Sell First

Murli Thirumale
Murli Thirumale
Ocarina Networks
The economy is regaining pace and growth; there are untapped opportunities in the market. Entrepreneurs are excited and ready to jump into the game. Investors are hungry for that next big thing to rock the Valley.

But entrepreneurs are finding it increasingly difficult to woo investors or potential customers. They often wonder, “Did I not enter the market at the right time?” Here’s Sell, Design, Build and Support (SDBS) approach to Business Creation.

Spotting the Right Opportunity
Spotting the right business opportunity at the right time is critical for entrepreneurs. Simple as it sounds, finding the right opportunity, getting the right people and executing the right fundamentals of growing a business, are all easier said than done.

While opportunities lie within the industry’s evolutionary S-curve (market size versus time), the phase at which you enter the market is the key. Traditionally, entrepreneurs enter a new market either in the early part or in the mature part of the industry.

With an early entry, there are two advantages- market competition may not be high and it is always easy to find a few customers willing to innovate with your product. But one has to understand that if one starts too early, there might not be a market and you could end up wasting a lot of money.

At the other extreme, in the maturity phase, you may not be able to change customer habits or unseat the incumbent, as it is always a challenge to change existing dynamics. In short, an entrepreneur has to identify the right phase of market entry to back up intuition and belief in their idea.

Market Validation
The traditional approach to business creation, recognized and practiced by entrepreneurs and especially engineers, is the engineering path flow of Designing, Building and Selling. DBS is considered a proven approach and has been popular for many years.

But, it has shortcomings. When you design, build and sell – with “sell” at the end; you may rationalize the fact that customers want your product and work on validation really late in the process. Needless to say, realizing there are no buyers after you’ve gone to market is a sure-fire way to send your great idea to an early grave.

Approaching experts for early feedback on - whether the idea is really appropriate and workable helps bring clarity to the process. Once a market is identified, it is important to get customer validation on the usefulness of the proposed idea or solution. This is one way of judging if the timing for your idea is right. It is often easier to get funding from VCs but not so easy to receive customer validation.
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Reader's comments(6)
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Posted by:green kyleisett andeson - 03 Jan, 2012
2: SDBS sounds like new name for a concept already practiced in some sectors. In real estate, the product is often offered and sold even before the first brick is laid. Any business that just promises to deliver even before showing the product or service can be said to practice SDBS. All IPOs are SDBS. Applying this philosophy to absolutely new products or services, specially in IT, is the essence of Mr Thirumale's case and I thank him for excellent adapatation of an existing concept.
Posted by:Ketan Sanghvi - 28 Aug, 2009
3: A great concept sir..
Posted by:ankit kumar - 16 Jul, 2009
4: Sameer read the INC magazine of USA.
Posted by:Sanjay Doshi - 03 Jul, 2009
5: Sir, I have completed my B.E in computer
science few days ago and have a very great
idea of a business and I'm very optimistic
in terms of the success of that business
very rapidly.
But the problem is the capital required for
that and I want a VC to fund this project
and in this regard, i have some questions
following below:
1. How can i trust a VC that after seeing my
business plan, he won't invest in that
project on his own and reject my proposal
because for him, I have nothing but a great
idea and great enthusiam to be successful in

2. I have seen many articles saying about
the contents of the good business plan but
no one has the detailed description of the
contents of the business plan. So, how can I
get the detailed list of the contents of a
business plan.

3. How to find which VC would be my true
business partner and on which parameters I
should choose them. Can you provide me some
references of VCs interested in investing
initially 1-2 crore in a business in IT

4. Since I am not from a business family and
havn't done MBA, Would it be better to
enter in business field right now or to
first do MBA and then get some experience in
any company and then start my own company. I
don't want to wait for 5-6 years because I
have threat in my mind that if someone would
start that kind of business before me, then
I will loose the competitive edge i would
get otherwise.
Posted by:Sameer Goel - 25 Jun, 2009
6: a great concept... of SDBS
Posted by:Vipul Bhaskar - 23 Jun, 2009

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