A Lesson for Building Your New Business Opportunity Case
Last week, I received feedback from the senior R&D executive at a company that had been considering an innovation opportunity I had referred to them in behalf of a would-be entrepreneur. It seemed to us like a pretty strong strategic fit for the would-be partner. The innovation was a proprietary medical device devised by a physician. We had shared some pretty encouraging and compelling evidence of (superior) efficacy in treating a common disorder. Anecdotally, I had received pretty consistent and enthusiastic feedback on the concept from people in the consumer target group. We awaited learning of their interest.
I wasn't overly surprised to learn that their Marketing and Business Development VPs decided to decline the opportunity. Their feedback essentially consisted of: we think you have a clever and novel invention, but we suspect that consumers are sufficiently satisfied with currently available solutions.Therefore, we don't feel it merits our further consideration.
Disappointing? Yes. Surprising? In hindsight, not at all. Any new opportunity "pitch" must consist of 3 essential elements: (1) an unmet consumer need, (2) a distinctive and superior solution versus existing alternatives, and (3) compelling evidence that the claimed benefitswill be experienced by users. The inventor had done a pretty good job of addressing points 2&3. As a physician, the inventor was convinced of the need based on interactions with patients. Unfortunately, she lacked funds to conduct formal consumer research to confirm her anecdotal evidence. Given the consistency of her patient feedback, she really didn't view it as necessary, either. Unfortunately, the would-be business customers were unconvinced of the consumer need. As a result, the proposition was a non-starter.
If we had started our pitch by first establishing a compelling, quantitatively based consumer need, we might have been able to get the conversation going. Instead, we were unable to generate enthusiasm for the business opportunity it represented. In making one's case for any new opportunity, remember to not take lightly any one of the "three legs of the stool", described above. With all of them in place, the opportunity stands a much better chance of being seriously considered. Sometimes, building 3 strong legs requires making financial investments that realistically can't be avoided if one has serious entrepreneurial ambitions. Strong medicine for the doctor, in this case.
bfs innovations, Inc. | 6390 N. Meadow Glen Dr. | Westerville, Ohio | OH | 43082