What are the principles of a successful business strategy?

Take-aways from a talk in the Trust Center on 6/24/16

  1. Three principles of entrepreneurial strategy


  • Principle #1: Choice matters


    • Many times there are two paths or more and both are equally viable.
    • The choices that you make will dictate your relationship with future customers, VCs


  • Principle #2: These choices matter:
    • Choose your customers - diffusion and the market S-curve:


      • It takes time for new products to get adopted but when they do, adoption expands exponentially until they reach saturation. Almost all the well known technologies follow this curve.
      • This S shaped curve correlates with the different types of customers (some are early adopters, some are laggers..)



    • Choose your technology - balancing exploration with exploitation


      • It is important to identify new disruptive technologies and “jump on the new S curve”.
      • This is a continuous process that needs to be constantly managed. You need to spend enough time to explore the different paths. But you shouldn’t take too long because others will take the market before you.


    • Choose your identity


      • Team, culture and resources define your identity and you should stay true to it.


    • Choose your competition


      • Control vs. execution: How are you going to protect your idea from imitation but also get fast to market?
      • Collaboration vs. Competition - Should I compete? And if so, with whom?  



  • Principle #3: These choices matters together
    • All these choices are intercorrelated and will define your strategy, your future customers, investors, brand image..
  • Choosing your entrepreneurial strategy - your choices:
  • Intellectual property - collaboration & control
  • Architecture - competition & control
  • Value chain - collaboration & execution
  • Disruption - competition & execution



2.  Proposed team exercise:

  1. Write what you think your startup’s core idea is.
  2. Reflect: what are you most proud of today? What is working? What should we work on?
  3. Think about the future : if you were to look back years from now - what would you say is the value you created? How did your choices of made your hypothesis true
  4. Do this exercise in an iterative manner.
  5. Compare the different outcomes. How are these strategies different from each other? What do we have to choose between and what are the tradeoffs?
  6. Propose and experiment - to decide how to choose among two alternatives.
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