What Investors Care About?
Investors hate missing out on a great opportunity but equally they fear making a bad investment. For Product Management it is essential that they consider the needs of this crucial stakeholder.
So what are some of the things that investors think about when investing in product companies…
- The challenge the product is trying to address and the evidence you have captured that this is a challenge the market wants solved
- The size of the market opportunity
- Any early traction you have obtained for your product
- Your articulation of the value you bring to the market and how you will monetise this value
- Why your business is uniquely different and how you compete with others?
- Why you think people will be compelled to buy from you? Who your buyers are and what do they care about?
- What team is in place to execute on the product strategy and how effective are this team?
- Your strategy for marketing communications and sales
- Your strategy for partnering with others to gain market traction or to execute on your product strategy
If this is what investors want to understand about your business, then how much attention do the leaders in your business, including Product Management give these areas?
As someone who has helped startups with their business plans and product strategy I understand that to capture the interest of the investor community it is hugely important to articulate the growth opportunity for your business through a business plan and associated Product Strategy.
Articulating the market opportunity and your value proposition for each target market is crucial. Clearly representing the challenge you address for your target market, capturing insights from this market and understanding how you will capture market interest to drive revenue growth is essential to ensure you get the kick-start of investment you need to scale your business.
Strategy is based on a differentiated customer value proposition. Satisfying customers is the source of sustainable value creation.”Robert Kaplan and David Norton (Strategy Maps)
Of course your Product Strategy needs to consider areas such as your mission and vision (with associated metrics of success), segmented market opportunity, your pricing strategy, your positioning of value for each target market, your competitive differentiation, any partnership strategy and a link to any sales and marketing strategies. You also need to highlight the key metrics that you will monitor to ensure product success – recurring revenue goals, customer acquisition rates, etc.
Everyone in the organisation needs to have sight of the key objectives (OKRs or SMART metrics of success) that the business is aiming to achieve at a high level so that they can define and align their own metrics of success to drive these corporate objectives.
A company that has captured initial investment through a clearly defined business plan and product strategy will move quickly to focus on the execution of this plan – hiring engineers, marketers and sales personnel. Keeping these resources aligned to deliver on the promises made to investors is now crucial!
It is really important that you can demonstrate to an investor that everyone in the business is aligned around the product strategy and that you can show how cross functional goals and initiatives are aligned. So it is important to define clear corporate goals and objectives that can be cascaded throughout the business. This ensures that you:
- Create an aligned and collaborative organization that shares a common understanding of how the business will create value
- Ensure the organization remains focused on corporate strategic objectives
- Maximize ROI for corporate resources and ensure all resources are delivering effectively
- Support decision making for all employees
- Enable Sales and Marketing to clearly position the products and solutions to the target market and thereby drive revenue growth
How can you make sure you are investor ready?
Whether you are a startup or SME you should take the time to ensure that you have captured the right insights from the market to create a clear and compelling Business Plan and Product Strategy.
There are so many things that Investors care about but you need to focus on what is key in the context of your industry.
I have recently spent time running strategic insight gathering and value proposition workshops with companies across multiple industry sectors. The exercise has been enlightening for everyone – particularly those companies that have spent a lot of time focusing on the “execution” rather than the “strategic” side of product management and for those companies that have a requirement for near term investment. These workshops support the company with the insights that are needed to create a compelling product strategy.
Contact me firstname.lastname@example.org for more details on how your business can capture market insights to drive future opportunity.