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growth

Aim, load, fire! 1024 341 IMPACT Accelerator

Aim, load, fire!

Aim, load, fire!

No matter what business you are in, you need clients to sell. Whether your activity focus on B2B, B2C or any other acronyms, you will have to plan and execute different strategies to attract new clients, retain those that you captured already or upgrade them.

From all those activities, bringing new clients, whether they are consumers or other business, is one of the most difficult challenges, as there is no one success formula. Certainly, there are different strategies that worked, have worked and will work with higher or lower results, but only if your potential targets already know your brand and/or service. 

Moreover, does it make sense to apply the same strategies for companies in different markets, different product stages or different industries? At first glance the common sense tells us that it doesn’t sound right. 

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To start with, there are different development stages (Products or Services) focusing and targeting different population segments. As Diffusion of Innovation Theory (DOI) defends innovation expands into a society according to 5 different population groups, as shown in the table above. Those population groups have different interests and needs. According to that theory it makes sense to segment your targets and update your communication strategies.

For instance, if we are a startup pursuing growth and looking to increase our user base or upgrade our service. 

  1. Where do we acquire those users? 
  2. Are we pursuing the right user at the right time? 

Being familiar with DOI is crucial not only for product manager but also to marketers. All stakeholders in any enterprise trying to engage with users, clients or partners should be familiar with DOI. This theory is basically just the concept of opportunity cost of consuming any service or product based on the development phase as well as market knowledge. 

Not all users of yours, whether they are already in your platform or not, develop trust and respect for your service, brand, company at the same speed. This is why it is so important to segment and classify all of those according to what their opportunity cost would be. Once you excel in doing it, marketing and customer success strategies will excel as well, because they will handle specific “timing needs”.

Timing, educational needs or trust will vary from industries, products or regions. However, within that framework your potential target or customer will always be divided in the population groups shown above. Meaning: before planning any strategy, we should think of the characteristics of every single group. That will help us to design and tailor better tactics, sorting out potential customers and indirectly tackle our need to acquire more users and grow the business.

Sort it out Partner – Customer needs & yours will be automatically solved.

Any Startup or any other enterprise should consider its market as following before launching or pushing any service or product.

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  • INNOVATORS – These are people who want to be the first to try the innovation. These people are willing to take risks, and therefore also willing to take the pain in early phases:
    1. Reward their willingness to take the pain, as this could bring them on board for longer, and enhance the word of mouth.
      a) Usually, lower CAC but high retention cost.
  • EARLY ADOPTERS – These are people who represent opinion leaders. They enjoy leadership roles and embrace change opportunities. They are already aware of the need to change and therefore very comfortable adopting new ideas:
    1. Those that kick the breakthrough off, is where the growth comes from.
      a) CAC on this population group increase and on top of that it needs leaders to back up. Therefore, strategies focusing on innovators are still needed.
  • EARLY MAJORITY – These people are rarely leaders, but they do adopt new ideas before the average person. That said, they typically need to see evidence that the innovation works before they are willing to adopt it: 
    1. Strategies such as Business cases generate really positive results.
      a) Mass market strategies and more operational strategies. CAC decrease, although taking a look at Churn Rate is crucial.
  • LATE MAJORITY – These people are skeptical of change and will only adopt an innovation after it has been tried by the majority: 
    1. Strategies to appeal to this population include information as well as branding.
      a) High cost generates low incremental results.
  • LAGGARDS – These people are bound by tradition and very conservative. They are very skeptical of change and are the hardest group to bring on board:
    1. Strategies to appeal to this population include statistics, fear appeals, and pressure from people in the other adopter groups.

With these points in mind, designing and thinking how to sort out customer needs and how to pay off their opportunity cost, would help you to get better impact on your marketing strategies. Moreover, having DOI in mind will let you figure out what your CAC or LTV  will look like.

