Guest blog by Hans Downer CEO of ActivDox
We all know the problems associated with moving from a “big company” to a “small company” where none of the comforts of a large marketing department, a large legal staff, and a large IT staff are available. That transition is indeed very difficult and normally takes several months. However, what is not generally recognized is the importance of having large company experience when trying to sell products and solutions while employed by a startup company.
There are lots and lots of entrepreneurs in today’s world and almost all of them have brilliant technology solutions. The key to success in a startup is threefold. First, the product must work. Second, you have to find enough funding to sustain the company through the development and commercialization of the product. Third, you have to find customers who will actually pay for the product. In general the third one is the toughest.
It is tough to understand the problems and interactions within large companies if you have never worked in a large company. Once you have experience working in a large company, you recognize that it isn’t necessarily the product capabilities that win an order. You need to understand the motivation of your target customer and you need to understand how that motivation fits within the overall objectives of the corporation and the motivations of the other members of the team deciding whether or not to purchase your product. You can have the best product in the world that is a custom fit for your key contact, but if that key contact has alienated other people in the group or if that person’s objectives don’t line up with the other team members objectives, you’re not going to make the sale. That is often very hard to comprehend and seems illogical from a startup perspective. However, if you have large company experience, you recognize that happens more often than you would care to admit.
Here’s a good example. Small companies use the Google Docs solutions to provide low cost access to “Microsoft Office like” tools. The small company experience shows all the beneficial things that can be done with the tool including collaborative authoring. Large companies, in general, are concerned about the security aspects of Google Docs and very few large companies use Google Docs for collaboration – they use an Enterprise Content Management System (ECM). Those ECM’s are quite expensive to implement properly and the individual user licenses are also quite expensive. In some instances, corporations only license a limited number of users and due to the security provided by the ECM Access Control Lists, it can be difficult to share documents outside of an enterprise or workgroup. Large companies then encounter a significant issue with document distribution and consumption among the large number of people who need access to the most recent copy of a document. To get around that, email is often used to circulate PDF’s or PDF’s are put onto web sites.
This leads to two key questions for the person reading the document. First, do I have the most current copy of the document?
Second, if I have the most recent copy of the document, what are the changes in that document since the last time that I read it?
In addition, I’d like to put comments on the document for my own personal use or to share among the other people reading the document – how do I do that?
For an innovative solution that addresses those issues, please see our web site at www.activdox.com or call at 613-799-3440.
Hans Downer is President and CEO of ActivDox of Ottawa, The company moved to Ottawa from Waterloo and he was named as one of the 100 Rising Stars for Global Entrepreneurship Week Ottawa.