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Assumptions vs Facts – the difference start-ups don’t often get

Posted 3 years ago

I’m often asked ‘what is commercialisation?’ and my standard response is that it’s about replacing assumptions with facts.

Then I often have to explain what I mean. Here’s what I say.

When you have a new product or service concept, and you establish a start-up or other venture around it, there’s usually a lot of hype about how great it’s going to be, how it will solve a major problem, how much money it will make, etc. This hype is all based on assumptions.

Similarly, if things are more advanced (for example, the business model has been documented and the potential is looking more assured) – there are still a lot of assumptions.

The problem is that assumptions are risky and dangerous. People raising money from the 3Fs (friends, families and fools) are often doing so on the basis of a range of assumptions about the target market, cost of manufacturing, cost of distribution, marketing channels, regulatory requirements etc, etc, etc.

People commercialising a new product or service often have major problems accessing funding from high net-worths, angel investors, government grants, VCs and internal investment (in the case of corporates) because investors and fund managers recognise that what’s being presented as facts, are in fact assumptions.

Impact Innovation has developed a tool to show people what their assumption vs fact knowledge actually is. For most, it’s an eye opener. Importantly, however, it helps inventors, entrepreneurs and intrapreneurs understand that to commercialise a new idea they should be focussing their efforts on validating assumptions.

We call it the Technology and Investment Readiness Tool (TIRL). As well as revealing a new idea’s true trajectory to market, the TIRL acts as a common language legend so all stakeholders can understand what’s actual, what’s hopeful, and what’s hype.

Contact us if you’d like to know more about the TIRL or any other commercialisation conundrum.

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