In 2017, I attended Phase 1 of the New Frontiers Programme which is run by Enterprise Ireland. The programme ran two nights a week over six weeks. There was no fee to attend. I would highly recommend this programme to anyone starting a new enterprise, whether your idea is just an idea or is a semi-developed product. What follows is a post which gives an outline of night 7 of the course. When fully published, there will be 11 posts documenting all nights of Phase 1. To see a list of published posts, click here.
In preparation for tonight’s class which was again facilitated by Roddy Feely, it was requested that we read an extract from What They Don’t Teach You At Harvard Business School. The lesson seemed to be the importance of knowing your customer and knowing your market. As an illustration of this point, the extract had a piece whereby the head of Rolex stated that he was not in the watch business, instead, he was in the luxury business.
This lead on to the point that a business should know why their customers bought their product, why potential customers didn’t buy their product and so on. Careful research and consideration should be placed in researching what people are willing to pay for your product/service. For all of this, Roddy stressed that the people and passion factor is very important when it comes to making deals.
During the talk, Roddy emphasised that once a customer has bought from you and is happy, you should allow, facilitate and encourage them to refer their friends. This hit home with me as from a survey that I carried out of users of BookingHawk.com last week, this was a requested feature.
As an aside, the question/discussion arose about the reasons that business that has gone through the new frontiers programme, did not succeed. The facilitators spoke about some of the most common reasons which included:
- Failure to carry out Market Analysis
- Failure to identify Routes To Market
- Team separation and non-alignment
As was previously touched on, the same product/service can be sold to different market segments with different messages. For example, Guinness market their product in Ireland differently to how they do so abroad.
We were then requested to carry out an exercise where we had to choose a market segment for our business, choose 5 things that we needed to know about our customer to identify them as a good fit and state the best way to reach them to garner this information. 24 hours after the class, my ideas around this subject have already changed as I have just gotten off the phone to prospects that did not convert.
After the break, Roddy addressed the challenges that may arise when a business is looking to move to markets outside of Ireland. There were some great examples included where a lack of research led to some high-profile mistakes. Overall, it was another valuable session which was well worth attending.
At the end of the session, some questions arose about the business case and phase two application. Some notes I created from this discussion now follow:
When creating a marketing plan, the duration of the plan execution (eg, this is my marketing plan for the next X months where ‘X’ is the duration) should tie in with where you are aiming. So for example, if after 6 months I hope to have generated 200 customers from 600 leads, my marketing plan should reflect this.
The business case should talk about market segments that I already have a foothold in.
If you know someone that would benefit from an online bookings system, please let me know about them. I will send you a two paragraph email for you to forward to your friend so it couldn’t be less hassle for you to help a couple of Irish businesses to grow!
Hi, my name is Niall Smith and I am the Founder and CEO of BookingHawk.com. I am an experienced software engineer and have worked with companies like AOL, Guidewire, Deloitte and SAP. I am a graduate of The New Frontiers entrepreneur development programme. I live in Dublin, Ireland with my wife. I love to meet other founders and learn from as many people as possible.