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Articles filed in: Innovation

Why Startups Fail

Take a look at this list of reasons startup founders give for failing. These are just some of them. The cost of customer acquisition, ahead of its time, wrong positioning, not enough income, no problem solution fit, wrong target market, low customer adoption, too early, not enough demand, no real audience and too much ego. What all 134 reasons point to is that the companies didn’t make something enough people wanted.

It’s easy to fall in love with our ideas. The trick is to take our rose-tinted spectacles off for long enough to understand exactly why, in a world of infinite choices people will notice, care, choose and pay us for them. Don’t tell us what you made. Tell us why it’s going to matter.

Image by Reinis Traidas.

The 12-Word Strategic Plan

Have you ever found it difficult to plan, communicate or execute on a project, idea or strategy?
This 12-word framework will help you to get clear on where you’re headed and why—enabling you to lead yourself or your team and achieve your objectives.
It works for projects big and small, both personal and professional.

Use this version of Dollar Shave Club’s strategic plan that I created using the framework as a guide.

Dollar Shave Club’s 12-Word Strategic Plan*

Become the largest online brand for personal care consumer packaged goods.

Total domination of the global subscription razor market.
Create a world-class lifestyle brand.
Capture 15% of the U.S. razor market from incumbent brands within three years.

Potential Obstacles
Customer aquisition.
Beard boom.
Supply chain.
Not enough funding to scale.
Quality control.
Scaling fast enough to keep up with demand.

Action Steps
Online launch of direct to the consumer razor brand.
Subscription model.
Quality product and transparent pricing married with convenience.
Data collection.
Direct relationship with the consumer.
Referral reward program.
Product range expansion.
Expansion into key international territories.
Strategic partnerships.
Seek investors.

*[For illustration purposes—not from the company. More on the Dollar Shave Club success story.]

What’s the plan for your next project?
Download the 12-Word Strategic Plan.

Image by Luca Rosatto.

From Insights To Advantages

Chip Wilson discovered that women liked to look great when they exercised and feel comfortable when they didn’t. Lululemon pioneered the activewear trend way back in 1998—a market that is predicted to grow to $178 billion by 2019.

Dave Gilboa worked out that we hate feeling ripped off and paying as much for glasses as for an iPhone. Warby Parker cut out the middleman and married great design with fair prices.

Sarah Regan realised that people didn’t always want to send a dozen roses. The Little Flowers business has blossomed, delivering small bunches of seasonal, local flowers for $30.

Travis Kalanick figured out that we hate waiting and uncertainty. The Uber app added killer features that fulfilled the wants and needs the taxi industry hadn’t addressed.

Steve Jobs understood that how it feels matters just as much as how it works. That single insight drove everything that Apple did, making it the most beloved brand and most valuable company in the world.

Our best ideas are born from unmet needs. The insights we gather today about what people want and how it could exist are the competitive advantages of tomorrow.

Image by Ross G. Strachan.