On Tuesday, I shared a post on one of the greatest overlooked challenges by startups, and in particular, first-time entrepreneurs — considering change management.
It’s imperative to consider the change management piece of any service or product — change management being the leading the transformation of the people within the organization. This is especially important with customers with multiple layers.
Executives may be motivated to use a product or service for the benefit of the enterprise, but if the solution fails to integrate easily into the workflow of the “employees”, there’s a high likelihood of low adoption. With low adoption comes missed value which yields customer churn.
Change management involves a lot. I’ll take some examples from a SaaS perspective since I’m more accustomed to this arena — some key areas where a startup will surely fail:
- Cumbersome UI/ UX. Said before many times and saying it again: UI and UX are now MUST-HAVES. Interfaces must be intuitive with clear calls-to-action. Bonus points for engaging UX will drive emotional evangelists.
- Dramatic shifts from today to tomorrow. With Body Boss, we gave a lot of data and power to the coaches. We were able to chart out where players were after any session. However, most coaches weren’t accustomed to receiving that type of data continually. We didn’t guide coaches on how to interpret and make the data actionable. In many ways, we challenged coaches to absorb and use data that had never received before. Better practice would have been better reporting to drive focus and action to only the important data points.
- Failing to consider the different consumers of a product. In consulting, you have the buyers who may be the execs representing some functional side of the business. Then, you may have a VP of Information Technology who had evaluate the software for security, for implementation, etc.. Then, there’s the end users of the system who may be front-line workers or managers who actually use the product. They all represented groups that consumes the product, and thus, it’s important to understand the benefits and risks of each group.
- Not providing/ communicating (or very minimally) the vision and value of through the organization. That is, failure to share the value and get buy-in from the levels of the organization involved will, again, spur low adoption.
Obviously, there are many more ways to encourage failure through poor change management processes. Successful startups build a product and service that considers the people of the organization —their motivations, fears, and workflows.