Disruptive Startup Growth Lessons from One Fly Guy.
When drones first came on the scene, most people saw a toy with little commercial application. Yet, there were some people that dreamed up uses for the technology that would change the way first responders, government and military leaders manage fluid situations. Imagine being in an industry where everything that happens is happening for the first time. This isn’t as rare as it may seem. Nearly every industry is going through some amount of revolutionary change, and if yours isn’t there at the moment, get ready, because it is coming. Whether you are in an industry or segment of an industry that is in a state of revolution or not, your organization can be the change leader.
Growing in a Startup in a New Industry
Recently, I spent some time with Ryan English, the CEO and Founder of FLYMOTION, an industry leader in unmanned drone technology, end to end solutions and services for government, first responders and industry. His company entered the drone market more than five years ago when drone technology was in its infancy. Since then, drone technology has progressed quickly and the use cases have become better-defined, largely due to the efforts of companies like FLYMOTION.
Ryan sat down with us to share what he has learned over the last several years as he developed his company that was centered around a completely new technology.
Lesson 1: Focus on Tomorrow’s Trends
If you are focusing on today’s trends, you are already behind. This is particularly true in an industry that is just developing. You need to have a view into where the industry trends will be tomorrow.
“We launched five years ago, and at that time, we had the first and only mobile drone command center,” says English. “We didn’t have the luxury of 20 years of industry history to reference. Everything we have done was something that was being done for the first time. We have had a heavy focus in shaping and developing the industry trends. This has allowed us to stay out ahead of where things are going and even put us in the position of defining the what is coming next,” continues English.
This is a great lesson in any industry. Thinking about where things will be in two, five or even ten years means you have the opportunity to define the trends for your industry instead of being a follower.
Lesson 2: Create Immersive Learning Environments
The experience customers have with your solutions can be heavily impacted by how the customer utilizes the product or service. Without training, customers can end up having a bad experience and will ultimately be blamed on your solution, not a lack of training. Clearly, drones offer a unique opportunity to provide hands-on training.
“We have specifically aimed to shape the industry in terms of training,” says English. “We have developed immersive learning environments than ensure our customers get the hands-on experience they need to succeed once they are in the field using our solutions,” explains English.
Lesson 3: Know the Operation Workflow
Knowing the operation workflow of the organizations you will put your solutions is important, particularly when you are putting a completely new step into the process. The easier it is to dovetail the new piece into the existing workflows the smoother adoption of the new technology will be.
“We considered where drone technology would fit into the existing workflows,” shares English. “We had firsthand knowledge of the processes the organizations we were working with utilized. As a result, we could see exactly where our technology could be implemented into the operation workflow,” says English.
Lesson 4: Be an industry-insider
There’s nothing like having walked in the shoes of your customers. Speaking their language and being able to tell stories that demonstrate your experience builds trust and makes communicating with prospects very natural.
“Most everyone on the team at FLYMOTION comes from a public safety, government or military background. This helps facilitate providing solutions for these organizations,” says English. “We have had the benefit of being first responder and military veterans. As a result, we had an insider’s view of what happens in the situations where our solutions would be utilized. This insider knowledge allowed us to have the right conversations and anticipate challenges so we could avoid them before they happened,” shares English.
Lesson 5: Maintain Self-Direction
There’s nothing easy about bootstrapping a startup, yet maintaining full control can be important to the development and growth of a successful venture. Each company is unique, but for FLYMOTION and its drone solutions, preserving autonomy has been one key to its early successes.
“We bootstrapped the company and didn’t have any outside investors. This allowed us to take the company in any direction we wanted. We had a good pulse on the industry, so bootstrapping made sense in the early days,” explains English. “I wouldn’t say we will never look to outside investors, but I think carving our own path has allowed us to go in directions we knew would impact the industry. That freedom over the last five years has been crucial to our growth,” concludes English.
Let’s review the important startup business growth lessons Ryan shared with us:
- Focus on tomorrow’s trends
- Create immersive learning environments
- Know the operation workflow
- Be an industry leader
- Maintain self-direction
Learn more about FLYMOTION industry-leading drone products and services by visiting https://flymotionus.com.
Checkout the next story in the Executive Spotlight series and learn about an Industrial IoT company that is disrupting the OEM equipment manufacturing industry.
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