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Thursday, June 27, 2013

Great ideas live or die based on your planning and execution

Dinner anyone?
Great ideas come and go.  Some people have several new ideas a day while other people have them infrequently.  Converting a great idea to reality requires planning and excellent execution.  For example, seeing a live turkey may remind you of dinner, but turning it into dinner requires a number of steps.   Some people consider a few of the steps to be undesirable. 

Like your turkey dinner, a business requires careful planning, successful development, and great execution to convert a concept into a successful company.  Occasionally, entrepreneurs forget or neglect to consider key elements of the business.  Excitement can cause a flurry of thoughts and plans while leading one to overlook or forget important areas.  Involving your team, including experienced mentors and advisors, is a great way ensure you identify topics requiring more attention.

It may be hard to believe, but one poorly defined topic is how the company plans to generate revenue.  Identification of your customers and their price points is critical to your business model.  Projections made solely on theoretical markets are only a starting point; a much closer review is required to ensure you get it right.  This topic should be included in any business plan and presentation.  Questioning from potential investors will focus on whether you have it right or not.  Investors are most interested in your revenues because it directly relates to whether they can obtain their desired return.

Production is another topic requiring great consideration; where products are made and who makes them, translates to manufacturing costs and quality.  Outsourcing manufacturing or having your own plant have positive and negative points to consider.  Planning for success requires consideration of all aspects.  You may elect to modify your plans as the business develops, but you must start with a good plan if you want to have a fighting chance for success. 

These topics may seem simplistic to some entrepreneurs because they think more logically or have experience.  Entrepreneurs are not all created equal. Some see the big picture but fail to see the steps taking an idea to a functional business.  Knowing your strengths and weaknesses is a step closer to ensuring you have the correct team around you.  Fill in your negative attributes by attracting the experience that makes for a well-rounded capability in the company.  The combination of a great idea with proper planning and execution is required if you really want to WIN big.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

4 OOPS factors to avoid

Avoiding problems are much easier than correcting them!

Bad things happen to good people for many reasons.  Individuals are different and some are great to interact with while others should be avoided.  Development of a business takes lots of time, money, and energy.  Developing a great reputation is important to the success of the business.  Association with others can affect your reputation.  There are those that bring complexity to your company and those that enhance and improve the business.  Great care is required to ensure you are always dealing with those that improve your business.

Likewise, certain business parameters are critical to success.  Some chose to avoid seeking the correct characteristics, while others focus on them with great care.  Business is a mix of skill, execution, association, and desire.  Making money requires careful selection of the right business models and people.  It is easy to walk into traps.  The following are a few OOPS factors to avoid.

1.      Investor:  An investor that seems to mean well but never executes or follows through on promises is someone to avoid.  Occasionally such actions are egregious and bring shame to other organizations.  For example, an investor promising to provide funds for a competition award places the organizers in a bad light when failing to follow through.  Failing to make good on promised introductions to other investors increases concerns about the individual.  When this investor exhibits the trend with companies in other states, one can only assume this investor is a person to run from!

2.      Profit:  No matter how many times the business model suggests the revenues are not sufficient to become a real business, some entrepreneurs seem to continue to develop the enterprise as a business.  They never explore ways to expand the revenue model and get caught in the trap of building and spending with minimal chance of making any real money.  Lifestyle businesses are great, but at least try to break even.  Stay away from business concepts where there may be insufficient revenues!

3.      Personnel:  Building a business requires having great people.  Sometimes the selection misses the mark.  There is a difference between missing the mark and hiring a disaster.  A CFO in personal bankruptcy or a CEO sued for improper actions increases the chances of a death spiral for your company.  Select those you associate with very carefully!

4.      Organization:  Some are great organizers and planners and others are not.  Failure to plan and execute properly on a business is a great way to fail.  The ability to plan is critical in business.  Whether you are the one responsible or someone else is in charge, ensure that you plan and develop contingencies! Run the business to succeed.

Taffy Williams is the author of:  Think Agile:  How Smart Entrepreneurs Adapt in Order to Succeed to via Amazon