Entrepreneurship is difficult.
It is not easy to come up with an idea for new business and find the means for its implementation.
But it’s even more difficult to achieve the goals set in the business plan. After a short period of euphoria, a businessman often discovers that everything is not going as intended.
New firms are faced with problems such as sales decline, unforeseen expenses, staff turnover. All this is complicated by the lack of necessary support from venture capitalists, management consultants, lawyers, and other specialists.
Start-up companies, regardless of the nature of the goods or services they offer, have to solve the same problems.
Guy Kawasaki writes that the best way to deal with them is to prepare in advance.
This book is available as:
Mantra and Business Plan
The popular myth that you can start a business in the garage and get rich in no time is nothing more than a beautiful fairy tale.
Serial entrepreneurs who, it would seem, ate a dog on the promotion of a new business, in fact, experienced more falls than ups. The path to success begins with a concise phrase, or mantra, in a few words describing the purpose of your business.
A good mantra is much more useful than the traditional description of a corporate mission, usually too long, banal and unreadable.
A properly-composed mantra helps a lot in finding financing.
“By its nature, the search for funding sources … is most like a blitz-date system. And in both cases, people decide within five minutes how much they are interested in further communication with you. ”
Develop a business plan and other documents with an eye on potential investors. Write a short summary of the project and bring it to perfection. If an ever-busy venture investor comes down to reading your business plan, then most likely he will read the resume, so it should be clear and convincing.
“Entrepreneurs lie no less than venture investors. The difference is that they themselves sometimes do not realize this. ”
Long and complex presentations are generally ineffective. When preparing a presentation in slides, adhere to the “10/20/30” rule: volume – no more than 10 slides, total duration – no more than 20 minutes, font – 30 points and larger. You should always start with a description of what your company is doing.
The Summary you might like: 10 Career Essentials
Venture Capitalists and Business Angels
Entrepreneurs and venture investors are playing a game whose course is predictable. If a venture investor says that he likes your idea, but his partners haven’t found an understanding, or that he is ready to invest in your company when it grows, he’s most likely deceiving you.
In their promises, venture investors tend to inflate the time they are willing to devote to advising companies that receive financing from them. They are unlikely to devote more than five hours a month to your firm.
“Management consulting is bad because it makes us believe that project implementation is simple, and a deep understanding of what is happening is complicated, although the opposite is often true in startups.”
Entrepreneurs, in turn, also mislead venture investors, promising them incredible growth rates. They claim that what they are doing is unique – although the presence of numerous competitors only confirms the viability of the proposed business model.
Entrepreneurs claim that they can coexist with major market players, who they say are too large and slow to pose a serious threat.
“Most of us cannot understand the extent to which the situation controls our behavior.”
Entrepreneurs need to look for investors who have experience in sales and practical knowledge. Avoid people working in the field of management consulting, as they are focused on creating new ideas, and not on implementing business plans.
Beware of those investors who in the past were engaged in financial accounting: many of them are inclined to think that history not only repeats itself but also helps to foresee the future.
“Always spend less money than you think is necessary, because your main task is to create demand, not to satisfy it.”
Business angels are investors who are ready to invest in companies that are not large enough to interest venture capitalists. Only “accredited investors” can become business angels.
This category does not include individuals with little or little investment knowledge. If your business is not connected with medical technology, do not look for business angels among doctors, including dentists.
They will drive you crazy, constantly interfering in the affairs of the company and demanding the impossible. Look for an “angel” who has enough money and who understands your industry and related technologies.
Babson College (USA) recently conducted a study of companies created by its graduates in 1985-2003.
Researchers found no evidence that companies with a business plan achieved better results than those that did not. Some entrepreneurs adhered to their far from always successful business plans simply because they spent months developing them.
The best business plans have a well and convincingly written a two-page resume and a page with financial calculations, and their total volume does not exceed 20 pages, taking into account all applications.
“PR is better than advertising if you are talking about how good you are, and the best PR is if you are talking about how good you are, others say.”
Review your financial forecasts every three months.
Never make financial plans for more than 12-18 months in advance. Try to calculate costs as accurately as possible.
The assessment of future incomes may turn out to be erroneous due to the influence of external factors, and there is nothing unexpected in it, but an incorrect forecast of expenses can negatively affect business management.
Limit your expenses until the growth of income justifies the increase in costs. Sometimes entrepreneurs think that with the expansion of the scale of activity, its effectiveness also grows: for such businessmen, expenses always go ahead of income.
“Partnerships are rarely created between players of equal weight.”
If sales do not reach the expected level, do not neglect even minor transactions: small victories will give you confidence. In addition, small customers can become large over time.
Do not fire sales managers without giving them time to rectify the situation – to increase work efficiency and increase the number of transactions.
With proper management, you can survive a recession in sales by constantly caring for cost savings. How best to organize a saving mode depends on the type of business.
The most common measures include refusing to hire new employees and allocating lower amounts than planned for marketing and bonus payments to managers.
Marketing and Sales
Marketing is the engine of sales. Even the best goods and services are not able to sell themselves. Try to see typical mistakes in your marketing that are easy to prevent or correct.
So, companies that require visitors to their site to register immediately, thereby scaring them away. Consumer interest in the site disappears due to the lack of a search function, as well as the requirement to enter an email address in order to access the materials.
“The goal of the” milk cows “is to find new, not yet fully grown” calves .”
Those entrepreneurs who correctly use marketing technology can achieve serious financial results through the creation of their own brand. Firms operating in the service sector are strengthening their brand position primarily through public relations, and not through advertising. Brand value is determined by what consumers say about it.
PR tools, unlike advertising, help to convince the public of the value of your brand. Strong brands carry a clear marketing message, emphasizing the ability of a product or service to change their lives for the better and bring joy to consumers.
