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How to sell innovations for a successful start-up

How to sell innovations for a successful start-up

Innovation on its own does not guarantee success. Only after it has been sold to customers and stakeholders can it be called successful.

Not Interested'. That is the invisible signboard many entrepreneurs face as they try to pitch their new ideas to the world - or often, even in their own organisations. Many dreams thus die an untimely death.

Innovation on its own does not guarantee success. Only after it has been sold to customers and stakeholders can it be called successful. Taking an innovation past the inevitable roadblocks is an inexact science, but the following tips may help to do so: We all resist change. Innovators should understand that changing mindsets to give the new product or service a try is not going to be easy. They should be ready for the long haul.

Digital marketing firm Pinstorm and Seedfund founder Mahesh Murthy
Digital marketing firm Pinstorm and Seedfund founder Mahesh Murthy
But change is necessary. And it does occur. The Church told Galileo to be reasonable and let the world continue to believe that the sun went around the earth. He refused to be reasonable, and that is why today man is able to fly into space and plant flags on the moon.

Innovation leads to progress, and innovation comes from being unreasonable. The initial response to an innovation often depends on its nature. Does your innovation solve problems or give pleasure? Or, as I often ask, is it an aspirin or a vitamin? Usually people are more ready to pay for a new kind of aspirin than for a new vitamin, even though in the long term a wellmarketed vitamin could make more money than an aspirin. Solve a real problem with your innovation, and people will be more than willing to buy it. Thus, the marketing of an innovation should seek to project it as an aspirin rather than a vitamin. Let's say your innovation is a catalyst that enables you to get more horsepower out of every drop of fuel. The 'vitamin' way to position it would be to claim it gets you "more power from your fuel". The 'aspirin' way would be to say "spend much less to get the same power". The second pitch is more likely to gain traction earlier.

Market leaders rarely welcome innovation. Search out instead the aggressive fifth biggest player - this company will usually be more willing to take risks. If your innovation is a better way to hire people online, do not go to the largest employers; they have way too much invested in their current systems.

Go to a company which aspires to becoming big without spending too much money. Or investing in the system the numero uno already has. It is more likely to listen to you. Sell the steak not the sizzle. Present the actual benefits of your innovation, cutting out the hype.

Underplay the novelty, tone down the grandiosity, and present it as the simple, next logical step in your industry. Let others say how great your innovation was. Charge up your team. Your team is the one that is doing the research. You are the one trying to sell the innovation. Make sure your company gets excited about new inventions and discoveries when they are announced. Celebrate them internally.

Present a relatively deadpan face to the world. But do all you can to make your own workplace a dream place to work at. Make it a people magnet.

The author is founder of digital marketing firm Pinstorm and Seedfund, an early-stage venture capital fund