Startup Learning #3 – Digging Deep to find value.Grow and Thrive: Three Startup Learnings

Updated: Jul 23, 2020


It’s usually slide #2 in the startup pitch deck, the one right after “what problem are you going to solve”. Finding our business value took us nearly eight months of continuous searching, testing, and digging deep.

In week one, I reviewed the twists and turns along our journey to create a breakthrough product. Last week, I reviewed our drive to be different, and more importantly how we are communicating that difference.

Startup Learning #3 – Digging Deep to find business value.

Finding our business value meant shedding our intense focus on product value and delving deeper into fundamental industry norms, and in our case, the way the brain works.

The Product Value Illusion

I can’t count how many times we thought we had nailed down our business value, only to discover we just found another benefit from the product. I guess this makes sense. You get caught up in the excitement of creating something new. We were reviewing existing products, listening to our alpha and beta customers, and as my first post summarized, evolving our idea into a customer-centric solution. It seemed that every new “Aha” moment brought clarity and deeper understanding of the service we provide our users.

For example, qChange nudges or prompts 3 minutes before a meeting, via Microsoft Teams. It’s not via eMail; it’s not a global message but a selected and customized prompt based on the behaviors a user wants to grow. So, we understood our business value was being real-time and personalized. All great product attributes, but not business value.

Then we added the measurement piece. We thought, “No other system can measure leader behavior growth. Other systems only measure “How did you like the training?” or “Do you think you will be able to use what you learned in your current position?” qChange can measure Kirkpatrick Level 3; “Did your behavior change?” That must be our value! Once again a great, differentiating feature, but not business value.

What about pricing. The fact that we are 1/10th the cost of the average spent per leader seemed like a good start, but not sufficient. We needed to be more than just cheaper. We needed to find how we were better.

Digging Deep

Since our business value message was still not resonating with investors, we kept asking “why.” Not “why don’t you understand?” That wouldn’t get us anywhere. But rather…

Why did we focus on leadership development?