Wednesday, May 09, 2007

BOOTSTRAPPING A NEW IDEA. Judette Coward-Puglisi

Selling our new software that measures the ROI on communication and PR campaigns has not been as hard as I expected. This week my company, Mango Media Caribbean tied up some loose sales ends with a public sector organisation and a multinational firm working in the oil and gas sector. We also expect a financial services company to sign up for a 12 month contract in the next four weeks. We made these crucial sales after three months of client prospecting and some long hours of doing our homework. In these months we looked at some of the best practices in some of the large corporations.

You see large companies that sell to other businesses have a massive advantage, an entire team that takes a pulse rate of the market sometimes by posing a singular question: "What do you want?" Once the need has been ascertained, another department takes over to make the deal happen.

At Mango Media Caribbean we are small but no less ambitious. Having determined what the corporate communications market was missing in Trinidad and Tobago, we spent months researching and analysing the new software acquisition. We developed a survey to make sure that we were not investing in something that no one wanted to buy. We took pains with the selection of our software developer and we decided who would be the clients most likely to buy into our new suite of services. Once we discovered who they were we then pre-sold them on the idea.

Why would a company be willing to buy into an idea? Our research indicated that while our clients- corporate communicators - were very interested in or PR measurement services, they didn't necessarily want to add this function to their already overtaxed list of things to do. If we could meet a need that no one else could, they were willing to fund the development of our new ROI communication services.

Be warned though, this is a very difficult strategy. It isn't easy to find scenarios where a big client has an unmet need that they a)realize is a need and b)haven't found a solution for. If you do find one, then you have the challenge of convincing the company that you have the expertise to develop and deliver a working product/service.. It helped that some of these clients were existing customers with whom we had a history and credibility.

Please don't get me wrong, if I am enjoying success with this it is only because I failed at it several times before. Like any entrepreneurial endeavor bootstrapping a business is incredibly hard work. But if you want a strategy that makes money from the beginning, this is one to look at.

The lesson here is that once you sell the idea/prototype, you have revenue that is somewhat guaranteed. Finding new customers thereafter becomes less painstaking.

Judette Coward Puglisi is the founder and managing director of a strategic comunications, brand development firm in Port of Spain, Trinidad. Visit her corporate website at www.mangomediacaribbean.com.

1 comment:

Sheena S. said...

I enjoy reading your posts. You are very forthcoming with advice and information. Admirable & appreciated. Keep 'em coming!

Best of luck in all your endeavours.