Your Secret Sauce Won’t Sell Itself: The Importance of a Go-To-Market Strategy

August 1, 2011

11:30 am

I’ve met many entrepreneurs who are fascinated with the “what.”  They say to themselves, “I’m going to create the best friggin’ widget ever invented,” and yet they ignore the go-to-market details. The logistics take a back seat, while the creating gets priority. The passion about the secret sauce doesn’t translate to the mundane business of monetizing the sauce.

Taking the sauce to market, getting the best packaging, securing placement on the best shelves in the grocery, outselling all the other sauces – the focus is on execution. Concentrating on executing in the lab at the expense of planning the go-to-market and logistics lead to failure, because if your secret sauce is released with a big bang in the forest and no one is there to hear it… it doesn’t make a sound.

What I’d like to propose is this:

Think about your invention, think about your next big thing, think about your secret sauce.  It’s your passion. You love it. You want it to live and thrive and have a wonderful life.  This secret sauce – it is your baby! And working on the go-to-market, the logistics, sales – that’s changing the diaper, waking up in the middle of the night because it’s sick, holding it close when it’s screaming and crying and kicking.  That’s continuing to feed it even when it’s spitting strained peas all over you. That’s what you do because it’s your baby and you love it and you want it to have a wonderful life.

Well, if you want your secret sauce to continue to live, you don’t just get to do the fun stuff.  You have to be the responsible caring parent.  You have to change the diapers with the same passion that you bounce it on your knee.  Because if your baby never gets out of the lab,  if it doesn’t get on the shelf of the store, nobody is going to buy it.  Your passion is going to have a short, unremarkable life.

So here’s my advice in a nutshell:  If creating your secret sauce is your passion, make getting it to market your purpose.  Remember that without going to market, your passion is going to have a short run. Don’t just execute in the lab, execute in the marketplace.

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Glen Hellman (@glehel), is an angel investor, serial entrepreneur, and works for venture capitalists as a turn-around specialist. He is the Chief Entrepreneureator at Driven Forward LLC, frequently muses on his blog, Forward Thinking, and works with entrepreneurs to help them figure out what to do and get them to do it.

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