In our previous article, we explored one of the main reasons why robotics product launches are so often delayed. Recruiting a team of highly qualified engineers is crucial to your project and product launch, but attracting engineers in such a highly competitive marketplace, and keeping them at your company for long enough for them to make a true impact, is extremely difficult.
It’s always better to delay your product launch than it is to push out your new product before it is ready. For that reason, launch delays can and do happen, and when they happen they tend to have serious consequences for your business.
Cashflow Is King
Cashflow is the blood in the veins of your business. With a healthy cash flow, your business can continue its operations and sustain itself during tough times. Without it, your company can quickly crash and burn. Given that over 50% of startups fail in the first five years, even more, when it comes to robotics startups, it really is important to stay on top of finances and keep money coming into the business quicker than you are burning it.
One of the most immediate consequences of a delayed product launch is that it generally increases burn rate. Wages still need to be paid, you will stay have to pay rent for premises, and you will probably need to plough more money into the product to make improvements before the next planned launch date.
Companies need to maintain some liquidity in order to keep up with outgoings before products get to market, but the cash can dwindle rapidly when the product launch is delayed, and it becomes increasingly difficult (and risky!) to gain more investment during this time of limbo. Bottom line – If your product launch is delayed then you had better have the cash to back it up!
Pressure From Investors
Robotics startups are typically backed by Venture Capitalists, who already apply a lot of pressure to make sure they see the returns that they are expecting. As shareholders, they have a vested interest in your survival and growth. If your business isn’t running smoothly, they will usually step in and assert themselves – and there’s no better sign that a business isn’t working than a delayed launch.
If your product launch is delayed, especially if it is repeatedly delayed or delayed without good reason, your investors will step it up a gear. They could install their own staff in your business to keep watch, and demand that your management teams attend more investor meetings to ‘discuss progress’. This can be a welcome support if you need it, or an unruly distraction if you don’t!
If the launch is severely delayed, and your investors sense that the situation won’t improve, they can potentially force new management into the business at the founder’s expense. If you want to keep your investors happy, and you want to keep control of your business operations, then get your products launched on time.
Competitors Move First
With advanced manufacturers like Apple and Intel running companies worth over $3.5 billion, robotics startups really are facing key players in the world of business. To stand a chance against such global companies, your business needs to be innovative, forward-thinking and quick to market. You need to make sure you launch your product before your competitors do.
First mover advantage is very real, and those who are able to get to market months ahead of the rest have a decent opportunity to build brand awareness and secure a lucrative position. Consumers start to associate your brand with the product and can’t imagine going anywhere else. Take eBay, who was the first company to run active online auctions, Coca-Cola, who marketed the first cola soft drink or, closer to the world of robotics, Apple, who was the first to introduce touch-screen tech.
Marketing and building product awareness are pre-requisites to a successful launch, but they give information and ideas to other companies, many of which, as we have seen, have much bigger budgets to make it happen. A delayed product launch opens up the door for competitors, many of who have much bigger budgets to make it happen. This can seriously detriment expected revenues and profit.
Risk Losing Team Members
This is perhaps the most difficult consequence to come back from if your product delay is launched. Cash can be accumulated, investors can be appeased and being second to market can still result in success. Your star team of engineers, however, are irreplaceable.
Engineers are in extremely high demand. The number of positions available is higher than the number of active qualified engineers, and so the best engineers on your team can easily find another job. If your engineers think that the product is dead in the water, or that your company doesn’t have such a bright future, then they’re going to leave.
Reflect on that for a moment… you need to keep your engineers happy! This is the reason why the highest paid engineers are very often offered generous remuneration packages which include bonuses and profit shares.
Keeping your top engineers committed to your company is a challenge at the best of times, and can be very costly. Continually delaying product launches will put you at risk of losing your best team members. This will perpetuate the problems the originally caused the delay, and make it more difficult to make future launch dates.
Turn It Around
If your company has suffered from a delayed product launch, it’s not too late to turn it around. The main cause of product launch delays is a lack of highly qualified engineers who can overcome any challenges on the route to market. The main consequence of missing your launch date (as well as cash flow issues) is that you risk losing your top engineers.
Therefore, most causes and effects of delayed launches can be solved with proper recruiting and human resource management. Recruitment can be exceptionally difficult in the robotics industry, but VenTech are able to secure top-level engineers to fill even the toughest positions, and with short notice too.
(See how you can do it too by watching our webinar)
If your delayed product launch is affecting your profits and your human resources, then contact VenTech today to find highly qualified engineers who can help your company to turn the corner and get your product to market.