Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Speed to Market: How to Pick the Right Pace in a Competitive Forum

According to a popular adage in business, speed to market is the key to success in a competitive arena. Whether the project involves a solitary product or an entire venture, the speedster believes in the power of agility.

The point of dashing into the market is to stake out a dominant position before anyone else gets the chance. In business, as in warfare, it's far easier to defend an entrenched position than to eject an opponent from the same locale.

On the other hand, a different school of thought favors a guarded approach to the objective. The credo of this group is to work out the kinks and sand down the burrs before releasing a brand-new creation into the open forum.

According to the precept of polish-before-you-unleash, you only get one chance to make a first impression on the consumer as well as the critic. If you blow the initial rollout, then you might as well kiss your plans goodbye. In the wake of the flop, it will be difficult – if not impossible – to overcome the tainted image of the product or venture in the public consciousness.

The arguments of the speednik as well as the polisher have their respective merits. Sadly for the strategist, though, the two schemes are at odds with each other.

More precisely, you can’t rush into the marketplace if you take the time to buff up the handiwork to your heart’s content. Something’s got to give.

So how do you reconcile the contrasting views? The short answer is that it depends on the context.

However, the question also deserves a longer answer. And that is a good pretext for reading the rest of this article.

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