I know this sounds cliched but I genuinely believe we have a superstar team working on our soon to be launched fintech startup PsyQuation.com what I find amazing is that with all the brains and decision making ability we have struggled to nail our business model.
We are developers of a behavioural & risk analytics app for traders. We have been in development for a year building on the back of decade+ domain experience. Along this journey we have had a number of monetization models in mind. In November we went to a major B2B trade show where we introduced ourselves and our product to the broker market. We spoke and then we did a lot of listening. We were a day into our “soft launch” and we had pivoted our business model from B2B to a B2C operation.
Then about 6 weeks ago a broker approached us with a B2B model in mind and suddenly we were back considering the B2B model convincing ourselves that this is the way to go as per our original plan.
Earlier this week I went to meet with some of our major strategic partners, and sell them on our recent pivot and see if they would still partner with us. Boom they and other strategic partners said don’t do it, we won’t partner with you if you pivot. Hmmm, quite an unexpected response.
So here is the deal, I am in business to make a profit. This is a very important point and is worth emphasizing. I fear many of the startups in the technology space have lost their way, profits are secondary or lower down the priority pile, to them it’s all about footprint. I am certainly a believer in growing footprint with initial losses but there needs to be a clear path towards profits. Being big can be addictive, as feeding an ego can have no limits.
There is something as important as profits maybe even more so, and that is cashflow. Without the ability to pay ones way there is no chance of ever picking up those potential profits that have been so clearly documented in theoretical budgets.
Coming back to the frustration of not being able to decide on our business model in our typical decisive manner; I think this is good. It has been incredibly humbling, and it has forced us to surrender to the fact that we don’t know everything. It is too easy to take an amazing product and see it fail because the business has focused on the wrong target market or sales process.
I have learned from the greatest in the technology space that you have to talk to your customers and see what they want. I have an innovator’s mindset where I often believe I have intuitively seen something in the “future” that the market is maybe not yet aware of so it’s incumbent on me to tell the market what they want. There can be great genius in these visions, but there is an element of arrogance that comes with this mindset that blinds one to the obvious messages the market is trying to tell you, sometimes at odds with your vision hence the cognitive dissonance blindness.
This article is not about facts, it’s not about being right, it’s about being ok with not always knowing the answer and it’s about focusing on making profits by listening to your market.