Manto Papagianni, Head of Product Divison
This article tries to convey Intelen’s transition path as a growing startup. As Intelen’s Product Manager, finding the right business model was one of the biggest and hardest challenges. After several trials and errors, Intelen’s unique selling proposition is not only translated into an idea but also into real monetary values.
Another factor that should be considered is to find the proper timing for convincing clients and investors that this innovative solution really makes a difference and is a market niche. As a result, a lot of effort is invested in creating a solid business model, then, its exposure to the public in order to broaden our customer and investor base. Once the two aforementioned targets are met then the only priority is growth. Needless to say, that Intelen, at this point, finds itself at stage two, namely, we focus on marketing and sales so that our product is getting noticed and draws customer’s and investor’s attention.
However, even if you have the perfect idea, without the right persons you will not be able to succeed. Therefore, the quest of finding the proper personnel for a proper implementation of your vision is a heavy task. The characteristics of the proper personnel should cover a lot of aspects, here, I am stating the most important ones according to my experience: innovative, talkative, patient, visionary, open-minded, multitasking, methodical, pro-active thinking, resourceful, team spirit, trustworthy, flexible and adaptable to change.
At this point, I am proud to express my gratitude to our team and its remarkable technical, but above all, personal skills. Without their active contribution, Intelen’s product, DiG, would still be just a paper idea. So, what’s the next step of product development? Constant motivation, binding and active involvement of the team in the product strategy.
Indeed a very important aspect is knowledge transfer within a company. This should be dealt with in both a top-down and bottom-up approach. To do that though, time and effort for building solid foundations is crucial. For this reason, setting up core procedures needs willingness, dedication and determination from all personnel but, especially, from the top management.
In a startup environment, there are days, where chaos prevails and there are days, where you experience exciting things. These exciting things are the motivators that galvanize product development. Aside from that, a startup gives you the opportunity to work closely with a small group of people, learn your limits and your resistance to stress. In other words, a startup is a good school for your personal progress as well.
Intelen’s transition from a startup to a growing company has not been easy. On the contrary, until the establishment of a clear vision and strategy Intelen went through a long-term discovery phase with the development of various products, which proved to be a tremendous knowhow for its scale up in volatile markets. Looking at the bright side of this transition, we can definitely claim that now is the crucial crossroad for Intelen’s future. For Intelen, now is the correct timing to grow big and pave the way to new destinations and markets that welcome its solutions and services.
My advice to other startups is to take your time in investing and building their product/project very carefully. You should understand what market needs you address to and what your competitive advantage comparing to others is. On top of that, you should be patient, show perseverance and have a backup plan if your idea does not penetrate. To do that, you need to remain ahead of the market, research and analyze the trends in order to stay innovative and pioneer. Last but not least, my ultimate advice is to keep your personnel motivated and happy. Remember that a robust and satisfied team is your toolkit for success!