7 commercialisation principles

If you’re looking to take a product or service to market, you’ll need to ensure all business fundamentals are covered. These 7 commercialisation principles will help you on your way.

1. Finding product-market fit

This is essential, and aim to achieve this with your MVP (minimum viable product). Many startups jump straight to the ‘solution’, but begin with really understanding the problem you are trying to solve.

2. Legal and business structure 

This includes company formation, ownership structure and any IP. There are some important steps to take, including:

3. Financials

Consider your Capital structure (debt/equity), and debt funding (such as a loan from bank) vs. equity funding (such as investors getting a share in your company). Look at your revenue model (eg a recurring monthly SaaS model) and ensure you have both cashflow and something of a cash runway.

Beware of ROI and the sunk cost fallacy, where the more you invest (time, energy and money) the more attached you are!

4. Growth engine: marketing

If you have a product or service offering then creative, low cost digital marketing tactics (including content marketing, SEO, social media and influencer marketing) can work well to build your sales funnel.

5. Growth engine: sales

  • Sales strategy: Selling B2B is very different to selling B2C. Set your strategy to suit.
  • CRM: Choose a Client Relationship Management System to help you build your sales pipeline/ funnel.
  • Channel to market: Consider strategic partnerships or resellers (Xero did this well, working with Accountants to reach SMEs)
  • CAC – Work out the cost of your Customer Acquisition – are you offering a low cost self-service SaaS offering, or high touch sales?
  • CX – turn your customers into your champions with a seamless customer experience.

6. People/ team

If you’re looking for a co-founder or to scale up, consider team dynamics including diversity and other strengths. Keep people excited: as Peter Drucker said, “Culture eats strategy for breakfast.” Look at your advisory and governance options too.

7. Investment

There are many options for securing investment if this is the right path for your company. Ensure legal documentation and your business plan are in order. Investors look for:

  • Passionate and dedicated founders
  • Compelling business case
  • IP secured
  • Employment agreements in place with a clean Cap table
  • Regulatory approvals in place

If you’re pitching to an Angel Group or VC then a confident, polished pitch will support your presentation. For more information, including templates, check out the links below.

Resources: www.angelassociation.co.nz/resources

Blog posts: www.catalist.co.nz/info/blog