As a new entrepreneur with limited experience and a myriad of tasks to complete, some mission critical and some mundane, don’t you have enough to worry about just developing your product, making sure it performs well and getting it into the hands or hard drives of your customers without also having to worry about being first to market?
Creating a new product, launching a new company, attracting, hiring and training a new management team, then doing the same for your workforce, molding your company’s culture, developing your company’s policies and procedures, attracting financial supporters, negotiating suitable terms for investment, relying on untested suppliers whether they be product related such as subcontractors or service related such as legal, accounting and advertising & promotion and what about all those other tasks and decisions you have to worry about such as finding the right office location, buying furniture and equipment and hoping it all arrives on time so your new employees have a place to sit down and actually do some work.
And If That Weren’t Enough… What About All Those Factors That Are Totally Out Of Your Control
Consumer attitudes, market trends, product obsolescence, raw material costs and availability, competitive forces, government regulations, unionization, labor strikes or shortages, natural disasters, changes in environmental and employee regulations, personality problems among your staff and unexpected sickness or death… and all these things could also affect the companies and sources you are dependent upon as well.
If you are truly developing a new product, you have no history to study, either yours or your competitors, and you have no knowledge as to how your consumers or customers will respond to your product, its features, benefits, packaging and price compared to your competitors and even if everything went as expected, don’t think for a nanosecond, that your competitors will not figure out a way to impose counter measures. Have you developed a playbook for that? No? Well you’re not alone. That’s why most businesses are slow to respond to change… and why most investors expect most businesses to fail because they failed to plan for the unexpected.
Maybe it’s time to take a breath, reevaluate all your strengths and weaknesses and most important your assumptions about the market and your competitors.
After All, With All These New Forces Coming Together… What Could Possibly Go Wrong?
Now is the time to develop your crisis team. Build a “war room” and have all your key people submit a list of the ten most horrible things that could go awry and then develop a scenario to counter them. Be sure to assess their potential for doing harm to your organization and the likelihood the situation could occur.
This may take some time, it may force you to be second to market but… like taking the time to buckle your seatbelt, it just might save your life when you least expect it’s being threatened.
To me, instead of rushing in because you believe there’s a First Mover Advantage, I would postulate that it would be more accurate to state that being first to market is really a… First Mover Disadvantage.