A company with an outstanding brand never attacks its competitors.
“Innovation is a complex, confusing process in which there are no simple workarounds.”
To support sales, you must always have before your eyes a list of techniques that work best. Sales should be actively engaged, without waiting for customers themselves to show interest in your product or service.
Communicating with a prospective client, let him talk – so you can catch in his cues the motives that he is guided by when buying.
“There are a lot of people in stable companies who are as inclined to innovation and revolutionary thinking as independent entrepreneurs saving on everything and eating rice with soy sauce.”
Determine which of the representatives of the buyer company determines the conclusion of the transaction, and try to gain the trust of the right people.
Offer a potential client to make a purchase for a small amount at first, so that later, when he understands all the benefits of your offer, a larger deal can be concluded.
“Evangelism” and Innovation
When potential customers become real and also satisfied, they turn into “evangelists” who carry the message of your brand to others. That is why it is so important that the product is innovative.
No matter how much a company invests in brand advertising, true adherents will be given only products that can shock the public. To turn consumers into true fans of your brand, try to take a fresh look at the problem of customer satisfaction. Successful innovators themselves enjoy their products and services.
Their inventions change the market situation, making competitors’ products obsolete. Software manufacturers literally force customers to abandon old versions, constantly offering new, improved ones. “Macintosh kills Apple II.
“Almost one of the most important mistakes you can make in your life is to agree with what everyone knows and to resist the unknown. Actually, you need to do the opposite. ”
The English acronym DICEE helps entrepreneurs to navigate what you should first pay attention to when developing a product. It consists of the first letters of words that name the five most important features of a quality product: deep, intelligent, complete, elegant, emotive.
“Depth” is the ability of a product or service to meet the needs of a consumer for a long time, revealing to him more and more new opportunities.
“Intelligence” is a well-designed, functional design;
“Completeness” – in additional features, including maintenance and technical support;
“Elegance” – in ease of use and intuitive interface.
For those who would like to learn how to influence the views of others, there is an excellent guide – the book “Psychology of Influence” by psychology professor Robert Cialdini.
Cialdini identifies six universal principles of influence, including the principles of reciprocity, authority, and goodwill. In addition, people are more interested in rare goods than readily available (scarcity principle).
They are always ready to join a common opinion (consensus principle) and agree to conditions that were previously recognized as acceptable (commitment principle).
Use this knowledge for business development and productive interaction with investors, employees, partners, suppliers, and customers.
“Hire people infected with love for their cause.”
The ability to influence important people will bring you great benefits, but it’s even better to learn how to shape the opinions of ordinary people. Without high-profile titles, they, nevertheless, form the basis of society, and much depends on them.
Imagine that a passenger has a conflict with an airline representative selling tickets.
If the passenger behaves kindly and shows a willingness to solve the problem for mutual benefit, the seller is likely to meet him. Otherwise, the airline employee may well send the passenger and baggage in different directions.
In the late 1990s, a flood of investments poured into Internet startups. To find an investor, the founders sometimes just had to hint at a collaboration with a large well-known company.
However, a real partnership involves much more than the opportunity to boast of friendship with a well-known company. Partners should help your company develop its best qualities, and not mask flaws.
“Companies win only because they lose, stomp on the spot, stall and reap the fruits of failure.”
The most reasonable motives for a partnership are good numbers in reporting, in other words, a significant increase in revenue or cost reduction.
Usually one of the partners is stronger than the other, and if the partnership agreement does not protect the weakest side, it will not last long.
A correctly drawn up partnership agreement stipulates the possibility for each of the parties to quickly and simply end the cooperation.
Considering the pros and cons of a potential partnership, try not to ask the opinions of men: they are by their nature ready to cooperate with anyone.
Women evaluate the prospects of partnership more realistically.
Engage lawyers only after you have reached preliminary agreements with your future partner: their intervention too early can slow down the process.
Hiring employees is an art.
Nevertheless, the selection of personnel is subject to several basic principles. Do not evaluate candidates only by the level of education.
They must meet the specific requirements and needs of the company. An employee without specialized education, but sharing values and supporting the mission of the company, maybe more effective than a graduate of the best university.
Attracting and firing employees requires a conscious approach. Staff reduction is better done in one go than firing people in small groups. Dismiss the worst workers.
If you reduce those who work well, it will negatively affect the atmosphere in the team. Before dismissing an employee, consult with uninterested third parties and consult with labor laws. Document all the reasons for dismissal.
When cutting, avoid hasty decisions.
The low productivity of an employee is sometimes explained by factors that he cannot influence.
- Maybe he was faced with an impossible task or several tasks that contradict each other?
- If things were going better in the company, would you cut it?
Give employees at least one opportunity (or better – more) to achieve higher productivity indicators. You cannot fire a person without giving him a chance to improve – it is immoral.
- A mediocre business idea attracts mediocre employees and investors. Create something special.
- Starting a business is easier than presenting good results to investors.
- A laconic phrase describing the activities of the company, or a mantra, will help in finding financing.
- Studies do not confirm that companies with a business plan achieve better results than those that do not.
- We must not forget that venture investors and entrepreneurs are always deceiving each other.
- The five most important features of a quality product are: “deep”, “reasonable”, “completed”, “elegant”, “exciting”.
- It is much more difficult to ensure the necessary level of sales than the timely execution of orders.
- Creating partnerships makes sense only for the sake of increasing revenue or reducing costs.
- It is possible that a candidate who supports the mission of your company should be hired, even if he does not quite meet other requirements.
- The approach to hiring and firing employees must be systematic in order to ensure the objectivity of decisions.
Why You Need to Read “Rules For Revolutionaries”
- To get quality advice from the man who knows what he is doing
- To find out what it takes to be a successful entrepreneur
- To launch a profitable company
This book is available as: