Momentum can be earned but sometimes it is completely random

The hard thing about momentum is that you might not have enough funding, time or public exposure to take advantage of it

Gearing up for the Cool Beans retail launch. The focus is on the product quality, supply chain logistics and listings with retailers.

Gearing up for the Cool Beans retail launch. The focus is on the product quality, supply chain logistics and listings with retailers.

Fri, Jun 27, 2014, 16:58

With start-ups, success can sometimes be attributed to the business unicorn - momentum. This is the magic moment when hype, hard work, MVP (minimum viable product) and customers all start to converge to bring a concept from idea to reality. The hard thing about momentum is that while it builds you might not have enough funding, time or public exposure to take advantage of it.

Momentum can be earned but sometimes it is completely random. The trick is to know what to do with it when it comes along. From our own experience and also from watching other start ups and indeed more established companies we have observed a few key things to remember about momentum:

1. It can happen too early and your business will be unprepared to capitalise on it;

2. It can form when it is too late to benefit from it;

3. It can be totally random - sometimes no matter how hard you work;

4. It can come in waves.

Momentum can happen in lots of different ways but lets take some tangible examples to bring this to life.

Early momentum

If you are planning a big product launch and an opportunity presents itself before the launch which gives you great exposure but your product is not on shelf then you cannot maximise the value of the early momentum.

The last thing any food retailer wants is an “out of stock” product, and the last thing any brand owner wants is a sold out shelf. The trick here is to plan for all scenarios and be ready if a wave of momentum hits early - if it presents itself you have to work nights, weekends, holidays, whatever it takes to catch that wave as they don’t always come around too often again.

Every business fails to take advantage of early momentum at some stage - for us in Cool Beans we experienced this first hand last year. We had built some great traction on the festival and event circuit and after the final festival of the summer, Electric Picnic, we had real life fans who were hungry for us to get on shelf but we failed to have everything in place for our retail launch and were unable to capitalise on the growing fan base and buzz around the product. We have learnt from the experience and it makes us all the more driven to be ready for our next opportunity.

Late momentum

This is probably the worst type of momentum. If it’s too late you might have already run out of cash or, worse still, been de-listed. Hopefully not the case but sometimes its hard to get all your stars aligned at the right time. For example, at the moment we are gearing up for our Cool Beans retail launch. Our big focus is on the product quality, supply chain logistics and listings with retailers. However we are constantly trying to step back and look at the bigger picture; are we putting enough time into marketing, planning, PR strategy for launch and sampling in as many stores and places as possible? If our product is on the shelf but no one knows about it, all the momentum in the world won’t help you if your retailers have de-listed the product due to lack of sales momentum in the initial launch period.