At Harbor Capital Group, we focus on the information gap between the idea and the revenues needed for long-term success. This gap includes researching, defining, creating, testing and verifying the information needed to transform an idea or solution into a viable, growing business. The specific situation of the startup or early-growth company will determine what needs to be done.
Following is a brief listing of the different parts of the "Connect" process that will be used to get the right product-market-investor fit and the company on its way to market dominance.
Step One: Understanding One's Mindset
Mindset is defined as the knowledge, ideas, biases, and beliefs one has accumulated throughout their life. It's your ideology and what you think is the status quo. It's important to briefly discuss these mindsets before we begin the research, testing, and validation process. You must have an open mind when it comes to new information. You can't merely guess your way through new information just relying on your belief system or mindset. You must be able to think differently to create new concepts from disparate, random dots.
Here are some of the topics we will discuss: Critical Thinking Skills, decision making, measuring intangibles, reducing uncertainty, behavioral economics, and more.
Step Two: Build An Evidence-Based Business Model
Steve Blank (entrepreneur and professor) said that a startup is an organization looking for revenues. We start this process by going through Steve Blank's and Alexander Osterwalder's analysis of the business model. We describe each part of the business model and outside effects on the model as the entrepreneur visualizes them. Then, do whatever additional research is required and make a list of fundamental assumptions that need to be verified.
Some of the main pieces of the business model that need to be looked at include product/service, value proposition, customers, channels, sales and customer development, Key resources required, partnerships, competition, trends affecting the business, revenue streams and costs.
Then, with a Minimally Viable Product, we will go to the market and find out if and why customers like or dislike the product and the value proposition. Make changes as required and go back to the market again and again if necessary to verify the changes, so you know you have a product or service that meets customer's needs or wants. It is also essential to talk with potential investors as well to find out early how they see major benefits, liabilities, and risks.
Then, after additional research on customers, its back into the market again to see if they will buy the product or service. Make any changes required. When satisfied that you have product-market fit, go back to the market and sell enough product/service that to validate the business model. Again, talk to investors and to get their view of product-market-investor fit.
Step Three: Scale Revenues And Production
At this point, the startup has a product and a pathway to sales. Now, it time to optimize revenues and production. The startup may need a new team at this point with experience in branding, positioning, marketing, and sales strategy (including inbound, outbound and direct sales), presentations, and scaling production in pace with sales.
The number of employees will grow significantly as well as organizational change. Consequently, the need for more management tools like Objective Key Reports and algorithms to replace manual tasks and to create data analytics will also grow as the need for more up-to-the-minute information will be critical.
Scaling revenues and production can be very expensive making additional funding necessary, but the company will be investment ready for this round of financing.