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Plan A or Plan B or ...

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About three years ago, I had the opportunity to speak with a venture capital analyst about a new software company his firm was funding. The company was in the analytics space and proposed a creative pricing model to compete with existing vendors. The “plan” was for the new company to convert just 5% of the existing market in the first years. New customers would turbo-charge the company into early profitability from which it could subsequently grow to gain additional market share. Life with this plan was good. Alas, the real world was not very accommodating, and the initial plan had to be scrapped. Now, three years later, the company is back at it with an additional round of funding – and a new plan.

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Comments (1)
I spent a number of years advising new and recent startups in another industry. I discovered this pattern for the majority:

Year 1: Have a plan. Secure first round funding. Execute plan. Year 2: Discover plan was not adequate. Replace assumptions with actual experience. Revise plan. Year 3: Seek new funding and execute revised plan.

Many fail in year 3 because they cannot secure additional funding. Of those that obtain additional funding, two-thirds survive to year 4.

Posted by Michael L | Thursday, July 08 2010 at 10:52AM ET
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