10 Step Smart Start-Up Checklist – Find Gaps and Opportunities

Please tick or put a crossmarts next to each statement on the 10 Step-Smart Start-Up Checklist. This is a retrospective look at your start-up, assuming that you have completed each task. This is purposeful to help you to identify gaps and discover untapped opportunities to accelerate your growth trajectory.

1/ What problem/s have you identified that your business model is solving and for whom?

 The need/s for what our business model delivers in the marketplace have been clearly identified and acknowledged.
 We understand who our customer/s are that we are servicing or intend to service, and what industry verticals or customer segments they belong to.
 We recognise how our customers want to engage with our business model.
 Our business modelling has evolved according to what we have discovered our customer’s want it to look like, how it should behave and how it should communicate and interact with them.

2/ What is the framework you have used to evaluate the opportunity as a founder/s?

 We have determined and understand what our motivation is to make the business a success.
 We have a strong network of family and friends to support us.
 We understand what the external environment is in context to our business model.
 We have created a unique value proposition that we can communicate in one or two paragraphs that sets us apart from competitors.
 We have explored the resources, structures, channels, platforms and processes that are available to deliver on our vision.
 We have researched and gained insight into our ability to perform and deliver on our vision.

3/ What have you determined to position your business to be successful?

 Research to determine the evidence that our business model will be viable has been completed.
 A SWOT analysis has been undertaken as part of this process to understand the true competitive landscape for our business model.
 Industry and like industry trends have also been researched to understand how they may impact on our business model.
 Research of best practices has been completed to benchmark against our business model.
 We have analysed our business model based on all the evidence we have collected.
 The evidence that was discovered is both quantitative and qualitative and has enabled us to establish the true value and perspective of the business in context to the marketplace.
 We have defined the need for our business model and created our business plan to deliver this
 We have created an MVP to demonstrate what the business offers, with a full or partial capability that demonstrates process and opportunity.
 Our organisational capacity and capability have been reviewed and a gap analysis conducted, analysed and addressed.
 We have clarity on how we will position our business model to ensure it is sustainable and scalable.

4/ What have you put in place to plan, execute and measure success?

 We understand who needs to be involved in the business and why to make this happen.
 We recognise what needs to be prioritised to accelerate this process
 We have created a business strategy, with incremental quick wins in place to demonstrate progress. This strategy is agile and flexible, to evolve with the business and overcome and create disruption as it grows.
 We have established a sales, content and marketing strategy that is a subset of and talks to the business strategy and aligns with our investment strategy to holistically deliver on our vision.
 We can demonstrate through financial metrics that our business model is sustainable and robust
 We are able to measure customer engagement, map our cash flow and identify our strengths and weaknesses through real time reporting of our performance.
 Timeframes have been identified and processes implemented to achieve the desired outcomes in a timely fashion aligned to investment expectations.
 Research has identified the right resources which we are implementing to facilitate the business model’s growth trajectory.

We have identified
 More than one revenue stream for the business.
 How we will KPI and measure the value of equity against investor impact.
 How we will plan, build and deploy our technology so that the core code is established as a foundation for scoping and future iterations, in alignment with our business strategy.
 How we articulate our brand’s story.
 Our growth trajectory and exit strategy for the business for investor transparency.
 Our forecast revenue growth rate and scalability to demonstrate how this will be achieved.

5/ Establishing the business as an entity

 We have determined what type of business we are establishing e.g. for-profit, not for profit, social entity etc, registered it and branded it accordingly.
 We have registered and secured the business name and any applicable copyright and patents have been established and protected.
 We have registered and secured all relevant domain names and established how they work within the context of the business vision and business modelling.
 Business cards and logo have been created.
 A web presence has been created and populated as an online shop front for the business.
 Office space or a physical shop front has been secured to operate from.
 Banking facilities have been established for the business.
 An accountant has been engaged and an approved accounting system has been implemented.
 We have secured all necessary insurances to protect the business and its employees.
 We have obtained all qualification relevant to operate the business in the environment.
 OHSC Compliance has been undertaken and satisfied.
 Relevant licences are in place to legally operate the business.
 We are legally compliant and have engaged legal counsel.

6/ Understanding the business model journey

 We are a Business to Business model.
 We are a Business to Community model.
 We are a Business to Business and a Business to Community model.
 Our business operates on a high margin, low volume business model.
 Our business operates on a low margin, high volume business model.
 We are a service only business that operates on a single revenue model.
 We are a product only business that operates on a single revenue model.
 We are a product and service mix business that operates on a tiered revenue model.
 We are cash flow positive and have established customers.
 We have no customers or live trials currently.

