They say that everything in life is timing. Certainly for the punchline of a good joke. But now it seems that timing is the most important factor for any startup. In this short, but fascinating, TED talk Bill Gross reveals his research on over 200 startups.
He discovered the most important factor in the success of a startup is TIMING, more important than the other 4 factors; idea, team, business model or funding. Too early means too much educational marketing, but too late means there is too much competition. On balance innovative companies are early rather than late. To the left of Geoffrey Moore’s Chasm.
Which is why our recent book IMPACT gives innovative technology companies the critical, but unrecognized, insights into the purchasing approach of early stage customers and what to do about it. Free download of abridged copy of IMPACT.
But it is also why I believe we struggled with Nimbus to scale really rapidly. The product had the right functionality – arguably too much – was stable and performed. It delivered a strong ROI. And for some customers it was what they had been looking for it for ever. But for many customers, competitors and analysts they simply didn’t get it. So marketing was thought leadership. Every sale was educational. Most projects needed consulting support. And all this costs money, so the software was unaffordable for many companies. And profits were almost non-existent as they were ploughed back into business development.
But now we think it will be different. TIMING. Significantly more people see the need. We understand the 20% of functionality that makes the most difference. We can deliver at a price point which allows everyone to use it. Which is why we are so excited about launching Q9ELEMENTS.
But are we still too early? We will find out after the Summer.
Below is Bill Gross’ assessment of 200 companies.