Products or Services – reflection on a two year entrepreneurial journey
I reflect on a two year entrepreneurial journey with ContinuousExcellence – When we started everyone told us we needed to be a product firm / startup or have a very specific specialization – IT services is commoditized and competitive.
I feel it does not need to be a choice – You can have the best of both worlds. They can co-exist. Product is a much harder path without investments, but that is the path that you need to take if you are thinking big. Having a viable IT services or a product arm can cushion lean time periods in the other. They can be like different departments/units in a business. We decided to work with startups for equity and/or services. Key Takeaways (both positive and negative) over this two year journey are :
Delivery : ContinuousExcellence has repeatedly proved very strong from a delivery perspective. This means getting customers who have just grown based on delivery certainty. This also means sales has not been a strength till date – This will need to change :).
Generalist : Being a generalist has enabled us to let the work determine our specialization.
Teams : Teams are formed not acquired. We are now self sufficient.
Network : My corporate network was not useful. Period. We needed to create a completely new network suitable for ContinuousExcellence. They are just different worlds (corporate and entrepreneurship) – Not everyone is suited for the other.
Lean Startup : Lean startup is good. Having watched many startups closely, I feel it is all right to project the worst case scenario and be prepared for it.
- Every startup /entrepreneurial journey is unique. Some startups want to perfect the technology before launch and some do it the other way round.
Time : Entrepreneurship gives you time flexibility. But it is also working all the time. You determine your priorities – You are just having a lot of fun!
Conclusion : IT services comes naturally to us. We also understand the power of having a technology product for scalability. Developing products has its own inherent risks and IT services is not scalable very easily and beyond a point. You get constrained by the time of your key resources. ContinuousExcellence will pivot and grow . Overall, It is all ok – as long as you are having fun and enjoying yourself!