7/ Pricing the business products and/or services

 We have not established our pricing model.
 We have established our pricing model.
 We can demonstrate how our pricing model will operate in practice.
 We can demonstrate how it will show predictability and control over the business growth trajectory and positioning in the market.
8/ Creating the right foundation for the business
 We have established a governance process to guide and advise the business.
(An advisory board or/and an independent board of directors)
 We have not been declared bankrupt nor have any persons associated with the business declared bankrupt.
 We have run background checks on people who are involved in the business as a matter of due diligence
 We have established an investment strategy to fund the business.
 We have created a development plan to deliver the technology needed to create an MVP, its development and deployment as a predecessor of our business platform.

9/ Recruiting to grow the business

 We have created an org chart that articulates the structure, capability and capacity of the business to operate and position itself to be attractive for investment.
 We have established operational policies for human resource process and procedures.
 We have determined the culture and ethics that we aim to establish in the business and how we will communicate these to new employees
 We have no paid employees in the business.
 We have paid employees in the business.
 We outsource tasks to contractors or other resourcing opportunities to grow the business.

10/ What smart relationships have you established to enhance brand positioning, awareness, capacity and capabilities?

 The establishment of an advisory board.
 Partnerships with like-minded businesses for mutually beneficial outcomes.
 The establishment of peer industry alignment and consultation.
 The engagement of trusted vendors and/or suppliers.
 The engagement of customers through case studies and trials.
 The establishment of a reciprocal backlink and testimonial agreement with businesses and individuals we develop business relationships with.
 The commencement of private and/or public funding.
 The appointment of strategic and experienced management resources.
 The inclusion of on-the-job volunteer and paid intern resource to create a low-cost resource base.

 

Originally posted 2017-02-19 10:39:23.

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Survive to realize the entrepreneurial dream

Below are some questions to ask yourself to help you visualize what you need to do to create an action plan to survive as an entrepreneur. What should that look like? This is a ‘reality check’, as once you embark on your venture, the way you have answered these questions will be pivotal to your success.

survive as an entrepreneur

How to survive Q & A

Q1 How do I manage my money?  I need to make sure that I can look after myself and my family while I build my business.

Q2 What do look after my health? I need to make sure that I don’t fall ill or become overly stressed.

Q3 How will I prioritize my family time? I need to make sure that I spend time with them as a priority.

Q4  How will I make time for socializing with friends? I need to learn to shut off from the pressures of starting my own business.

Q5 What will I do to prioritize my time to make fitness a priority?

Q6 How will I manage my time to be productive while creating balanced?

Q7 What processes will I adhere to that will protect and nurture my business? I need to ensure ongoing cash flow to keep it cash positive.

Q8  How scalable is my business idea and implementation or will it stall after initial success?  How will I overcome this?

Q9 What does my ‘proof of concept’ look like? What do I need to do to make this happen?

Q10 How do I determine and who do I identify to collaborate with to grow my business while protecting my interests and IP?

Q11 What can I do to keep myself focused on the end game while still enjoying the journey?

Q12 Where do I look for investment and funding to make my idea a reality?

Want to learn more?

The Lean Startup by Eric Ries

How Today’s Entrepreneurs Use Continuous Innovation to Create Radically Successful Businesses.

The Start Up of YOU by Reid Hoffman and Ben Casnocha

How do you survive and thrive in this fiercely competitive economy? You need a whole new entrepreneurial mindset and skill set. Drawing on the best of Silicon Valley, The Start-Up of You helps you accelerate your career and take control of your future–no matter your profession.

How to start a business with no money  by Trent Dyrsmid

Originally posted 2016-01-09 15:26:50.

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Startup formula for success

Sorry…there is no fool proof startup formula for success but you can put yourself on the track to success by following the below formula as a guide.

startup formula

 

 

 

 

 

 

The startup formula positions you to become customer centric.  Your next step is to ask yourself the following questions. The answers you give to these questions will help you determine your strategy as an entrepreneur. You need to be sure that your strategy will support you and help you to realize success.

Startup Survival Checklist

1/ How am I going to live and pay my bills while I work on my business ideas and they are being incubated?

2/How do I look after my health?

3/ What is the Unique Value Proposition that my business idea has that sets it apart from its competitors?

4/ Who will be my customers or audience?

5/ How is my business idea going to make money?

6/ Do I spend too much time playing with the ‘fluffy’ stuff?

