Case #1: Established Company with Proven Technology
Strategy idea: Introduce their great technology platform into K-12 and directly sell content to schools
Full Potential Associates assessment: The first and second responses were no. The platform is excellent and it addressed a real content need in a large and growing market. However, this client had no understanding of how to transact business in the K-12 marketplace. Since selling in K-12 was very different from how they operate, the client was in no position to take their idea into this market and start selling.
Guidance and recommendations: Full Potential Associates first helped them understand how the transactional business works in K-12 and how far they were from being able to go it alone in this market. Once they grasped the gap, Michael crafted a plan to build partnerships to exchange margin for market access.
Their “need” to make this content available for sale in K-12 classrooms remained in tact, while their “want” to be the seller quickly and naturally shifted to a different approach as they understood how the market worked.
Result: The client has entered the market through partnerships. Progress continues and the client is now directly running the project.
Challenge: An established company that makes material handling machines attempted to build a sophisticated software solution. They had already burned through a pile of cash. They were nowhere near done with the software and the product idea had been out in the market for over a year for all to see. The original firm that they hired to help had not produced anything that would lead them to a releasable product.
Full Potential Associates assessment: This was a classic case of smart people not making the right moves. The company had a great idea for a great product. However, they had no real idea on how to design and develop the software necessary to make the idea become a reality.
Guidance and recommendations: The original engagement was to help the client understand the state of the project and how to get to a valid release candidate. During the investigation, it became obvious that the existing path could have them spend every available dollar getting nowhere. We restarted the project. The original vendor was fired, the product definition was rewritten to include only essential functions and a new team was brought in to design, develop and deploy the system.
Result: From the restart, the project went from concept to concrete in a just a little over 5 months. BETA is underway and general release is already being scheduled.
Case 3: A Start-up Company Tries to do Business with College Students
Strategy idea: College students would only pay while they are actually reading a textbook rather than paying a fixed amount to just own it or rent it.
Full Potential Associates assessment: The interesting technology has the potential to reshape the economics of the college classroom. However, the client lacked an understanding of how content actually gets to the college students, which has nothing to do with the wants or needs of the college student. There is a complex ecosystem that brings classroom content from publisher to the end student.
Two problems existed. First, the student really only has time for what’s required or suggested/recommended on the course syllabus by the individual professor. Second, the cost, how to get it or what the actual impact on the students ‘needs and learning styles are just not considered in building the syllabus. The professor teaches a certain way with a certain set of resources.
Guidance and recommendations: Michael Johnson worked with the client to reshape their entire strategy from being a technology-driven and student-facing play to one that also benefits the publisher and professor. It included a series of tasks and demos to help them understand how the transaction really worked.
Result: After the client refocused, we were able to get 1:1 sit-down meetings with the all of the key higher education publishers and with the largest higher education institution in the country. Challenges continue, but the roadmap to being successful has been created..