When creating a start-up culture, it’s important have ideas to sell, as well as ideas to develop new products.
Speaking to entrepreneurs, researchers and students recently at Texas Tech University, Sherwin Greenblatt, former president and long-time employee (now retired) of the Bose Corporation, outlined how to take an idea and create a successful business out it. His presentation was part of the university’s “Discoveries to Impact Week,” focusing on research translation.
In the innovation world, the translation of ideas from lab to reality – often referred to as the “death valley” – is the toughest step to make. Ideas may be innovative and good. But unless they are developed into a properly-priced product with a good marketing strategy, it’s often a tough sell.
“We need ideas to sell, as we need ideas to develop products,” stated Greenblatt. He highlighted the need for proper planning from the very beginning for entrepreneurs who want to develop an idea for a commercial product or license it from a research laboratory.
Greenblatt’s talk provided a few tips that may be useful for any business:
- Know the purpose of any venture, which will lead to the founding principle. Bose started with a simple, but real, purpose – to provide high quality acoustics that people can enjoy. Today, the company has over $4 billion in sales and 10,000 employees.
- Attract proper talent with the right expertise, who also like what they do.
- Balance short- and long-term goals. While Bose was improving their acoustic products, they also sold power conversion devices using semiconductors. For start-ups, it is not possible to have all the necessary expertise, so getting someone else to do some jobs is always important.
- Have a good plan and an understanding of the current market needs. In other words, a product needs to be practical in order to be readily accepted by consumers.