7/ Who should I align and collaborate with to get the best outcome for all stakeholders?

8/ How will I get people to invest in my business idea?

9/ How will my business grow?

10/ How will I plan to overcome isolation, insulation and demotivation?

Balance and focus are key to being successful as a startup.  Your journey may be long so you need to be well prepared to weather the challenges ahead. Many great ideas have never been realized due to lack of due diligence on the part of the entrepreneur.  One of your best assets as an entrepreneur is to find at least two mentors who can advise and guide you.  Collaboration with complimentary or like-minded businesses is another tool that can strengthen your path to success.

If you live in the business always make sure your can still see outside the business.

Robyn Gunnis

 

 

Originally posted 2016-01-09 14:10:44.

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Survival Of The Fittest Checklist – Entrepreneur’s Guide

Survival for the entrepreneur is all about balance and focus. Your personal and business life also needs to be considered wisely to survive the challenges that  working with a startup brings.

survival of the fittest

 

Being an entrepreneur can be very rewarding but it comes with its fair share of challenges. To make your dream a reality you need to be dedicated and focused. The only way to do this successfully is to plan in advance yet you also need to be able to anticipate the ‘what if’s’ and how to’s’ to try to avoid them impacting or derailing what you are trying to achieve.

Ask yourself the following questions to help you determine your strategy as an entrepreneur. You need to be sure that your strategy will support you and help you to realize success.

Top 10 Entrepreneur’s Survival Checklist

1/ How am I going to live and pay my bills while I work on my business ideas as they are incubated?

2/How do I look after my health?

3/ What is the Unique Value Proposition that my business idea has that sets it apart from its competitors?

4/ Who will be my customers or audience?

5/ How is my business idea going to make money?

6/ Do I spend too much time playing with the ‘fluffy’ stuff ?

7/ Who should I align and collaborate with to get the best outcome for all stakeholders?

8/ How will I get people to invest in my business idea?

9/ How will my business grow?

10/ How will I plan to overcome isolation, insulation and demotivation?

If you live in the business always make sure your can still see outside the business.

Robyn Gunnis

Want to learn more?

The Lean Startup by Eric Ries

How Today’s Entrepreneurs Use Continuous Innovation to Create Radically Successful Businesses.

The Start Up of YOU by Reid Hoffman and Ben Casnocha

How do you survive and thrive in this fiercely competitive economy? You need a whole new entrepreneurial mindset and skill set. Drawing on the best of Silicon Valley, The Start-Up of You helps you accelerate your career and take control of your future–no matter your profession.

How to start a business with no money  by Trent Dyrsmid

Originally posted 2016-01-08 17:32:16.

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Entrepreneur Survival Checklist

You have taken the leap into the world of entrepreneurism.  You are motivated, excited and enjoying the freedom you now have to create, innovate and explore your ideas and ventures. This entrepreneur survival checklist is a tool to help you stay focused and succeed.

entrepreneur's survival checklist

 

 

 

 

 

 

“Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma – which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of other’s opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.”

Steve Jobs

I am sure you will agree that an entrepreneur experience could be described as a feeling that you are at last set free. You have been given permission to be what you were meant to be and do what you were meant to do. Living the entrepreneur dream of not being locked into the 9-5 treadmill and no longer being dependent on working for someone else to help them realize their dreams feels like the right thing for you.

You probably are now asking yourself. ” Why on earth did I not do this earlier” ?

…and then you need to ask yourself the next question: “Am I prepared”?

Being an entrepreneur can be very rewarding but it comes with its fair share of challenges. To make your dream a reality you need to be dedicated and focused. The only way to do this successfully is to plan in advance, anticipating the ‘what if’s’ and how to’s’ to try to avoid them impacting or derailing what you are trying to achieve.

Ask yourself the following questions to help you determine your strategy as an entrepreneur. You need to be sure that your strategy will support you and help you to realize success.

Top 10 Entrepreneur’s Survival Checklist

1/ How am I going to live and pay my bills while I work on my business ideas as it is being incubated?

Determine a plan based on the resources you have available and a timeline for your project. This must be realistic and not assumptive.

2/How do I look after my health?

Am I engaging in regular physical exercise, sleeping well, giving myself permission to have downtime and spend time with my family and friends? It is important to be focused but try not to be consumed by your business. A hybrid 7 day week is expected, but scheduling personal time is essential to maintain a balance.

3/ What is the Unique Value Proposition that my business idea has that sets it apart from its competitors?

