My friend Fred Sweeney of VG Partners pointed me to this interesting call for help by the biotech industry in Canada, whose start-ups are finding it difficult to raise money to survive, let alone thrive. In these times of hardships, the ventures with the least obvious path to commercialization and revenue are the ones who suffer first and most. Given the lengthy development cycles and uncertain payout, biotech ventures evidently stand at the frontline of the crisis.
What all that shows is that a start-up should at all times be able to articulate the revenue model it is proposing to pursue. It should tie all its current efforts to this model, or “reverse-engineer revenue” as per the expression I coined at GrowthRoute. Doing just that provide three benefits: one, you stand in first row against competing start-ups when comes the time for VCs to hand out cash; two, keeping your eyes on the prize helps you identify where to focus your efforts today, and better allocate your current resources; three, spending some time thinking about how you will make money could point to nearer-term sources of revenue you may not have thought of.
Without a destination and a map to get there, you can have a tight ship and yet run it in circles. Better to never count on the government to get you back on track.