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Posts Tagged ‘growth’

Why wait?

I just completed browsing an interesting entry over at On Startups: Wimps Wait which is suggesting that releasing a product is more important than waiting. I believe, as in many things, there is a balance in the middle. Here is the takeaway I suggest from the blog.

  1. Your product will never be to the point of you being comfortable at releasing it. You need to realize the point of diminishing returns on further tweaking it;
  2. Revolutionaries release, wimps wait — be the first to market!
  3. It is better to have customers with a half-way product that they accept, then a perfect product that hasn’t been released (i.e. zero customers);
  4. You will be more reluctant about the times you didn’t release;
  5. At the end of the day, “just ship it” — do your best and then let it go;
  6. Take a look back and realize just how many times you thought you did work out all the bugs, all the time spent, and at the end of the day, customers will were unhappy or found bugs — will waiting on your release for two more months really make a difference;
  7. To succeed, you must release — product in development doesn’t bring in revenue;

At the end of the day, be it product or service, you need to understand when you have done your best, and that more time will not significantly improve your product/service, and you just need to let it go into the marketplace and see how well it does. Be ready to adapt and change as necessary. Fix bugs, rework contracts, etc. But a few grumpy clients are better than none when you’re starting out.

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Investing in the future

I was discussing with a friend over lunch about the concept of micro-loans and peer-to-peer lending. They have had an amazing rate of success recently, and I believe those programs will only increase in 2009, especially as banks continue to tighten down on who they’re lending to.

This brought about an idea: would you contribute $100 towards the success of another entrepreneur? A network of individuals who understand the power of collaborative efforts, investing in the future, and the benefits of new start-ups. Say, we were to pull together 5 sponsors per business and then distribute those funds to pre-qualified businesses. What our primary checkpoints would revolve around business concept solvency and a non-negative business/criminal record. Personal credit score may not apply.

Take a moment and let us know what you think about this!

Interested in learning

Continued from before, it is very important to understand that we are all life long learners. There is always something new to learn, and more to understand. Choosing the right sources for information, including related trade and general business publications, journals, etc., is excellent. Moreover, attending low cost training seminars frequently is great! Try to get to at least 4 per year – once a quarter. Focus on business related topics, and leave your trade related training out of the 4 per year. For example, I spend at least one seminar a year on tax related issues – what’s changed, what can I do better; I also spend at least one on human relations – how to work better with your employees, as well as what do I need to legally understand; I also spend at least one on business growth; leaving one open to whatever strikes me this time around. The first three are essential learning, so you can see how easy it is to go to at least 4 per year.

I would also try to mix up the training between large firms or travelling seminars against smaller firms offering training. Keep an eye on your local Business Journal which often lists low cost (or sometimes free) training seminars.

Invest in your future by growing your business understanding. Also, while you’re there, don’t forget to network – make those future business relationships!

Virtual Office Space

Sep 2, 2008 1 comment

During the beginning startup phase of a business, it is essential to manage startup costs. Many entrepreneurs want to go with the corporate image, complete with the business cards, and fansy business furniture. This is based on two important things: (1) the corporate image is important to may industries; (2) the owners pride.

The first point is very valid, there is a need to present a professional image to receive the confidence from prospective customers. The second point is important to note simply from a self-realization standpoint. You need to understand that some decisions are less about rationality, and more about personal feelings.

One area which has seen a significant boon is the virtual office space. This enables your small business to have a physical presence, even though you really don’t need to be in a real office space. This fits for business where you work out of your home, or perhaps out of your car. Take the mobile bookkeeper, or event mobile carpet cleaning service. How about an application developer or consultant who works from their home office. Yet, some of the benefits of a real office space come in handy, such as the professional receptionist to answer and forward your calls, available office or conference room space, package delivery and even hourly administrative assistants to help you.

These services are becoming more popular and their rates have remained very affordable. From around $99 to $300 you can have these services to provide your company an excellent, professional image – and also removes your home address from many business forms and paperwork.

I highly recommend you look into a virtual office space for your next startup.

Are you the sales manager too?

A great post over at Young Entrepreneur discusses that fact that in most small businesses the owner is the key sales person at the company. And while most of us are more interested in the product that we’ve developed, or the service we provide – we are the de-facto sales person. And as the business grows it is very easy to become overwhelmed with the business end of the company and neglect sales. However a continued focus on sales in the key to sustainable growth — or even to stave off attrition.

Evan Carmichael, quoting Sales guru Jeffrey Gitomer, outlined 7 reasons why the principle is the best sales person. It is worth looking at. And yet we still try to expand out business by hiring a sales person to hand this duty off to. We have and have failed twice at it! The key to this is what Jeffrey calls his 7.5th point — even with a sales person, the principle still needs to champion and lead-by-example the sales portion of the business. In a entrepreneurship video I watched a few years ago, it showed an interview with the founder of Netscape, back when they were a viable company — and people actually purchased Internet browsing software. In there, the principle spoke about how he monitored and personally trained his first sales person. And that he took an interactive and proactive approach to training and leading his first sales person – a process he repeated until he had a very size-able sales team.

So, how have you handled selling your company lately?

Bob Parson’s 16 Rules

While I am not a big fan of Bob Parson, I ran across this list of 16 Rules which make a whole lot of sense. Here they are by title, but for a description, checkout the link: Bob Parsons 16 Rules Poster

1. Get and stay out of your comfort zone.
2. Never give up. 
3. When you’re ready to quit, you’re closer than you think. 
4. With regard to whatever worries you, not only accept the worst thing that could happen, but make it a point to quantify what the worst thing could be. 
5. Focus on what you want to have happen. 
6. Take things a day at a time.
7. Always be moving forward. 
8. Be quick to decide. 
9. Measure everything of significance. 
10. Anything that is not managed will deteriorate.
11. Pay attention to your competitors, but pay more attention to what you’re doing. 
12. Never let anybody push you around. 
13. Never expect life to be fair. 
14. Solve your own problems. 
15. Don’t take yourself too seriously. 
16. There’s always a reason to smile. 
Copyright © 2005-2007 Bob Parsons. All rights reserved.

The business plan (part 1)

I made a new network connection yesterday with a sales agent at a housing development who was thinking about starting his own business. He had tried before but it failed quickly. As a result, he ended up among the class of working employees instead of Entrepreneur! One of the biggest keys I shared with him is the elementary concept of a business plan. It is amazing how many people know that they shouldhave a business plan, yet neglect to make one. The value I find in it, is that when the going gets rough, and things come up which makes business difficult, either by mistakes or other events such as customer lawsuits or tax issues or whatever, you can always fall back on your business plan as an established baseline. It is the foundation that a business is built on top of, which is not subject to the emotions and feelings of the moment.