50+ Companies, >$2B Raised, 4 Public companies, Held all C-Level Positions, Tech-Finance-Ops, Cloud, and hyper-growth, Global Markets, and have built fastest growing companies in the world.
I have architected 2 of the largest cloud infrastructures in the world. Worked in highly diverse global environments and I am currently building platforms for Financial services companies, Universities, Fitness companies, and others.
I build complete industry or enterprise extra-nets, that monetize everything. I only do two things, show you how to make money or how to save money!
I have utilized a Platform approach via the WEB to accomplish generational Marketing. I use this term to recognize that various geographic/ethic areas are more advanced than others in regards to messaging, methods, modalities, and overall purchase habits. If you would like to discuss, just setup a call
So you have a multi-variate of Business Innovation issues at this stage. At 200 people your own success and people become your #1 Enemy, and #1 Asset. Change will be very hard, you cannot capsize the machine to overhaul it, and you cannot take it into dry-dock either.
You also may need to graduate, from a coding company to a Platform Provider. Coding is going the way of the Dinosaurs. I know I have built many platform companies, and ran many coders, and now no coders :)
I can mentor you through all of this, I have 4 IPO's, Technical, Marketing, operations, and Finance backgrounds, and built a couple of the fastest growing companies in the world.
MVP, MVP..... Go as simple as possible, and make small changes often. Add feedback functions to keep the buzz, and include your clients in the process, they then get the pride of ownership... Think Pre-Launch, MVP0.1 Launch MVP1.0, timely revisions on feedback, build tightest customer engagement ever. I run a platform company that has nightly Revs on Apps, weekly revs on workflows, all customer driven.
Media and buzz are good, clients are better!
Pro-Bono....every senior architect will help you if you have a great concept, you have thought it out, and you are willing to look at all of your own false-positives, and truly go out and validate your idea.
Marketing is not what marketing used to be. In the last 4 years marketing has shifted from Agency, demographics, target marketing and block and tackle product management/marketing to a Digital Monster. To survive and then maybe succeed, you have to understand how 75% of marketing has shifted to technical automation, behavior modelling, and the systems that track and help control the behavior, and then the monetization engines required for today's marketing. It is not just a website anymore or analytics.
Big companies will give you a sense of security and structure. They are good on giving you 1 years worth of experience for the rest of your life. A startup will give you 5-10 years of experience every year. Your choice:)
That is typically called a Joint Venture around a product, product family, market etc.... To really understand your investment this type of structure tracks separate financials of the JV only, so you can actually see your investment working.
You should plan on dynamic pricing tied to Audiences, Persona Groups, and Personas, we build platforms that price down to an individual pricing unit per user.
Do the extra work and make your service price flexible, and always start at the top of the market.
So a few options, you could create a phantom tracking stock and never give any equity away, and this can structured like a contract, with profit sharing, exit sharing etc. Or if you really want to give equity, make sure to come to an agreement on the percentage, and that they will be diluted with new shareholders. You should issue 100% of the shares up front, and make them forfeitable or cancelable if they leave, under-perform etc. You can pull back that equity. And they get the benefit of lower base cost, less accounting etc. Options are the worst, and warrants may be a good method also. Or find yourself a company to JV with and add some serious horsepower to your plan. We do this with Startups to jump-start them into platform businesses.
How much your site content is updated is most important. We receive about 300 pieces of new content per month. Each new piece drives a new sitemap into all the search engines, so they crawl us 4-10 times per day. We are always #1 in search priority. FYI, keywords are dead from a Marketing perspective, focus on page tags, content tags, and new content placement and site-mapping, More important is social trend and behavior management.
These are all highly automated today, knowing the behavioral engine logic, and the monetization engine logic and having them in sync is primary mission objective for today's marketing. BTW, most people do not even have a clue on these engines :)
Validate, Validate, Validate, and Validate one more time. Score for positive sense of idea/concept
Gut feel is .25
Your Gut Feel and a Inside Industry Peer is .50
Outside Peers = .75
Potential Clients = .90
Potential Orders = 1
Real Orders = 110%
Get to a score of 1 or better and you may have a winner if you can execute, to execute you will need resources, Money, People, Materials, Intelligence, and a Ton of Energy.
You will also need to be able to take rejection well, and also under stand the rule of 9. Rule of 9 is the multiplication of; it will take you 3x the time you estimate, and 3 times the cash to get to a steady state of running. So you will need 9 times the energy, force, passion to get to where you want to be.