When starting a business or brining a new product to the market, one of the first and most important steps the entrepreneurs must figure out is what approach to take in order to succeed. It seems now easier than ever before to find “experts” on social media offering guidance, white papers, and seminars on what success is and how to become a successful entrepreneur. Most of these experts follow the common wisdom or path that appears to be the right way. However, the common path often leads straight to disaster (Blank 2020).
In order to understand which approach is appropriate for the business, we must identify what type of business we are trying to run. According to Steven Blank, there are four types of startups:
- A company entering an existing market
- A company creating an entirely new market
- Re-segmenting an existing market as a low entry entrant
- Re-segmenting an existing market as a niche player.
Regardless of the type, the most important aspect for any business remains finding customers who have a need to buy the products or services. Equally important is the process of learning about customers and their problems, identify the problems, develop a product that solves that problem, and have customers verifying you have the right solution by buying from you. This process is a part of customer development model. One of the main characteristics of customer development model is the focus on discovery and research rather than sales and marketing (Blank 2020). This could be easier said than done as most entrepreneurs want to get into the market and start selling as much as they can to grab the biggest piece of market share as possible. History proves, time and time again that this approach is flawed and inefficient and can turn the company upside down quick.
In terms of Sam’s Medical Lab expansion, we could fit into a couple of different categories listed above depending on the business goal we are going after. We are familiar with the market and have existed in the market for over a decade. However, the other aspects of expansion are new to us and to the market such as mobile phlebotomy and same day testing. The question that remains is the customer buy in; can we find enough customers who value this service and are willing to switch. More on that in the following articles.
Blank, Steven G. The Four Steps to the Epiphany: Successful Strategies for Products That Win. John Wiley & Sons, Inc., 2020, Amazon Kindle.