- What puts a smile on your face?
- What do you find easy?
- What sparks your creativity?
- What would you do for free?
- What do you like to talk about?
- What makes you unafraid of failure?
- What would you regret not having tried?
Accounting Advertising Advisor Analysis Apps Attitude Balance Sheet Barriers to Entry Beachhead Benefits Better Books Bottom Up / Top Down Brain Brainstorming Brainwriting Budget Business Flow Business Model Cash Flow Change Commercialization Communications Competition Competitive Advantage Concept Consultant Corporate Entrepreneurship CQs Creativity Critical Success Factor Crucial Questions Crucial Success Factors Culture Customer Decisions Deploy Design Develop Differentiation DXpedition Earn EBITDA Education Effectiveness Elevator Pitch Engineering Enterprise Entrepreneur Entrepreneurship Environment Evolution Executive Summary Exercise Expenses Expertise Failure Feasibility Finance Financial Objectives Flags Flowchart Focus Funding Fuzzy-to-Firm GizmoGadget Glossary Goals Habits Healthy Venture Hiring HOTI Chart Hypothesis Ideas Ideation Impact Income Statement Industry Industry Research Innovate-A-thon Innovation Innovator Intellectual Property Internet Intrapreneurship Invention Inventory Investor Iteration Knowledge Launch Leadership Lean Startup Learning Legal Luck Machines Management Manpower Market Research Marketing Marketing Brochure Material Media Media Relations Mentor Methods Mindmap Mindset Mission Mistakes Money Motivation Myths Name News Release Niche Market Non-Profit Objectives Operating Agreement Operations Opportunity Passion Patents People Pivot Planning Positioning PR Presentations Price Problems Process Flow Product Development Productivity Profit Progress Promotion Prototype Publicity Questions Refine Research Resources Return on Investment Reward Roadmap Rules_of_Some Sales SCAMPER SCORE Scorecard Skills Slides Solution Development Solutions SPLUCK Start-up Stimulation Strategies Strategy Structure Success SWOTT Tactics Tagline Target Market Team Teamwork Technology Readiness Levels Terminology Terms Test Thinking Tips Tools Transformation TRL Validation Value Venture Venture Capital Venture Creation Venture Plan Viability Vision Work Worth Writing
It starts with an idea, it always does!
The first question, "Who cares? Are there any customers for our idea?" If the answer is "Yes, we think so ...", then move on to the next stage of development: a] create a business model that will fit our target customers and our idea; and b] develop our product and/or service in steps that can be tested and refine (agile engineering, it's called).
If our first customers are happy with the results, find more and more customers and build up our venture. If our first customers aren't all that thrilled, iterate either our business model or our product/service, or both!
[Thank you, Steve Blank.]
- Successful early-stage venture management teams are often comprised of the "Three Musketeers": the General Manager (President), the Product/Operations Manager (VP), and the Marketing/Sales Manager (VP).
- More than three people leading the venture and the communication channels start to become too complex.
- Less than three leading managers and the workload starts to become too intense. If there is a Fourth Musketeer, it could be a Financial Manager (VP?)
- The General Manager concentrates on the cash flow, keeping the venture profitable, and stimulating growth.
- The Product/Operations Manager is primarily internally focused on creating solutions that are better than the competition.
- The Marketing/Sales Manager is primarily externally focused on solving customer problems.
- The team is a cohesive entity focused on what is best for the venture and its customers ... one for all, all for one.
- Successful management teams are comprised on individuals who are competent, have complementary skills, and collaborative styles.
- Together the team is purposeful, passionate, and persistent.
- Together the team is focused on earning a profit solving customer problems better than the competition.
At the core, every successful business venture looks like this. Of course, large complex organizations can look much more complicated than this basic diagram. But fundamentally, all successful business ventures consist of these key elements and have these critical paths of communications.
The "alphabetical" communication channels are external, between the key business venture teams and customers:
A] The Research & Development Team communicating with customers to determine what customer problems, needs, wants, and desire the venture should address
B] The Marketing Team communicating with customers to promote current venture solutions, product, services, and processes that solve current customer problems, and obtain feedback from customers relating to the performance of the venture in solving their problems
C] The Sales Team obtaining and processing orders from customers, and customer relationship management
D] The Operations Team building and delivering solutions, products, and services to fill customer orders
E] The Finance/Accounting Team collecting payment for the value delivered to customers by the products, services, and processes provided by the venture
F] The Venture Management Team soliciting feedback and inputs regarding the relationship between the customers and the venture
The "numbered" communication channels in Figure 5 are internal, the information being shared between departments in a business venture.
1] Marketing and Innovation Development Departments share information about customer problems, needs, wants, and desires, and the benefits, fit, form, function, and features of new products, services, and processes being created in the organization.
2] The Marketing and Sales Departments coordinate information about the benefits, fit, form, function, and features of currently available solutions, products, services, and process that match customer requirements, including the price of the offerings.
3] The Sales Department communicates information about customer orders to the Finance/Accounting Department such that the customer is properly billed when the solutions, products, and services are delivered.
4] The Sales Department communicates information about customer orders to the Operations Department such that the appropriate products and services are delivered to the customer.
5] The Operations Department communicates information about product and service delivery to the customer so the Finance/Accounting Department can accurately bill the customer.
6] The Research & Development Department (often called the Engineering Department) provides the Operations Department with bills of material and assembly instructions for creating the solutions, products, and services being sold to customers.
- Give every member of your organization a chance to dream, and tap into the creativity those dreams embody.
- Stand firm on your beliefs and principles.
- Treat your customers like guests.
- Support, empower, and reward employees.
- Build long-term relationships with key suppliers and partners.
- Dare to take calculated risks in order to bring innovative ideas to fruition.
- Train extensively and constantly reinforce the company's culture.
- Align long-term vision with short-term execution.
- Use the storyboarding technique to solve planning and communication problems.
- Pay close attention to detail.
- Develop the vision statement, the mission statement, and the business model
- Describe the industry and context for the firm and its competitors
- Determine the firm’s strengths and weaknesses in the context of the industry and environment
- Describe the firm’s core competencies, its customers, and its competitive advantage
- Describe the opportunities and threats for the venture
- Identify the critical success factors
- Formulate strategic options and select the appropriate strategy
- Translate the strategy into action plans with suitable measures and controls
Thanks to NASA and the European Commission for this succinct guide to the readiness of technology ideas and concepts for commercial application.
The world changes ... client needs, wants, desires; competitive offerings; economic environments; et alia.
Every organization must proactively address change if it is to survive and thrive. The four elements of the Critical Success Factor are excellent focal points for potential innovation in an organization.
The Critical Success Factor statement is also an excellent Mission Statement template.