Uncovering a strategy for stages of growth,funding, and customer needs… in a week
Limited government action on the climate crisis is increasingly causing business leaders to wonder what they can contribute, under their own steam, to preserving a liveable planet. Profit Impact’s founder, Sarah Whale, believes that we are nearing a future where all organisations will need to include sustainability metrics in their quarterly reports alongside financial metrics (due to investor demand, customer demand; internal pressures; and government regulation). Profit Impact are industry leaders in helping SMEs take bold action to reach their sustainability goals through their ‘Path to Net Zero’ and ‘Becoming a BCorp’ programmes. Sarah chose to partner with Atomic Innovation to answer this question: how to invent and scale digital solutions that will prepare as many organisations as possible for this challenging future.
What we did
Our partnership with Profit Impact began with facilitating a strategic discovery process in order to map Sarah’s vision of the future and the steps leading up to it. This included workshops to identify value propositions for the target market; appropriate business models (including costs and revenue opportunities); and prioritise those opportunities to align to a go-to-market strategy that would scale over time. Together we mapped out each growth stage for Profit Impact with a plan of how the digital products would evolve to support and create that growth. This resulted in a product delivery roadmap with indicative estimates of product, technology, & resources. High level costings of the development effort were made. And we assessed what capabilities could be bought (off-the-shelf), borrowed, and which should be developed internally. This was designed to maximise ROI in balance with picking the right moments to invest in those particularly innovative features that would result in optimal subsequent funding rounds.
With a shared vision and pathway set out, our focus shifted to immediately ground this strategy in the first steps of its implementation. We investigated funding approaches (Seed, Investment, or Grants) and quickly identified that particular grant types would not be available due to qualifying criteria. So we proceeded to outline what should be prepared for investment. Additionally, the strategic discussions had identified that a major gap in the conversion funnel was awareness. To fill this gap we collaboratively built a rapid MVP of an educational platform (using a third party, Thinkific) to educate target customers on ESG. Additionally this was designed to create a new customer touchpoint; allowing the team ongoing learning regarding customer needs, pain points, and opportunities; and informing the development of the digital product portfolio. These activities helped to form the foundations of the investment deck and operational cost model to be used to gain further funding.
At the end of the week together we had set up the business to: pursue the strategy in parallel with the demands of their day-to-day operations; begin the process of preparing for a round of fundraising; and ensured ongoing learning about customers to support decisions and direct efforts. The collaborative process was designed to expose team members to a variety of techniques that could be used to continuously evolve and implement the digital product strategy. It demonstrated how to align that strategy to the customer acquisition funnel for each of the key stages of growth—a map of the territory and possible futures. It allowed for hands-on experience of using that map to identify gaps. And through rapidly launching an MVP in that area it showed how to effectively put into action a lean-startup style build, measure, learn feedback loop which maximises learning at minimal cost. One of our shared concerns during this week was not to jump too quickly into costly custom development when a concerted effort over a number of months would be needed for the funding round. Equally important was to support that funding round through demonstrating that the in-house tech capability was ready once that funding came through.
Our partnership with Profit Impact has already moved forward significantly since this initial collaboration. Look out for additional case studies for this client coming soon.
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