Small Business

Countdown to Product Launch (Part II)


You don't need an MBA to start a business, but you do need to get a few things right if you want to succeed. Whether you're opening a restaurant, starting a tech venture, or producing a Hollywood film, the fundamentals are the same. You need a product that meets market needs, a business model that works, a management team that can execute with precision, and lots of luck.

In my last article, I talked about building a market-ready product (see BW Online, 5/4/06, "Countdown to Product Launch"). The second article of my four-part series on how to plan for a successful launch focuses on preparing a business model. What you need to consider at every step of the way is exactly how you're going to generate long-term revenue and profits. Once you build the right product, what's your strategy and process for building a sustainable business? Your business model needs to clearly answer those questions.

REAL PROFITS. "Business model" is a hot buzzword these days with business publications and venture capitalists. But if you don't quite know what the term means, you're not alone. North Carolina State University professor of technology management Michael Rappa says business models are one of the most widely discussed and least understood concepts of the business world and have "largely escaped careful study." Rappa even built a Web site that he says is one of the few comprehensive online resources available on business models.

Business Model Tip Sheet


Toyota's Hydrogen Man
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