uBeam – Like Many Other Tech Start Ups, Miss The Point
With all the talk about disruptive technologies sometimes the core business gets lost in the hype of an organization’s product. Getting back to basics is what is needed for many companies to get their startups back on track. The missing concept is foundational, to understand the organization’s core business model. Many technology ventures, including uBeam missed this point completely.
First, let’s understand the existence of a product. A product begins with a very specific solution to someone’s needs. The product itself needs to meet the customer’s expectation or it will not be purchased. Imagine, would you ever buy a product that has no application for you or someone’s life? I don’t think so. A product is worthless unless it can meet the needs of a customer’s expectation and is profitably delivered.
Second, the core business model. To understand the core, you must first understand the reason for any business. It is simple. It is not a technology, brand or person; basically a business is to serve customers profitably. The main way a business serves is with its developed products and services that meets the needs of their customers. A good way to think about the relationship is that a business enables products and services for its customers profitably. Enablement is to activity build, market and deliver a product for an organization’s customers. A product, actually gives definition and direction for a business in the early stages of existence but it is the core business model that will eventually maintain viability for all the organization’s subsequent products.
When the engineers of uBeam said they got ahead of themselves they were exactly right. This aspect is most important because it is the core business model (serving customers profitably) that defines a successful business not the product in total. It is very difficult to provide an operation for a product that does both serve customers with their needs and maintain profitable performance. This is a constant battle for most companies and is why organizations focus on business improvement performance so intensely. The balance between meeting customer needs and profitable performance will both make a product successful and an organization viable.
uBeam got too far in front of its sustainability and did not have a viable product. Every technology startup needs to understand clearly their core business model - serving customers profitably. If you don’t fully understand the core, you will not follow a correct path for business priorities, goals, projects and new products. Keep focused on serving customers profitably and your organization’s core business model. You will then gain reality based business for your organization and will be successful with your initiatives. Most of all avoid, like many, uBeam missing the point completely and wasting a great opportunity.
Core Business Model concepts from the book “Do The Right Thing In Business Improvement Including Process and Technology” by David A. Duryea.