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The Infant New Venture

Businesses are not paid to reform customers.

Above all, the people who are running a new venture need to spend time outside: in the marketplace, with customers, and with their own sales force, looking and listening. The new venture needs to build in systematic practices to remind itself that a “product” or a “service” is defined by the customer, not by the producer. It needs to work continuously on challenging itself in respect to the utility and value that its products or services contribute to customers. The greatest danger for the new venture is to “know better” than the customer what the product or service is or should be, how it should be bought, and what it should be used for. Above all, the new venture needs willingness to see the unexpected success as an opportunity rather than as an affront to its expertise. And it needs to accept that elementary axiom of marketing: Businesses are not paid to reform customers. They are paid to satisfy customers. Lack of market focus is typically a disease of the “neonatal,” the infant new venture. It is the most serious affliction of the new venture in its early stages—and one that can permanently stunt even those that survive.

ACTION POINT: See the unexpected success of a new venture as an opportunity not as a problem.

Innovation and Entrepreneurship

* Source: The Daily Drucker by Peter F. Drucker

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