ship strategy

Some theorists have developed a theory according to which startups have two main strategies to grow: ocean liners and cardboard factories. If they are still unknown today, knowing these two strategies can help you build a sustainable business. the explanation.

You might remember this Louis de Funes film “Le Petit Beignore”, where, during the opening of a boat out of a shipyard, the hull of this industrial marvel (which hasn’t touched the water yet) is pierced Traditional bottle of champagne. This comic scene, several startups have replayed it and will continue to replay it in sad mode. Their leaders embark on an entrepreneurial adventure as one embarks on the construction of an ocean liner, forgetting that the most famous ocean liner remains the Titanic.

Make then sell…

In short, “liner strategy” Never consciously adopted but easily recognized. It involves manufacturing a product or service in a factory or in a workshop based on an extreme belief in our ability to predict the market and customers’ appetite for the product or service. This strategy, which is sometimes accompanied by a long development time, can also be characterized by the following characteristics: the liner’s inability to turn, the risk that failure would be fatal, the tendency of the crew to push hard, but with Not much success.

On the contrary, there is Cardboard factory strategyThe names of these fake factories, film sets, which are shown to the visitors to disguise the true capability, or inefficiency, of production. This strategy involves building an image of this product and service, not the product or service. This strategy, which has the primary advantage of being able to be implemented in a few hours, can be identified by the following characteristics: the image of said factory can be changed quickly, the factory can be destroyed quickly, and it Not sure if this strategy is completely honest. To qualify, making a cardboard factory doesn’t mean actually selling it, fooling your customer, but a way to test his ability to buy what you want him to sell. So, what differentiates scammers from entrepreneurs is that the entrepreneur, after selling the image of his product or his service, will create them and deliver them to his customer. The crook, for his part, would steer the plane, leaving a stack of cardboard sheets in his customer’s hands.

… or sell and then manufacture?

In short, the Cardboard Factory strategy is the strategy that has led to the web’s greatest successes. Liner strategy is what explains many failures,

Still, even though most innovative entrepreneurs have the right cardboard factory maker’s words in their mouths, their actions reflect the mindset of shipyard owners. Basically, his heart tells him to make cardboard, leave his hands to his own devices, build ocean liners. The difference between what they want to do and what they do is huge. Why ?

Mainly because building a cardboard factory equates to going against all our habits and all the tools that surround us and structure our actions.

For example, if you are creating a business plan, you have started building an ocean liner. And this practice of business planning, even if it is done with detachment, with the idea that all “business plans” fail, and that it is only necessary to deliver change, remains an exercise that changes thinking. Bends its authors, causing it to lose the flexibility and agility that a startup needs.

There’s a fairly simple test to find out if you’re still in “liner” mode or to perform in reverse: Your startup has just been born – you have 72 hours to make your first sale. If your answer is long (for example: “We have to feel this and that first, but in a year we should start selling”), then you are in liner mode.

habits that are difficult to form

Liner mode, which is an execution mode, is the right way for a company to operate in a proven revenue model where one knows the products, customers, sales channel. But if you are starting a startup, i.e. a temporary structure that is in exploratory mode on both its product, its customers, its usage, its revenue model, then the liner strategy is a recipe for failure. Remember this image of a champagne bottle that pierced the hull of a frigate in “The Little Bather.”

Following the strategy of Cardboard Factory comes some obstacles. First, you need to test your product or service’s ability to buy – not just to get attention. Then, you need to be able to turn a whole set of things into your product very quickly, based on market reception. In the end, the hardest part is knowing how to orient yourself in these changes.

Ford said that if he had listened to what his customers wanted, he would never have made a car, but a faster horse. It’s an ironic formulation of one of the difficulties of the cardboard factory: Your potential customers’ comments should allow you to revise your plan, but it shouldn’t make you lose sight of your mission. The plan changes, the mission remains.

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