Health IT Company Growth: A Sequence of Beachheads?

The challenge of growth and scaling our healthcare IT businesses is paramount. The problems to solve are vast. But the most immediate needs of the customer are often relatively small and well-defined. How do we solve small immediate needs while also paving the way for bigger, more comprehensive solutions that form the basis of a larger company?

It’s all about the sequencing strategy. We have to secure the right beachheads in the right order. No amount of ambition or technology prowess will substitute for the right beachhead strategy.

What we typically see with early stage companies is a demo that shows what their current software can do. Often, the initial product provides a nice solution for a clear customer problem. These companies will usually then walk us through why their technology is really a “platform” and describe how it can easily be expanded to solve a host of other additional problems. This is all good. This shows proper anticipation of future customer needs and good technology breadth.

But this kind of conversation doesn’t usually clearly spell out the company’s overarching strategy for success. It usually doesn’t map the entire market and show a comprehensive strategy for knocking down a sequence of obstacles to success. In most cases, the barriers to growth and scaling with customers relate less to what technology our company can create, but what technology we choose to create — and how, when, and to whom we choose to sell it.

A really rewarding conversation might be less about a litany of customer problems and how a technology solves them and more about the rationale for the sequencing of the roll out. Why are certain beachheads selected? Why are they better than others? Why does the specific sequencing of beachheads matter? Why does this make the most sense as a business strategy for us compared to other potential alternatives?

The more specific this conversation is, the better. For sure, no plan ever matches the subsequent reality of the execution, but the plan has to make sense in advance. At the very least, it shows we have recognized that random efforts against the market are less effective than planned, targeted approaches that build from each other in a stepwise fashion.

All too often we see companies building great initial technology and then taking a trial-and-error approach to driving it into the market and scaling it across a customer base. We need to be very specific about which customers we would approach, in which order, with what solutions, and why. Why is this strategy more likely to fuel the ultimate company growth expectations compared to other strategies? Let’s discuss the pros and cons of each approach and the logic for selecting the primary plan, and why the back-up plan is the back-up, and what the triggers are for reverting to it.

The most successful companies in this next wave of healthcare IT adoption will be the companies that have the best strategies for fueling their growth. Great technology will be necessary but not sufficient. Great teams will build great companies because we will secure the right beachheads — in the right order — as our key to obtaining the pole position in the market.