Time is money. Wasted time is wasted money. It is critical for today’s Life Science and In-Vitro Diagnostics (IVD) companies to get to market fast and to differentiate themselves from the competition. The pace of innovation in these markets has accelerated and companies now more than ever have difficulty meeting market demands in a timely matter. Shortcuts often come with steep consequences. For early-stage companies focusing on improving and/or reducing the cost of healthcare related technologies, meeting timelines often is the difference between existence and non-existence. In order to meet these deadlines, companies must have a robust product and a strong business plan that is executed successfully.
Leaders of these companies must be open-minded, agile and disciplined. It is rare that an early-stage business has a fully staffed team with executive experience in all functional areas. Due to critical gaps, early-stage leadership teams often resort to taking shortcuts in areas viewed as not as important at the current stage of the project or in areas in which they are not as competent. Not every early-stage business succumbs to these challenges though; some leaders recognize that they need help and that seeking outside support in some instances may be the difference between success and a continued slow burn of capital.
Common Startup Challenges: Cash Flow, Product Development, Go-to-Market Strategy
A Chief Executive Officer of a biotech company with novel technology aimed at improving the detection of specific rare forms of cancer engaged IOI Partners to help identify, plan and manage a market development strategy to support the launch of the product. The product was still in development and the CEO knew the company was facing common early-stage company challenges, such as cash-flow, accelerated project deadlines and overall go-to-market strategy. The company had existing commercial products and was pressed to allocate limited capital to ensuring customer satisfaction for existing customers while at the same time advancing the product under development. Uncertainty in the product development process and ensuing go-to-market strategy for the new product translated into delays in the launch and ultimately additional investment. The CEO reached out to IOI Partners for assistance with the assessment of the current project and help with the assessment of their current go-to-market plans with specific recommendations to get the organization back on track for success.
Utilizing the proven methodology of “Discover, Inspire, Deliver,” we started by hosting an on-site strategic business review that allowed us to understand the current situation and all the factors influencing the successful development and launch of the new platform.
In preparation for the strategic review session, we worked closely with the CEO to gather and gain access to as many relevant documents as we could prior to the review session. This enabled our team to understand the knowledge gaps that existed within the company and to formulate questions meant to provoke discussion in the identified areas. During the strategic business review, our team uncovered various problems the company faced, some known to the CEO and many unknown. Collaboratively with the CEO we formed an assessment of the current situation and formulated a series of recommendations as well as specific strategies for implementation. The implementation utilized company resources where available but were augmented by external subject matter experts as necessary. This ensured the most essential existing business operations continued while critical resources were focused on completing the development and launch of the new product.
This biotech company had innovative technology but despite an experienced CEO still suffered from common pitfalls faced by companies balancing existing business operations with transformative product development projects. The company heavily invested in the development of the new technology but did not have a targeted market development strategy and needed help in cross-functional areas such as program management, market assessment and market research such as Voice of the Customer studies. They also failed to develop their Value Proposition prior to embarking on the development effort and through the course of the project compromises had been made that potentially jeopardized the commercial success. In addition to helping to better align the available resources on the “critical to value” objectives, the CEO also realized the best path forward involved raising additional capital in order to accelerate getting the new product to market while sustaining the current business.
Coordinating the Solution: R&D Input, Customer Satisfaction, M&A Strategy
This particular project engaged much of the IOI Partners team competencies. We positioned ourselves to give this organization direct access to all of our partners to provide the agility, efficiency and expertise needed for success. We provided critical R&D input, leveraged our expertise in helping companies uncover and identify customer needs and our extensive experience in developing corporate strategy in anticipation of subsequent M&A transactions. A key factor that helped us deliver greater results was the company’s ability to be open-minded and their willingness to work side-by-side with us while we assessed the situation, made recommendations and implemented solutions that included a total strategy transformation.