Are you creating a new digital product and need to confirm that it will work? What does an MVP and Proof of Concept look like in terms of promotion? We asked a colleague at Marketup.
What did the PoC of your business look like?
When I co-founded our company Marketup with Mirko Král, we had the benefit of a long career in management positions in large corporations where any new product or investment goes through a process of business planning, risk assessment, and competitive product assessment. We did the same process.
We have mapped out the competition and the particular products we will be offering to our clients in a highly detailed manner. We defined how we would differentiate ourselves from the competition and created a financial business plan that included both a cost and revenue side. The details were worked out for the next 3 years but we created projections of basic financial metrics for 10 years ahead. Even though many things have changed in our industry and in our expectations over the past 10 years, those overall financial numbers have been successfully met.
I see proof of concept as testing the MVP (minimum viable product) on a smaller scale, which then is used to modify the product or confirm the predefined assumptions. For us, this PoC was the first year of the agency’s life, when we verified and corrected our assumptions and adjusted our plans for the following years.
What all do you need to know about the company you are promoting the project to?
Since our product is a wide portfolio of services ranging from digital marketing to creative services, consulting in the field of marketing and digitalization of companies,…, the main information we need to know from the client is: “What do you need to achieve through our services?”.
In case the client is already using similar services, we are interested in what he needs to improve and how the cooperation should look like to make him satisfied. Of course, we then need to know more detailed information for the actual creation of the offer, such as the client’s current results, budget, information about the technology platforms used, and so on.
To what depth do you verify the solvency of the client?
We currently work mostly for large clients where client solvency is not usually an issue. However, even for large clients, we monitor their riskiness in terms of their line of business, as some industries have a greater potential for insolvency in a crisis than others.
However, in the first few years after the start of our firm, of course, we intensively addressed the solvency of our clients, using publicly available information from public and insolvency registers. We also had the advantage of meeting other agencies providing similar services on various platforms and even here we occasionally found out which client did not have good payment morality.
Even so, I recommend that every startup should always think about how to collect payments for their services into their account as quickly as possible, e.g. by prepayment, advance payments, etc. Firstly, this ensures early signaling of an imminent risk of non-payment for services and gives the entrepreneur room for negotiation with the client, timely stopping of service delivery, etc. And secondly, it is very positive for the cash flow of the company, which is often, in case of mismanagement, the cause of company bankruptcies.
What is a signal to you that the cooperation will or will not work?
There are several signals. But I would like to turn this into a positive and describe when collaboration works well.
We are very happy to work with clients who take us as a partner and are interested in our opinion. In this case, both partners respect each other, listen to each other, work together and the results don’t take long to come. However, this ideal state always needs to be worked out first, as it usually comes only after a few weeks and sometimes even months of cooperation.
Such cooperation sometimes develops into personal friendships between the two companies. The cooperation also works very well if the client knows what he wants or at least cooperates with us on the definition of this target state.
In this case, is possible to design the services in a way that the goals can be successfully met. However, sometimes at the very beginning of the cooperation, can happen that the client needs a different solution thanks to the commonly defined goal. But I consider this case also as a success because the client is closer to the goal and the relationship with the client is set up well for possible future collaboration.