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insight

>> Stuttgart 27.04.2016

A couple of years ago, I met a guy called Simon over a friend of mine in a Stuttgarter beer garden. My first company was 3 years old and we were doing very well and hiring our first staff. 

We got talking about our jobs and visions and I noticed that Simon was growing increasingly nervous while he told me about his situation, so I invited him to come in late the following day. He arrived the next evening in his engineering gear, heavy black industrial shoes with toe caps, electrician trousers and a white sweater bearing his company name.  He had created a special device with which he wanted to help saving the waste of water for both private and commercial customers by using a special process which he believed could save up to 70% of water usage in certain high water use circumstances such as showering.

He told me that his company was 2 years old, there was now a fully mature version of a water system for hotels on the market worldwide but it looked as if his investor was having serious doubts as only two small projects had been won in the middle east but despite the USPs of the project, the investor was showing signs that he was wanting to pull out of the project.

When we delved more deeply into the reasons why it became significantly clearer that there had been a number of confusions at both ends. The engineer was of the opinion that the investor and his case manager were going to push the product over their networks, however the investor was expecting that the engineer should be responsible for the product development and the pushing of the product worldwide.

There was evidently no sales strategy or processes to support a successful sales process.  The company had been to several exhibitions worldwide but the leads were not being acted upon.  In addition to this the individual responsible for winning the small projects was made to leave the company for cost cutting measures.

The investor had little understanding of product lifecycle management and quality issues in product development, respectively that product development must go through several loops before a product is mature enough for series development.

The combination of this incorrect understanding and the mix up of the expectations between the stakeholders and the non-existence of any processes to support successful sales had put the project into jeopardy from the outset.

We sat down with Simon and put together a strategy for him, which he presented to his investor.  Fortunately, the investor understood the issues and agreed to invest more money.  The sales and product support process has been implemented and Simon recently called me telling me that his company has sold several solutions worldwide in the meantime.  This was a major reason for founding the Fordings company to help start-ups and investors to ensure that their products and investments have a better chance of being successful.

We understand the plight of investors, the money is not infinite and of course it is important that the investment works. However, we believe that fewer companies and investments would fail if investors would consider a working sales solution and not necessarily leave this to the devices of the stakeholders they are investing in, as in many cases these stakeholders are best to be left to concentrate on the product development.

Sales is a full time job and this is often overlooked by investors.  The outcome of the story was positive. We were able to help the company define its processes, find the respective partners, create a documentation plan for sales and development, define the responsibilities and if all goes well we look forward to being part of the sales process when the product launch takes place.

This is where we offer investors simple solutions on how to launching products successfully and building up the processes needed to do this. We even take a certain amount of risk on board ourselves insofar that a percentage of our services are paid for once a certain turnover has been achieved.

Fordings gets very excited about start-ups with good ideas and also respects the bravery shown by many angel investors.  Our aim is to help Angel Investors with their difficult projects getting a strategy in place that will effectively seal the success of the start-ups that they believe in.

In 2 weeks we will be exhibiting at the Business Show in London ExCel and look forward to speaking to Angel investors about their experiences.

Maybe you are a start-up or an investor and find yourself in a similar situation, you can gladly reach us and we gladly give you our time to discuss your visions, your worries and help you create a strategy for your product.

Andrew Lawrence

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