As defined by investopedia, CPG “are a type of goods consumed every day by the average consumer.” When you take trends into serious consideration, CB Insights suggests that CPG companies to embrace e-commerce. Even though it only accounts for less than 10% of all sales, it has been growing consistently. There’s a whole customer base that’s growing to expect on demand capabilities, customizable baskets, and concierge-level service. The article breaks down the different areas that fall into CPG distribution and then lists 75 companies that are making a serious impact. CPG company or not, figure out if there is a small but growing channel that will facilitate growth, and get in there.
In an episode of HBO’s Silicon Valley, the protagonist leaves his job in a huff and accepts a position at a promising startup. When he arrives for the meeting, he learns that they do nothing but create camera filters that give users silly mustaches. The joke was obvious— there’s no way a company like that could last very long, even with successful funding. But it’s not a far cry from real life.
VC investor Lockie Andrews warns that the tech funding bubble is soon to burst. Everyone knows that tech startups are getting funding left and right, with more than a couple crossing into the $1bn+ valuation territory. Her analysis is fascinating, but here’s a great takeaway: so many of these highly valued startups are turning zero profit, and that should be a wakeup call to many investors in the future.
But remember, not all tech will tank, if for no other reason than it being an integral part of our lives. However, entering that sphere means that you need to truly be adding something of value for consumers. Improving on existing technology and models is great, but copycat startups will have a much harder time weathering the storm.
And it doesn’t go for tech only. Any business you find yourself leading should be trying to solve a problem, first and foremost. Even the Woz thinks so.
In a piece for the Harvard Business Review, John Geraci argues for an embrace of the “ecosystem mindset”. Too often, businesses will launch an unnecessary arm that is tasked with connecting with the surrounding community. But by using the assets already at your disposal, you can reach out in a more meaningful way. He breaks down his approach into four avenues: build new connections, where you proactively engage with the community in order to find out where you can be useful; establish channels between possible partners, by which you foster creative collaboration; partner with others, in order to build a diverse slate of problem-solving assets; and foster sustained action, by investing quality time and capital into these different partners so that they can arrive at new solutions through their interdisciplinary interactions.