When the big idea struck and you knew that your breakthrough thought could change something around you or your environment, something that could lead to an obvious solution or an answer to a long forgotten problem…the moment that turned you into an Entrepreneur. That moment will stay with you for the rest of your life but how would you manage to stay with the thought, get it to the ground, turn it into reality, work your way into and above the roadblocks, create the solution that you know and make money on the way and at the end of it! Continue reading
THE NUCLEUS OF BUSINESS:
IT’S ACHIEVEMENT POTENTIAL
We always begin with the ‘expected potential’ but how many Entrepreneurs can safely guarantee the ‘achievement’ potential of their business? It is not just the good idea or a good plan but the executor and execution of that idea and plan. It depends on the Entrepreneur himself, he being at the center of ‘sowing the seed and reaping the fruit’ in business. I call it the ‘Nucleus or Center of business’. It is about holding the center so well, that one is able to understand, fill and bridge the gaps that go unnoticed when we are looking at the big picture of the business. How does one then strategize and measure the ‘achievement potential’?
1.The Ambassador Dynamic: You are the ambassador of your idea, its benefits, the value it creates and how you intend to turn it into a profitable business. That makes you a seller, a marketer, a mouthpiece, a face, a life revolving around your idea. A compelling story of the needs, solution, value and benefits becomes your language and communication. You have to be a great ambassador if not exceptional.
2.The Visibility Dynamic: This is one of the most important things to keep in mind. We have heard of the differentiating factor but we have to figure positioning of the business. The intent is to create the right kind of visibility that turns the business into a profitable venture. How you are seen and how do you want to be seen? How do you find a place in the minds of an already overcrowded market and over exposed mind space . This is what will drive your entire marketing activity, customer identification, your own understanding of the need and your unique solution.
3.The Receiver Dynamic: Who is at the receiving end of your product or service? The market and the customer need not always be the same. The markets look at you as a supplier as well as a competitor, while the customer engages with you on the value you provide to him individually. While one builds a customer, it is essential to keep an eye on the market that not only houses your customer, but depends on a variety of customers and suppliers. Once you enter the market, you have to watch out for the customer and the competition both.
4.The End Game Dynamic: A question that every Entrepreneur must ask himself is ‘What is the value that you would want to gain if you were to sell your business’? Given that the ‘maximum’ a business would be valued would be at the time of it being sold, even if it were not meant to be, is a thought to be pondered upon. What kind of value can you create within a business for it to become valuable for a buyer, investor or partner. Not just monetary business value but the business health too. How healthy the business is to run and continue to make money.
5.The Tangent Dynamic: The business will always have multiple areas of activities/tangents. Each tangent is individual but never mutually exclusive. Each part of a business depends and /or affects other parts of the business. Do you have tangent checks and balances system in place? Have you any systems in place that measure the effect of performance or non-performance of one tangent on another? This is where most gaps, losses, loss of opportunity occur. This will clarify the gaps to be filled and /or bridged, so they can support each other. A continuous check on their performance and balance is essential.
6.The Measurement Dynamic: The growth factor in your business is the primary selling point of your business. Which tangent needs to grow and which can stay neutral and how to concentrate resources on a particular tangent becomes crucial. Measuring growth in each tangential context is the key. Systems to cross-measure will give the lead into how much financial and non-financial support is needed in each tangent. The need for a new strategy to replace an old one or an innovation in any one tangent or across tangents becomes visible.
7.The Stake Holder Dynamic: If you need to raise capital for your business it is important to have a big picture and a well strategized and understood tangent picture to present to investors or prospective stake holders. Once aligned and visible from the top and sides, raising capital becomes easier as the detailed blueprint instills more confidence than the idea by itself. This is the best way to reduce the risk in an investor’s mind.
With the Nucleus outlook of being at the Center and creating systems for tangential control and growth, laser focus is created within a business. It simplifies spotting and fill gaps, identify risk areas, build hedge strategies and create right kind of controls.
It is ideal to run the business with its achievement potential fully strategized and from the Nucleus.
BECOME A TARZAN ENTREPRENEUR:
BEWARE OF IDEA PINCHERS
When I began as an Entrepreneur, I was so excited and passionate about what I wanted to do as a Life purpose or of my business ideas that I spoke about it with every Tom, Dick and Harry. And the Jane’s, Susan’s and Mary’s. Soon I saw Jane and Mary partnered to run an idea I spoke of, and Tom and Harry picked up another one and as they had enough money to turn the idea into a business, they did exactly that. They were all friends and family at one point and people I trusted. I remember I cried for days and looked up at the sky and asked God why he was being unfair J
Very recently, another bunch of people who felt they were more powerful and monied put all their money strength behind an idea I had worked on for years, stole my work identity and tried their level best to make money on it. They failed miserably, but someone else learnt about their move and brought it to my notice. I sued them and they have been declared imposters and now paying me damages for cheating and stealing the identity. The experience was unpleasant but protecting your ideas and identity is a fight that an Entrepreneur must learn to fight.
