Great post by Tom Evslin, who is an experience entrepreneur and writes at AlwaysOn. His post reminds me of my days at HeyAnita Korea. We were selling an innovation in obtaining information for consumers (i.e. surfing for information by voice through your phone) and accessing information for workers (i.e. improving call center efficiencies). It was cool and outwardly revolutionary, but not an easy sell on how it would make businesses work better. Combined with our initial misstep in trying to be everything to everyone, we started off slow and almost sunk the ship.
Now HeyAnita Korea has revenues of over $10 million per year, which isn't even close to our dreams and hockey stick financial projections but it is profitable with solid operations. I believe the U.S. entity generates around $20 million, but I'm not certain since I haven't communicated with them in a couple years.
It is almost impossible to sell something which customers can’t use unless they change the way they do business. That’s a hard lesson for an innovator to swallow because the best use of innovative products is to change the way business is done. The more you tell your prospect that your product is revolutionary, the more nervous he’ll get. Besides, it may not matter to him that what’s inside your product is revolutionary; he doesn’t want to buy a revolution. He wants something that’ll make his business work better. (full post)
UPDATE: Checked out HeyAnita's site and they received two recent awards, "Fierce 15" Award from FierceWireless, and "Top 10" company nationally in Deloitte's Rising Star program. Awesome! Congratulations to Sanjeev, Dan, Adesh, Rick and others.