Friday, February 4, 2011

Moving the business into Year 2.

scan0009I suppose that if the entrepreneurial spark is, in part, founded on frustration then the opposed hope would be visible in the charter of the new business.

Stone Bridge Biomedical BV was clearly founded in that spirit: when I look at the company’s founding purpose, it included:

* Improving patient care through the design and development of innovative and elegant patient response systems.

* Employing processes that bridge the gap between ideas and proven concepts, establishing evidence for feasibility, safety, and value.

* Building global design and marketing partnerships between US and European developers and users.

* Being a knowledgeable and committed partner to physicians, scientists, students, and entrepreneurs who value and promote biomedical innovation.

It’s nice that frustration gave way to idealism in the end and  I’ve largely been able to hold to these goals.  The product / revenue side, however, has been more challenging.

A recent business finance seminar here in Cambridge recognized that there is an idealized funding ladder that most startups use as a guide:


In practice, of course, the cash sources rarely fit together so well, and most businesses find themselves hopping through the process from toehold to toehold:


In my case, this reality forced a greater emphasis on seeking consultancy income and raising capital than on development of new products. The opportunism also produced an unfortunate geographic sprawl.

I could rationalize it as spawning opportunities and finding partners, and I still believe that a good linkage with the right partner will push me years ahead of trying to build the whole system myself.

The problem is time and distraction, of course.  Partnerships don’t close quickly and consulting jobs eat time out of the day.  A determined effort to build the core business assets is really what is needed, otherwise the brand drifts and competition emerges (eg Isansys Lifecare).

No sense in replacing old frustrations with new ones…

Diagram credit to Martin Rigby

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