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Posted: November 01, 2009

Top 10 lessons from “Crossing the Chasm”

It can be a long journey, but these might help keep you on track

Dave Mead

At a recent ACG Denver luncheon (http://chapters.acg.org/denver/), Chris Carrington, CEO of Alpine Access Corporation, spoke about Alpine Access' 11-year journey to cross the chasm and achieve significant adoption.

Alpine Access provides 100 percent virtual call center services for 24 x 7 x 365 outsourced customer care for Fortune 1000 organizations. They handle inbound calls for customer service, sales, tech support and collections with 2,800 employees working from home in more than 1,100 cities across the country.

While Alpine has emerged as a successful company today, it has been a long journey. Mr. Carrington used Geoffrey Moore's 1991 book, Crossing the Chasm, to describe the sometimes arduous and time-consuming process of gaining widespread adoption of a truly disruptive innovation.

He provided his top 10 lessons learned about moving from concept to adoption to the mainstream market. While the book is now 18 years old, it remains the bible for adoption of new concepts, whether they are new technologies, new business models or other disruptive innovations. Our thanks to Chris Carrington for allowing us to share this with you.

The Top 10:

#10. However much capital you think you will need, quadruple it
- The biggest mistake entrepreneurs make is not raising enough money.

# 9. However much time you think you will need, double it
- See #10.

# 8. Even the best business plans cannot account for market variables outside your control
- See # 10...again.

# 7. Don't underestimate the talent needed to cross the chasm
- You guessed it...see #10 again.

# 6. There is no one way to cross the chasm...be prepared to change course
- See all of the above.

# 5. No matter how different your start-up is, all successful companies have done what you are trying to do
- Read and internalize the blueprints of success.

# 4. Chase really large markets
- Big fish, little pond...or little fish in a much bigger pond?

# 3. Differentiate yourself from your competitors
- Redefine the pond.

# 2. Don't underestimate the importance of informed intuition and gut feel
- Planning only gets you so far...much of success is being in the right place at the right time for when opportunity presents itself.

# 1. Celebrate the wins
- Market traction is encouraging for your employees, your investors and your clients.

Is it time for your company to retool the offensive side of your business? What steps are you taking? What is working for you? What is not working?

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David Mead is President of The Mead Consulting Group, a consulting and advisory services firm, based in Englewood, that has been helping Colorado companies grow since 1981. The firm's 40+ senior consultants with operating backgrounds assist Colorado-headquartered companies with strategic growth and execution, improving profitability and cash flow and maximizing value at exit. Dave is the past Chairman of ACG Denver and a long-time Board member and is on the Board of Young Americans Bank. Contact Dave at: meaddp@MeadConsultingGroup.com or (303) 660-8135.

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