WHAT A GOOD ENTREPRENEURIAL DESIGN MUST DO
Patents and inventions are raw materials. The decisive questions as to whether and how something can be done with it that will prove itself in everyday market life have yet to be answered. This is not to say that there are not inventions and research results that can be relatively easily turned into marketable products. However, this is not the normal case. Something that has been invented or researched, no matter how brilliantly, is not automatically marketable. Research logic and market logic are fundamentally different.
We have to make high demands on the Entrepreneurial Design, because it has to solve a whole range of problems for the founder:
1. work out clear market advantages
2. secure an advantage over imitators
3. protect against technological obsolescence
4. protect against economic obsolescence
5. minimize the financing costs
6. develop marketing as an integral part of entrepreneurial design
The first and most important criteria is that the idea concept has market advantages over established competitors. Business economists know the unique selling proposition with which you should appear on the market. But there is more to it than that. The greater the market advantage, the more likely a startup is to succeed. So it's worth tinkering with the architecture of your design until a significant market advantage can be carved out.
The clearer the advantage over your competitors, the better, of course. But the advantage must also be clearly recognizable. Should you succeed, one thing is certain: imitators. But they can be very dangerous to you. If your imitators have established sales networks or high advertising budgets, the risk of being overtaken is real.
Would a patent protect here? The modern answer is yes, but only for a short time. As soon as the competition recognizes that there is a new solution, they will find other ways around the patent. A technological innovation, say Mitchell and Coles, gives a company at most a six- to 12-month head start; an advantage in concept can have a longer impact, especially if you develop it continuously.
But even if the company succeeded in staying at the forefront of technology, that alone would not be enough for success. The company would also have to hold its own on the level of economic obsolescence. If this or a comparable product is manufactured tomorrow in China in a larger series with better economies of scale, the founding company will lose out.
Paradoxically, it follows from these considerations that the chances of survival increase if the company does not focus on its own high-tech development. Instead, it remains open and flexible and buys the most technologically advanced or least expensive solution on the market.
Of course, there are successful technology-oriented start-ups. But to be fair, one must emphasize the high risks faced by founders with a high-tech development in view of the intensity of research and competition worldwide.