Successful entrepreneurs are usually working on three horizons at once:
- the now - their current products for the current market
- the next - products for emerging markets
- the nascent - thinking and working towards the far future
Short-sighted entrepreneurs spend all the time just on their present issues. Successful entrepreneurs carve out time to address the future as well by consciously allocating their time using a formula like this:
Trifocal Execution for new product development
Successful entrepreneurs are also looking beyond their existing products to develop their next products. These are not extensions of your existing products, making them better, faster, or (save us) adding still more features.
Rather, this is imagining completely new products, using your core competencies and brand to address new emerging spaces, not the existing market. So...
- what opportunities will digital cars, and smart watches, open up for mobile app developers?
- what possibilities will 3D printing unleash for device innovators?
- how can you take advantage of the ubiquitous augmented reality that will come with the widespread use of Google Glasses and the like?
Visionary entrepreneurs look even further out, going beyond responding to already emerging spaces, to actively shaping early nascent spaces to their advantage. At this stage, simple small nudges can have large long-term strategic effects:
- helping to set an emerging technical standard can align it to your company's strengths
- influencing the first legislation for regulating new technologies can place you in strong position
- building early relationships with very new small players can unlock immense synergies in the future
(If you want to see this at work, look at how Elon Musk is working to change the regulatory environment for the commercialisation of space).
Discipline is needed...
Simultaneously working with three focuses - now, next and nascent - does not happen without great discipline.
It takes real discipline to consciously allocate and protect the time for the next and the nascent, when the now is screaming for attention. But without this discipline you will have no future...
I hope this will help you to do lasting work...
In other news
Your brand is the heart of your venture - a strong brand endures and continues to draw customers even when products falter... come and learn how to build a great brand with me in this month's Masterclass sponsored by Microsoft BizSpark - next Wednesday 21st in Johannesburg and Wednesday 28th in Cape Town. More details here...
And if you are a software entrepreneur in the Cape who needs help developing your business you may be interested in attending the ten week "FLOW" programme sponsored by Microsoft BizSpark - more details here.
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all the best, Neil