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After working with hi-tech entrepreneurs for several years now, one major failing keeps surfacing — too many have a fatal marketing “blind spot”.
These entrepreneurs thoroughly understand their technology. They may well be on their way to mastering the engineering and operational issues involved in delivering their product or service. Yet they persist — often until it is too late — in believing that the marketing issues are relatively simple — because everyone will surely love their new product or service as much as they do.
Only after that product or service is “ready” — or worse, after early sales attempts have bombed — will someone like me get a call. Of course, at that point most of the money’s gone. Sometimes huge amounts! There’s neither time nor money to do a competent marketing plan, let alone execute it — and the venture fails — needlessly.
In my experience, this marketing “blind spot” is the single most common cause of hi-tech startup failures — in fact, I’m starting to believe, more common than all others combined.
The most important piece of advice that I can give hi-tech entrepreneurs — and it’s probably not limited to hi-tech — is to get a marketing “reality check” early on — like at the beginning, before you even know that your technology will do what you’re hoping it will do.
Hire an independent objective professional to take a look at your intended market. Is it really there? Can it be penetrated (or developed) by a startup and what’s likely to be required to do so? This is just a “look”. It doesn’t have to be an expensive, complicated project. In fact, at this point, it shouldn’t be. But it’s absolutely certain that it will be much less “expensive” than if it’s done downstream.