Steps to consider to start and grow a company. Basics are provided to help entrepreneurs. Examples may relate to Biotech, Pharma and Medical Device businesses, but the ideas apply to most technology fields.
One of the many tasks a CEO performs is engaging and explaining the
company to the investment community.They
may use a positive spin to present their data in the best manner.Positive spin is a method were data, while
factual, is presented in a manner to highlight the positive and down play any
negative.You may hear this term a great
deal in politics as it is a means of trying to get public sentiment on the side
of the politician.Whether one is a CEO
or a politician, there is a fine line between positive spin and over doing your
story.It does not take long before the
public sees the spin for what is and they become less likely to believe future
Investors expect to know the facts! It is not good practice to
present incorrect information and it may even be fraudulent if you stretch the
information too much.Selling your story
must be done while retaining your integrity and ensuring the listeners trust you.It is reasonable to explore all the positives
and negatives of an event and try to present them in a more positive
light.However, there is a balancing act
required in order to prevent presenting a story that is not believable or seen
Honesty is the best policy and CEOs must adhere to this when
selling to others. Investors must trust the CEO and believe they are receiving the
facts regardless of the event.With this
in mind, I am providing a joke found on Facebook because it relates to the
topic and may lighten up your day.
A guy is driving around the back woods
of Montana and he sees a sign in front of a broken down shanty-style house:
'Talking Dog For Sale 'He rings the bell and the owner appears and tells him
the dog is in the backyard.
The guy goes into the backyard and
sees a nice looking Labrador retriever sitting there.
'Yep,' the Lab replies.
After the guy recovers from the shock
of hearing a dog talk, he says 'So, what's your story?'
The Lab looks up and says, 'Well, I
discovered that I could talk when I was pretty young. I wanted to help the
government, so... I told the CIA.
In no time at all they had me jetting
from country to country, sitting in rooms with spies and world leaders, because
no one figured a dog would be eavesdropping.'
'I was one of their most valuable spies
for eight years running...
But the jetting around really tired me
out, and I knew I wasn't getting any younger so I decided to settle down. I
signed up for a job at the airport to do some undercover security, wandering
nearsuspicious characters and listening in.
I uncovered some incredible dealings and was
awarded a batch of medals.'
'I got married, had a mess of puppies,
and now I'm just retired.'
The guy is amazed. He goes back in and
asks the owner what he wants for the dog.
'Ten dollars,' the guy says.
'Ten dollars? This dog is amazing! Why
on earth are you selling him so cheap?'
'Because he's is a Bullshitter. He's never
been out of the yard'
I hope you got the take home message from this story.I for one have listened to investor pitches
that went over the line.It did not take
long before the CEO was considered to be like the talking Labrador throughout
the investment community.Occasionally,
there is a fine line between selling to gain investment and stretching a story
so far that the investor sees you as not factual and misleading.So, Think
Agile and prepare your presentations to remain positive but also HONEST AND FACTUAL.
It is impossible to know what is being communicated in these!
Some people are able to see a problem and rapidly determine
solutions; the problem may be business or non-business. Clear communication is required when
describing a fix to a problem and information provided must be explicit; remember,
you see the fix, they may not.
Recently, I was asked to help repair a lamp.The lamp was missing the knob that rotates
when turning on a lamp.My instructions
were, “pick up the complete part from the
hardware store. The complete part includes the piece that the bulb screws into
and the switch.If the rotating knob
does not fit, we can replace the whole unit.”A few days later I asked to see what was
purchased.The person that selected the
item in the hardware was not told to be careful to purchase a part with a
switch that rotates rather than move from side to side.The individual (a Ph.D.) rarely repairs anything
and has limited experience in such matters.In addition, the individual did
not carefully examine the broken lamp prior to purchasing the new part.The result was that the wrong part was
People are not always familiar with solving a wide range of
problems.When providing instructions it
is important to ensure that the communication you intended to make was clear to
the other person.They may not see the
problem and solution the way you do.Take
a look at the photos above.One has to
wonder what problems led to the creation of these signs.I do not understand what is being
communicated and clearly there is a different message the creator intended to
The same is true in marketing products or services.Some venders will provide a more optimistic scenario.
It is easy to believe the information as standard when what was stated was really
the maximum result.For example, being
told that a proposal may net as much as $50K, when that amount is rarely given
can mislead the recipient. People tend to hear the information that is most
beneficial to them and assume their result will be close to that presented. It
may require follow up questions to determine a range of what to expect and the likelihood
that you will get that result.
