In tough times, operating in a non revenue generating business gets difficult. All your business may even dry up.
It doesn’t mean these activites aren’t important, it’s more a reflection of human behaviour. Unless the link of the activity to the transaction is clear – it will get pulled. This is true for consulting, marketing budgets or even your job. So the question we then must ask is this – how close are we to where money changes hands? Are we close to the transaction or in the backroom somewhere?
The further say we are from the money – the greater redundency exposure we have, in business and employment. Closeness to money is why many real estate agents who are often intellectual dodo’s still make big dollars. I’m sure you can think other examples too.
If you want to be an indispensable business partner in tough times, make sure you are close to the money.
Steve – founder rentoid.com
From a competitive viewpoint, imagine for a moment that our worst business nightmare came true.
Maybe Google decides to enter our market space. Or the Coca Cola Company launched a beverage with the same consumer benefit we’ve been bootstrapping. Or large company X decided to compete against “us” head on.
Well – you’d be surprised how that feels. How it makes us react, and how it very quickly changes our perspective on what is the most important element in ‘winning’. In competing effectively for our share of wallet.
All of a sudden many of the projects we are investing our time on seem far less important than they were yesterday. Maybe that front page redesign can wait, maybe the shiny new web 2.0 buttons are a little less important. Maybe our packaging will do for now and quite possibly every project we have on the agenda, excluding customer ‘centric projects’ can be put on hold.
Here’s an exercise worth doing with your team. Act as if. Act as if it has just happened. Have an ‘emergency session’ with your team on how you’d react if a more well resourced, financed and well known competitor came to play. Build your battle plan. Once your battle plan is drawn up – throw out your current business plan and work on that instead. Because they are coming, especially if your startup is in a fertile consumer territory.
After the intital fear, most entrepreneurs just get inspired, get angry and get on with it. A good scare never hurt anyone.
Steve – founder rentoid.com
I took this quote from Seth Godins latest micro book Tribes:
“Do you beleive in what you do? Every day? It turns out that belief happens to be a brilliant strategy”
This resonates with me because it will motivate us to find solutions that ‘non believers’ will be too inept, apathetic or bored to uncover.
Entrepreneurs ought launch something they beleive in conceptually, not just financially.
Below is an elevator pitch ‘workshop’ I gave for the ‘Agents of change‘ entrepreneurs club of Melbourne University. The video below is the one of 6 x 10 minute videos. The first (the one below) includes an ‘example’ pitch I did for rentoid – then has ‘alot’ of questions and answers. The last of the videos, workshop 6 – all of which are here has some ideas on great pitcing practice.
It’s kind of long, but the largely due to the discussion afterwards!
While dropping into Startup Camp in Melbourne last week I started chatting with Jonathon from Melbourne Angel Investors. I asked him just one question:
What is more important in their investments, the team or the concept / product?
His reply was a simple one and here it is:
We’d invest in an A Grade team with a B Grade product, but we wouldn’t invest in an A Grade product with a B Grade team.
Startup blog agrees. Though I did here that he was pretty ‘anti-tech’ as far as their investments go…
But the first piece of advice is worth adhearing to. Above all things build an A Grade team, be an A Grade entrepreneur.
And so again we hear that the people in your startup are way more important than the secret sauce. It is without irony that A Grade teams more often than not find A Grade ideas too.
There’s many emotions associated with being an entrepreneur – seldom discussed is the fact that it’s a lonely business.
If we can’t deal with being the guy in photo above, then we’d be better off in the office of conglomerate X.
No one knows, cares or even thinks about what we are doing until we’ve arrived. During the lonely journey we’ve got to stay busy, remain active and get out in the world. We’ve got to get out of the ‘lab’ work mobile and stay social. If we islotate ourselves too much during the ‘lonely’ evolution period, we risk losing the ability to make the cross over to ‘leader’ when our startup gains momentum.