Those competitors may be active in market and in the space that your business idea will reside or they may be like businesses that have adopted parts of your idea but it may not be their core business. Networking with other entrepreneurs, especially those that are playing in your space, will help you identify your U.V.P. and potentially help you to recognize other points of difference you can leverage.

4/ Who will be my customers or audience?

Your business idea cannot be successful unless it is adopted or consumed. Don’t be afraid to research and explore a cross-section of who you think your intended audience or customers are. Find out what they think about your business idea. You don’t have to give the game away just ask questions to determine a scenario of need or want versus motivation. Take the time to look at similar ideas and where they fell short or are successful to streamline your business idea.

5/ How is my business idea going to make money?

All in all they say money makes the world go around and although this is not necessary to find initial success it does help to attract investment and resource to realize the potential of your business idea. A sound commercial strategy, that although based on projection, has robust data to support assumptions, will be one of the first thing investors will be looking at.

6/ Do I spend too much time playing with the ‘fluffy’ stuff?

High level business structure and strategy are important, but actioning these steps with a solid go to market operational plan will ensure that you adhere to your timeline, which is important and relative to Question 1. Entrepreneurs can spend a lot of time thinking and not enough time doing. Both are important but need to be balanced to reach milestones.

7/ Who should I align and collaborate with to get the best outcome for all stakeholders?

Entrepreneurs who go solo are destined for a lonely and isolated journey with less opportunity for success than those who collaborate and network ideas, equity and resource. You must play to your strengths and look to others to assist where you have weaknesses or lack of experience and credibility when building a startup team. The people you choose to align your business with can be your greatest asset when you are going through the seeding and subsequent funding rounds for your business …..so choose wisely.

8/ How will I get people to invest in my business idea?

When you have answered questions 3,4,5,6 and 7 you are better positioned to not only determine who would be likely to invest but where to find those investment opportunities and create the opportunity to make them happen.

9/ How will my business grow?

The people you recruit will either make or break your business so positioning the growth strategy of your business will make the difference between scalability and stalling. Everyone is dispensable, even you, and the smarter your decisions on the roles and responsibilities of your staff the more effective and efficient your business model will be.

10/ How will I plan to overcome isolation, insulation and demotivation?

One of the biggest downfalls of being an entrepreneur is the extreme highs that can be followed by extreme lows. One of these lows which is common is isolation and insulation from the world around you which often leads to you becoming demotivated. Identify what will make you feel isolated, insulated or demotivated to avoid this happening. Many entrepreneurs dedicate so much of their time to their business that how they prioritize and spend their time can easily become blurred. Working smarter and more strategically is always better than working harder to deliver the outcomes you want in a timely manner.

If you live in the business always make sure your can still see outside the business.

Robyn Gunnis

Want to learn more?

The Lean Startup by Eric Ries

How Today’s Entrepreneurs Use Continuous Innovation to Create Radically Successful Businesses.

The Start Up of YOU by Reid Hoffman and Ben Casnocha

How do you survive and thrive in this fiercely competitive economy? You need a whole new entrepreneurial mindset and skill set. Drawing on the best of Silicon Valley, The Start-Up of You helps you accelerate your career and take control of your future–no matter your profession.

How to start a business with no money  by Trent Dyrsmid

 

 

Originally posted 2015-06-14 10:16:53.

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Startup pizza…its all about the idea and the base

You have a great idea for a start-up business and you are fairly confident that everybody will need and want your solution, product or service.
Your ‘light bulb’ moment could be the beginning of a remarkable start-up journey but how do you really know if it will work?
 start-up idea pizza

The number of entrepreneurs with great ideas is multiplying as fast as they are failing but don’t be deterred.  Your idea can be successful! You just have to have the right ingredients, a robust business base and a unique value proposition to get started.

Many entrepreneurs, unfortunately, put the ‘cart before the horse’ and believe that because they have sold themselves on the idea that it will be easy to wow investors. You could have a knockout slide deck with all the ‘bells and whistles’ and some financial projections to demonstrate the path to success. This does not always guarantee to open doors for you.  You need to convert others to become true believers by helping them to understand the who, where and why before tackling the how and when to position your idea as viable.  This approach embraces the ‘pizazz’ factor!

‘Pizazz’ is a great sales tool but not a great planning tool. Once you make this distinction you will need to channel your focus to create the recipe for your business ‘base’. Once you have done this the pizazz can become part of your choice of ‘toppings’ to garnish your go-to market proposition.

