Many businesses struggle to identify their key audience or how to work out which of their products should be discontinued before it starts to cost them dearly. To help business owners improve their critical analysis Fresh Business Thinking has collected a series of insights from members of The Supper Club who have gone through these processes and gone on to build rapid scaling business.
Shortly after Syd Nadim invented the SwipeStation, they suffered from an identity crisis and felt like a solution looking for a problem. This lack of clear purpose as a company hindered Syd for a long time, he said “[Our technology] had so many potential uses that prospective customers often became paralysed by the paradox of choice. We pitched a variety of uses in the hope that prospects would find something that appealed to their needs … but, they just got confused.” It was clear that Syd needed to rethink the way in which he presented the business to prospects.
When building a business, it is important to be aware of sunk-cost fallacy. When does being determined to make something work turn into throwing good money after bad? It’s difficult to know the answer, but according to Syd, “you must take away all previous investments and look at the opportunity in isolation and ask, if I was presented this as an investment today, would I be willing to invest in it? With SwipeStation, every time I asked myself that question, I was convinced that it was still worth pursuing.”
It was only after a series of pitches which didn’t go well that Syd recognised the need for a new strategy. So, he decided to take on a new CEO (fellow member of The Supper Club, Adam King) who changed their approach to become laser-focused on one use for one market – Click & Collect for Beer in stadiums. The response from prospects was immediate, and they quickly pivoted the business to where they are today, a mobile payment system designed to speed up the sale of food and drinks without mobile data in large venues. “Once we started solving the queue problem at Stadiums, overnight, we were suddenly able to get meetings and the way forward became clear. We set milestones all along the way that we managed to achieve and that helped keep us on track.”
Hindsight is a wonderful thing in business, but the biggest lesson to learn according to Syd is that “you need to be solving a real problem. I recently watched The Wolf of Wall Street again, and the “sell me this pen” scene is what it’s all about. If there isn’t demand for your product then create it. Looking back, it’s clear that SwipeStation was a solution looking for a problem; thankfully we have found it.”