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  • Writer's pictureAndy Hamer

What has comedy and product commercialization got in common? Timing!

Today's business world is ever-changing and unpredictable, with new challenges and obstacles emerging at every turn. While success is the ultimate goal, our failures often shape us and help us grow as individuals and as businesses. Jack Welch once said, "success teaches us nothing; only failure teaches."

One area where timing is crucial is product commercialisation. A business proposition may be clear and compelling, but if the timing is wrong, it can be difficult to achieve success. For example, I was sales and marketing director for software on-chip solutions (Soc) in the audio market. While our proposition was clear and had the potential to save manufacturers a significant amount of money, three things conspired to kill our business just as we launched our Go to Market attack.

Firstly, our disruptive technology woke up the incumbent component suppliers, who fought back with their own solutions, deep pockets and discounts, making it difficult for us to reduce costs. Secondly, the market changed almost overnight with the arrival of Napster and illegal downloads. Our inability to convince manufacturers of the advantages of coding functionality into software and the need for only one SoC across all their products meant we hadn't enough traction or market penetration. Finally, significant internal management, staff and development issues meant development stalled and took longer than expected.

I learned from this experience that it's important to engage an external advisor to avoid myopic vision and ensure that you're constantly testing your assumptions and adapting to changes in the market. It also reinforced the importance of timing in business and the need to monitor industry trends and shifts closely. Failure is not a personal reflection of our abilities but rather a lesson for success.

When we face failure, we have two choices: to wallow in it or to learn from it. While it's tempting to focus solely on success, embracing our failures and using them as a tool for growth and development is essential. Failure is a natural part of the journey, and we should aim to learn from it rather than fear it.

In business, we must be prepared for anything and everything. A good business strategy should include a backup plan and a willingness to pivot when necessary. We must be adaptable and constantly evolving as the market and industry change. By being open to new ideas and perspectives, we can better navigate the challenges and opportunities that come our way.

In conclusion, while failure is often viewed as a negative outcome, it can be a valuable lesson in achieving success. Timing is everything regarding product commercialisation, and engaging an external advisor can help avoid myopic vision and ensure we're constantly testing our assumptions and adapting to changes in the market. Ultimately, we must embrace failure, learn from it, and use it to grow and develop in our personal and professional lives.

Together, we'll create a plan for moving forward and navigating the ever-changing business landscape with confidence and purpose. So don't wait any longer.

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