Photo by Karine Germain on Unsplash

About the author

I started my career working in high demanding roles learning from clients, managers & C levels. I love the entrepreneurial and startup ecosystem, which shape and build the future innovation above and beyond. Having 15+ years of experience in different fields, what I bring to the table is a diverse and transversal point of view. My mind is always working to solve potential issues in particular situations and proposing different actionable alternatives.

All in all, I have developed a personal, deep understanding of the skills that any company needs to ensure that their teams deliver and build value following the company’s mission. I truly believe that why is more important that what.

I am driven by curiosity which can be demonstrated through my ventures in professional, volunteering and my personal life.

In IMPACT, we proud ourselves of having the best mentors for the startups that go through our programs.
Ángel Araujo is a Specialised & Follow-up mentor for at least 10 startups from the IMPACT Growth & IMPACT Connected Car acceleration programs.

His extensive experience goes from working in companies like Google and Booking.com, just to name a few and he is one of the founding partners of unlockmanagement.coangel@unlockmanagement.com

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xMotion – Disrupting the check engine light 1024 683 IMPACT Accelerator

xMotion – Disrupting the check engine light

xMotion - Disrupting the check engine light

Modern cars are more computerized than ever. Though with all the technology going into cars today, why isn’t there a better technology to monitor the fatigue points on a vehicle?

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With over 30yrs+ experience in the Automotive Industry, xMotion’s co-founders felt they could build a solution that would make vehicle maintenance more transparent and affordable. So in October of 2018, they sat down together and founded xMotion on a simple idea – to disrupt the check engine light.

While working on a prototype of the algorithm for brake pad prediction, they realized that in order to be successful, they would have to build a platform that was device agnostic, so they could work with any Tier 1 or OEM’s embedded firmware as well as aftermarket OBD dongles.

With drive-by-wire technology becoming more prevalent, the need to independently monitor vehicle components in real-time is increasingly important for safety reasons. Therefore xMotion identified over 200+ data points on a vehicle that provide embedded messages on the vehicle health. Coming from the industry, the founders knew that these data points could be organized in meaningful ways and shared with the car owner. Though unlike a computer, vehicle diagnostics aren’t typically shared with the driver. The challenge was to make it easy for the driver to understand their vehicle’s data. To solve this, xMotion created a Mobile App that provides real-time indicators of the vehicle health for brakes, tires, steering systems, and batteries.

Today there are over 5,000+ registered users on the platform. With ample opportunity in front of them, xMotion is currently focusing on rolling out their platform for roadside assistance operators both in Europe and the U.S. To keep aligned with the vision of xMotion – to disrupt the check engine light – the company is creating a ecosystem of garages that will provide discounts and cashback rewards for using the platform.

Things move fast in the startup world. In the years to come xMotion will build a full digital twin of the vehicle and provide car owners with additional access to their vehicle data. This technology, according to xMotion’s founders “Will be a gamechanger” for the automotive industry.

*We asked Thurston for a team picture, this is what he sent XD

Featured image by Free Photos from Pixabay

About the author

Thurston Adams is a Paris-based entrepreneur with a successful history in taking an automotive start-up company from idea to commercialization.  The foundation of xMotion is inspired by Thurston’s belief that “Modern cars are increasingly computerized” and that the connected car has many fatigue points that can be monitored and tracked in order to prevent vehicle accidents. His passion for emerging technology in the Automotive Industry has led him to create xMotion. Thus xMotion’s vision is to transform the automotive industry by creating a Vehicle Health Monitoring Platform for connected and self-driving cars.  According to Thurston, the mission of xMotion is to Disrupt the Check Engine Light.

In IMPACT, we believe that startups are the ones changing this world. Their story is content worth sharing.
xMotion is part of our IMPACT Connected Car Acceleration Program. Thurston Adams and Laurent Dunys, co-founders, working alongside with Mark Howell are indeed the ones disrupting the check engine light.

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Stop chasing the money! 1024 681 IMPACT Accelerator

Stop chasing the money!

Why do startups focus so much on investment? It's a mistake to put all energies on that

When asked about writing about the subject above, I make a reflection on whether there is an excessive tendency by startups to seek successive funding rounds appealing to the need to invest more and more.