With so many bright minds turning into Entrepreneurs and raring to go, it is important to remember that there is a possibility of you speaking to the wrong people about your breakthrough business idea. You own it and you are the first person that deserves to make money on it. But as all new Entrepreneurs need monetary backing , they end up speaking with the wrong people in the hope that they would get the necessary funds. With hundreds of networking events asking you to pitch ideas, plenty of people wanting to fund new ideas in the hope of making money and new Entrepreneurs desirous of making it big, it is important to know when, how and where to draw the line. Idea’s can be stolen, there is no copyright on ideas, they are not protected under the law. A very famous filmmaker and veteran of films proudly and arrogantly says, ‘I steal ideas’ on his twitter page.
So how do you protect your ideas:
1.IF YOU ARE CREATING A BRAND : Seek legal advice, protect the name and activity that you wish to pursue. Never seek money for registering your name, trade-mark or brand name. Use your own money. This is a DIY activity. The process is very simple and you must keep it discreet, stay quiet until you are legally registered. So when you do go out with the name of your business, you are covered and you can display that your trade name is legally protected. This is very important and not spoken about enough. This alone at times may be the only way someone cannot walk away with what is yours.
2.ASK FOR A CONFIDENTIALITY OR A NON–DISCLOSURE DOCUMENT : Most Funders, may not like the idea or may even refuse to talk about this. Many would say, that many people come to them with similar ideas, so it is difficult for them to take responsibility. I have had a Venture Capitalist tell me, even if we give you a non-disclosure document, that piece of paper has little value, you know we can still work on any idea with another Entrepreneur. Go to credible people. Check people’s credibility in the market, know who has worked with them and do your own due diligence. Do ask how they intend to give you and your idea protection. You have a right to know their background.
3.IDEA AND BUSINESS PLAN: If you do agree to send out your business plan to anyone for consideration, make sure it is brief and only the summary idea with the monetary returns are given out. The Investors are always keen on the numbers and want to meet the person who will take the idea through. Connect with them around these two first. Genuine people are plenty and they will always talk straight. You will find their work on their websites and you will find them in the searches. They will be quick to make decisions and they will ask very specific question regarding the monetary returns. Anyone who says give the business plan first before talking, think twice. Anyone who says, show me the numbers, understands that it boils down to support for the numbers. You choose!
4.TOO MUCH OR TOO LITTLE: Choose the forums where you speak about your ideas very carefully. There are many who genuinely want to support Entrepreneurship and then there are many who are mere event organizers. As an Entrepreneur you would often be tempted to present your idea to the first willing person or group. My advice is to slow down, very clearly see what the group is intending to do, how does it intend to support Entrepreneurs, who are the people behind it and their results. I remember attending an international Entrepreneur Boot camp many years ago. I was new and so fully believed in my idea that the people who organized that event, came to me for many years to sell them the content of the idea, so they could run it. Number of times, I was asked to give up on the idea, sell it to them for a pittance as they were in a position to run it better. I am a lawyer too, I saved myself of that situation.
5.BEWARE OF QUICK MONEY MAKERS : There are many people out there who are out to make a quick buck. If he can do it, I can too ,is their way to look at things. You will have to train yourself and that comes from experience to identify such people. They are the first to walk away with someone’s ideas and are fast to begin doing something about it. You have to watch who does that and how fast. Most that I have experienced have failed but they do try . There is little they can do because execution matters but there is a possibility they dilute the strength of the idea. As the owner of the idea, you will be terribly hurt if you do not watch out for such people.
6. DEVELOP THE DIY ATTITUDE: Until you have worked on every detail of your idea, keep it to yourself. Do it Yourself ! Avoid running to lots of people to give you feedback or advice. Unless you have zeroed in on people who you can trust and who can trust you , DIY is the way. Find Mentors instead of funders first. Let some seniors guide you before you jump in to raise money. Learn the ropes so you don’t face the heat of your great idea being done by some one else.
7.THE WORLD IS COMPETITIVE and WILL DO ANYTHING TO LOOK LIKE A WINNER : There is no one who does not want to win and if not that, does not want to be called a winner. Forget that the people who steal ideas, will give you credit for that. They want to take away the credit. So it is your responsibility to make sure, you are careful. I have had instances of very close friends and even family walking away and calling my ideas theirs. They even pitched the same ideas to investors as they could see the money because I showed them where the money was! Discern and be careful.
8.RELATIONSHIPS MATTER: Try to maintain good relationships with people around you. One angry person retaliates by settling scores in spoiling another’s business. There are lots of egos running helter skelter, avoid engaging with such people. Ask good questions to people , learn about them, listen to them, know their intent. If they are over bad..you know what to do. If they are over nice..you know something is fishy..Run in the opposite direction J
Wishing you safe and wealthy Entrepreneurship !