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[Friday Learning] Speed or bleed

Sanjay Mehta
2nd Aug 2013
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This article helps to understand how to create business using Speed as Virtue & how to use Virtue of Speed in business. Learn the impact of Speed at various stages of their business lifecycle.

"Main udna chahta hoon, daudna chahta hoon, girna bhi chahta hoon ... bus rukna nahi chahta" are great movie lines apt for budding, young at heart entrepreneurs. Aligning to momentum keeps an entrepreneur alive & kicking. In other words, being slow means being useless. Speed for start-ups is about magnitude of growth velocity. We have been brought up with the good old quote saying “Slow & Steady wins the race”. In current Internet times this quote no longer holds true especially in technology world. The new saying is “Fast & Furious wins the race”. If your product or service can add prefix or suffix of “INSTANT” then there are bright chances of you being successful with your start-up idea.

There so many customer centric business models which are built on virtue of speed to deliver, execute & engage. For example quick service restaurants or kiosks serving food in stipulated time with speed. Even all the SaaS models that are successful only because they deliver required solution on demand instantly without prior provisioning. In medical field, time to diagnose a patient, to treat the patient is all about speed, speed & more speed. We are in a speed era where if you can visualize it, you can execute it. All entrepreneurs focus is how well they can solve the problem with their idea. But the most important feature of the solution now is; how quickly they can solve the problem.


speedorbleed

 

The whole of Google search business is built on speed. Assume if Google search engine gave quality & near perfect result on your query but will take few hours to deliver output, do think users will use the search. No it will not work. Users are ready to sacrifice perfection quality results in lieu of quick performance. Tons of money is invested in existing solutions to improve them significantly on the speed parameter. Think Dominos will offer the tastiest pizza of the world with quality dough, but customers need to order one day in advance. The Dominos shop will be shut, with little or no orders. Telecom service provider which puts customers on IVR driven SLOW call centre process will end up losing customer. It was a quick customer’s engagement opportunity lost by that telco. Customer in today’s time takes for granted that all promised services or product will be delivered; only marketing differentiator now remains is how quickly it is rendered.

There is a big importance for speed of execution within the start-up too. Hence let’s discuss how internal working speed impacts the growth velocity of start-ups. When at inception there are ideas & more ideas in minds of the entrepreneur & team. The founding team churns out bright, thrilling ideas. They are valuable to execute, tempting them to try these magnificent goals without ever finishing the first which are in momentum. The minute they break the current idea velocity, they miss that vision.

Every exponential success was built on continuous increase in speed of focused idea execution. Speed culture in inception stage brings a sense of urgency hence gives a continuous feeling of idea progress in the start-ups. Start-ups slow to enter in market, will fail to monetize their ideas & scale business. Slow start-ups offer a window of opportunity to rival companies enter in markets & help them grow to become leader in the segment.

In early stage of venture entrepreneurs, start meeting prospects & convert them to paying customers. We see that many entrepreneurs fear velocity of growth while in early stage. This illusionary fear makes them vulnerable to the culture of slow execution.  For example speed at which appropriate communications reaches out to maximum potential customer determines the growth. More the speed, it will bring out more leads & in turn customers. Nimbleness to respond, gives the start-ups an edge over established players.

Frequency of customer communication engagement is more important in early stage than the duration of communication. Start-ups which offer prospects quick trial, pilot & testing will seize the opportunity to grab that customer business. Everyone loves prompt & priority attention. On the other hand speed doesn’t matter if the client is dissatisfied with poor product or service. Client engagement strategy required speed and skill both tied together.

The start-up company having customers, repeat business & its growing; now it needs operational speed to deliver exceptional customer service. They now need to build the sales team quickly, go to the market & sign up partners & vendors whom they can work with. Operational efficiency can only be achieved by anticipating the speed at which customers will do repeat business. Empower team with processes to take quick decision on customer service front & delight them. Hire people who strongly believe that speed is life. Good turnaround speed to customer complaints is always welcome & appreciated.  Understand team’s individual perspective of speed in business & align them to the goals of company.

It is important to understand in this context that even those start-ups which put the virtue of speed, velocity above all virtues. They too had to admit exceptions by being watchful & pace the business as per market needs.

Finally to conclude, Relative Speed is a virtue of an entrepreneur; but Absolute Velocity in everything & anything is a disaster!!!

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