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If we define a startup as an innovative company with a strong technological component, it is logical to think that the early stages are focused on the development of a product. For brevity, in this article, I’m going to use the word “product” to represent anything a startup is looking to launch—a product, service, offering, or brand. The essential characteristics of the product, and I mean those that will be crucial in its acceptance by the consumer, will not yet be proven and evident. And at some point in this phase, the go-to-market decision will have to be made.

Many times, what I have found is that entrepreneurs are so in love with their idea that the tasks of creating a company bore and bother them. In many cases they are scientists, technologists and maybe not businessmen or managers and their passion is in the continuous development of the product, looking for new derivatives, more features, … more investment in short. Comes to mind a quote from Reid Hoffman, founder at LinkedIn, “If you’re not embarrassed by the first version of your product, you’re launched too late”[1]. Agile methodologies, as lean startup is, help to optimize the process because collecting information from a minimum viable product (MVP) is less expensive than developing a product with more functions to prove.

“If you’re not embarrassed by the first version of your product, you’re launched too late”

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If at any time during this process (development or early stages of commercialization) there is not enough cash, a new financing process is launched. This is usually the time for business angels, since the company is still at a very early stage to go to the banking circuit. Crowdfunding platforms will be other financing alternatives available to startups.

Measuring what the financial effort should be to reach the market is crucial. Scaling up too fast at this time can become a mistake because investing in this aspect involves hiring not only a commercial team[2] but marketing expenses and others related. If we do not have properly adjusted delivery or service processes, they will not generate a satisfactory user experience, which can lead to permanent damage to the company that cannot be overcome in the future, if exists. It is important to grow, but it is also important to define well the processes and at the same time create a solid corporate culture. Two necessary visions of the company: outward and inward.

Another circumstance that, in my opinion, leads a startup to focus excessively on investment and growth is the mind of the entrepreneur. In his mind he is not building a company, in a humanistic sense, with long-term survival vision. He considers it more as a project, a concept with a greater temporality component; that is to say, it begins, it ends and then searches for another[3]. He liked the way, and having good luck (and with effort, of course) has generated him a good amount of money. He thinks what he has to do is to replicate it, and quickly. And the current climate that surrounds the startup ecosystem leads him to it. It is assumed that what makes a successful startup is the volume of funding rounds that are achieved “to face investment and growth plans.”

And in this sense, and now I am going to the last of this set of reflections that I do not want to be extended more than necessary, the CEO[4] should not forget the fact that growth is important, but it must be constantly monitoring the cash. Because there will come a time when cash problems cannot be solved with new capital, but sales (and collections, what is high sensitive) and profitability will have to be shown. At least positive gross margin. A success is to get an investor, but SUCCESS is to sell, that your idea becomes a marketable and accepted product. And, many times, a lot of energy is wasted in contacting and trying to convince VCs when efforts should be focused in “building a company”.

[1] https://learn.onemonth.com/if-youre-not-embarrassed-by-your-startup-you-launched-too-late/
[2] In a traditional understanding, and with a financial-accounting view, creating a commercial team is not an investment, but this is so often presented to justify the amounts at funding rounds.
[3] https://www.huffpost.com/entry/entrepreneurs-are-the-new_b_9481308?_guc_consent_skip=1567761947
[4] Now he is a real CEO, once he (or she) has incorporated external partners into the capital.

About the author

I wanted to be like Alan Parsons. But finance and strategy stole most of my professional brain (but not my soul 😉). I have worked as a CFO or managing director at several companies, and as a external consultant I have carried out dozens of projects aimed at business improvement. I have also invested and advised several startups. Others, even, were not born as such.
Ah!, I have never run a marathon, but just up to now. I mustn´t lose hope.
Always learning.

In IMPACT, we proud ourselves of having the best mentors for the startups that go through our programs.
Francisco Javier López Somoza is part of our top-tier mentor network and helps startups sharing his extensive knowledge in Corporate Finance, Banking, Business Development, Digital Transformation and Strategic Planning.

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