I'm a fan of the shows Dragon's Den and Shark Tank. They’re essentially the same show with slight differences. Business owners try to convince investors (dragons and sharks) to invest in their business. The episodes I like the best are the ones in which the business owners are ‘on their own bus’, or as the would-be investors say, they are creating their own market segment. These are the riskiest propositions for all involved, but I like these episodes. I can relate to them.
In the beginning everything was simple. The software was simple. The pricing was simple. And the offering was inexpensive. Somewhere along the line, the software became big enough, robust enough and expensive enough that everything changed. When this type of thing happens to companies that are on their own bus, the going gets interesting. Now you have to justify the value. You have to try and figure out what line item on a balance sheet you might fit into – when no such product exists. An interesting proposition. If you’re a bit lucky, stubborn as hell, selectively oblivious and surrounded by great people and have great clients, you can push forward and pave the way.
We’ve found that sometimes new practice adoption is driven by the owner. Sometimes it’s by sales. Or other times by marketing or admin and even by the Chief Technology Officer (yes, this has happened). You learn it's not the position that matters, but the particular type of person. The type that wants transparency or efficiency or data to make better decisions or less mistakes or a better customer experience. These types of people have the vision, confidence and influence to affect change.
Now we’re traveling to new countries and meeting with leading companies and thought leaders—and I can confidently say we are still on our own bus.
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