Week 9 of 13: The Student Project

For good or bad, our prospective clients see us as students.
I could see him looking at me, slightly aghast. "These kids are students," I imagined him thinking, "and I thought it would be a charitable thing to do to help them with their 'student project'". So perhaps it's reasonable that he's now shocked and thinking, "so why are they now suddenly asking me for money?"

With a demo of the product ready, we hit the road to demonstrate what we've come up with to a few people. If we can obtain ten clients signing up for an annual subscription of $6,900 each, we will have enough revenue to operate the business. However, this is not a sum of money that people seem easily willing to part with. The reactions suggest that, for our prospective clients, buying into our service is almost as big a deal as hiring a full time employee.

The price point is comparable to a similar service offered by similar companies, such as NERAC. Unfortunately, NERAC is well established and has a rich history, with NASA as a flagship client. While I've tried to position our service quite differently to how NERAC is positioned -- as something that is almost complementary -- the service we're offering is not yet distinctive enough.

The people we've been speaking to are also perhaps surprised because they'd we'd originally approached them to seek advice on some ideas we had for facilitating collaboration between academia and industry -- for a "student project" of sorts. They probably did not anticipate that we'd take on their advice and revisit them with something that looks like a real product.