(Established) Businesses are all about 3 fundamental things:
- Production (be it building hardware, software or whatever),
- Operations (i.e. administration, human resources, management) and
- Marketing and Sales
Money is made in ONLY step 3 (Marketing and Sales). Operations is ONLY about moving (effectively and efficiently) from Stage 1 (production) to Stage 3 (Marketing and sales).
Start-ups are also quite similar but different in ONE key aspect from established businesses:
- Operations, and
- Learning & Discovery (of customers & market)
The customers are unknown in start-ups and as Steve Blank in “The Four Steps to the Epiphany” asserts the emphasis for start-ups in early phases MUST be on Learning & Discovery (of your market, your customers, what problems they TRULY value and so on).
Only after a start-up has truly figured this one out, does it transit to Marketing and Sales.
Question: how to keep competitiveness besides a core patentable technology?
- Management team (I keep coming back to this one)
- Access to big customers
- Access to certain distribution channels
- Corporate culture and company’s vision are most difficult to replicate