Agile thinkers may see the pieces of information come together in
a manner to generate a new solution. Describing that solution to others is nearly
as critical as conceiving of the means of solving a problem.This is because great execution is often
needed to reach the end goal.If the
team does not understand your directions, your result may not be what you
In short:Practice your
communication skills and try painting a complete and clear picture to
others.You may find you get more of
what is needed and less of what they thought you said!
You must learn when to take your "eyes off the ball"!
Entrepreneurs must learn to balance two skills and know when to
use them; a) Focus and, b) Agile Thinking.Focus is driven into entrepreneurs by investors and experienced
managers.The ability to be more agile
in one’s thinking comes from practice. When the situation dictates, agile
thinking should take the lead over focus.
Examples of these two skills are found in discovery experimentation
in a laboratory.Scientists must conduct
extensive literature to learn about the field they pursue.They then develop a hypothesis that requires
testing.Proper experimental design
forms the preparation leading to the testing and results that either confirm or
refute the hypothesis.A high degree of
focus is used in the execution of the experimentation to ensure proper procedures
and completeness of the tests. However,
the agile thinking comes into play during the learning phase and interpretation
The learning phase is the time when a scientist may let their mind
run wild.The goal is developing a hypothesis
that covers the total of all facts known to date.Once the tests are complete, the interpretation
of the results and any future experimental designs require agile thinking.It is through this agile phase that new hypothesizes
or amazing discoveries become apparent.
The same is true for business.The art of preparing a business plan requires extensive learning about
the sector and business.The plan will
contain a course of action requiring the entrepreneur to focus.However, since the business landscape changes
on a regular basis and things rarely go as planned, the entrepreneur must remain
alert and use the agile thinking skills to make corrections and chart new
courses.Thinking agile also is
important for the entrepreneur because they learn to monitor the surroundings
and possibly evade road blocks.
It is important to keep ones “eye
on the ball” so to speak!But,
observation and adjustments are sometimes needed depending on the
situation.Focus on the end goals
ensures you know where you are going.Being alert and using agile thinking may help you plan more than one
path to achieve your objective.Alternatively, the agile thinking may allow you to see superior
opportunities and identify a means of capitalizing on them.
and Thinking Agile are two skills that if used properly can work to
your benefit.Learning to use these two
skills takes practice or you may become too diffuse in our efforts and fail to
make real progress!The ability to analyze
any situation and identify the smartest path to success can help you go further
and achieve the success you desire.
It is easy to stay locked in to a rigid way of thinking and
in performance of activities. When traveling, you see a road and proceed down
the path until you find an impediment or blockage.Then what do you do?This is where many entrepreneurs get stuck
and have problems overcoming problems.They create a plan and fail to consider alternatives or potential
hazards.Once faced with an impediment,
they lose time while deciding how to react.Alternatively, they may continue with the same old daily activities when
a change may create a more dramatic shift in results.Thinking Agile is critical to enhanced
performance and eliminating impediments.
The word Agile suggests an ability to move quickly, easily,
smarter and in a clever manner. An entrepreneur
recently asked me how Agile was different from The Pivot.A Pivot is a subset of Agile in that one
makes a quick change.Agile thinking is involved
in determining whether to pivot or not.Agile
thinking leads to use of all available information and advanced planning.Agile thinking is important to recognizing a
situation where a Pivot makes sense and may work.
Take a look at the photo.The far off region appears to be in the same plane as the high nearby
rocks.If you were to completely survey
the site, it would immediately become clear that the near rocks are on the edge
of a cliff.Moving in a straight line
would be a severe hazard.You can make a
quick turn right or left and you will find the same problem of facing the edge
of a cliff.It is only after a complete
examination of the total surroundings that backtracking to the rear provides
the safest path home. Agile includes survey of surroundings and consideration
The art of Agile Thinking is a skill that can be
learned.The ability to consider and
evaluate and make plans rapidly is part of the process.It also includes some of the following
·Trusting the people working with you
·Relying on other peoples skills and knowledge in
the areas where you may be lacking
·Short working cycles to deliver a minimally
·Inspect and Adapt your plans constantly
·Fail Fast and Fail Often so you can learn what
doesn't work and then move towards what will.
The article “4
Actions toward becoming an agile entrepreneur” provides other actions that
are helpful to becoming more agile.Learning
to become more agile in your thinking will help in identifying novel
alternatives and strategies that may increase your chances of success.Agile thinking is important to new and
experienced entrepreneurs especially in a startup!