You may have noticed the not so subtle lead-in to the ‘pizza’ reference in the header with words like ‘base’ and ‘toppings’ and are wondering what on earth does ‘pizza’ have to do with startups?

Firstly the secret to a great pizza starts with the base! The perfect pizza base must be balanced, kneaded  and proven with attention to process and planning to get it to rise and have the right balance in taste and texture. The base is what makes the pizza work! The toppings (pizazz) give the pizza an individual flavour and visual appeal.

The foundation of a successful startup is not dissimilar to creating a great pizza base. The business base should be build with the right ingredients:

Position your idea by doing a SWOT Analysis internally (on the idea) and externally (looking at potential competitors). Talk to people about your idea. Get feedback and take constructive criticism on board.  You are in a learning phase and this will be invaluable to giving your idea clarity.

Idea Clarity is next where you determine your Unique Value Proposition. What makes your idea different? Who is your market and why and how would customers embrace your idea?

Zero Distraction is a must. Focus, Focus, Focus! It is imperative that you focus on the fundamental business processes that you need to undertake to tick the boxes once you have determined your Unique Value Proposition using the research from your SWOT Analysis.

Zoom in on the people that will make your business soar in the beginning and as you grow. A startup works well by embracing collaboration,  seeking out great mentors and engaging with the right people that will give your startup credibility and create investor conversion. Many entrepreneurs are reluctant to share for fear that they may lose their intellectual property to others. You are in control of how much you divulge and how little. Opening the doors to experience, advice and resource is imperative for your idea to have a fighting chance.

Act in a timely manner.  Don’t rush the process. If you get the base right you can build on it to make it attractive and scalable to gain traction.  Being too eager to go to market leads to compromise. Once you have launched, the impression you make on the market will always be determined by what you deliver.

A good base should be complimented with a good ‘sauce’ or in the case of a startup a ‘glue’ that pulls all the business smarts together.  This glue is the team that makes the idea into a tangible, relevant and viable startup proposition.  The team must be balanced, appropriate and reputable in context with the startup and the market space it will occupy.

Finally the toppings (pizazz) which are unique and different for every startup and gives your startup the irresistible appeal it needs. If  you have done a good job with your market research you are in a good position to create the market appetite for your startup.  To present your startup for maximum impact you need to have the right ingredients for your startup to be served up as attractive for investment.

To give your idea a chance to shine these will include:

Visual – Are you presenting your start-up in the way they want to consume it?Market temperature – How hot is your market for investment in your space?Competition – Is your start-up flavour of the month? If so is the space crowded and will your unique value proposition stack up?

You can control some of the outcomes when you commit your time and resource to a start-up but market conditions, volatility and acceptance will still have an impact on your ability to launch successfully.  Respected serial entrepreneurs don’t have success on every attempt but what is remembered is their innovation, resilience, passion, enthusiasm and insight. Never let self-doubt decay your dreams.  You may just need to improvise and change the recipe to get the desired outcome.

….and at your start-up launch you might want to celebrate with a pizza of course? I have included a ingredients for the base, sauce and a topping list below with links for the ‘how to’.  Enjoy!

Pizza Base Ingredients

1 1/2 cups warm water

1 package (2 1/4 teaspoons) of active dry yeast

3 1/2 cups bread flour

2 Tbsp olive oil

2 teaspoons salt

1 teaspoon sugar

Find out how to make this pizza base

Pizza Sauce Ingredients

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 tablespoon butter

1⁄cup onion, chopped

1⁄cup celery, chopped

1 garlic clove, minced

1 can tomato sauce

1 can tomato paste

2 tablespoons grated parmesan cheese

1 teaspoon dried basil

1 teaspoon dried oregano

1⁄teaspoon salt

1⁄teaspoon sugar

1⁄teaspoon black pepper

1 small bay leaf

1 teaspoon fennel seed

Find out how to make this awesome pizza sauce 

Suggested list of pizza toppings to choose from:

Anchovies, tomato, ricotta, pepperoni, green pepper, onion, mushroom, grilled chicken, cheddar cheese, pesto, prawns, salami bacon, chorizo, feta, mozzarella, black olives, pineapple, prosciutto, garlic, avocado, pancetta, ham, beef mince,

What would you have as a pizza topping?  Feel free to suggest other toppings you may have tried and liked

Originally posted 2015-05-10 12:20:04.

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Fraud and Scamming: Are you likely to become a victim?

Fraud and scamming have become an epidemic, as technology advances faster than we can protect ourselves.

fraud and scamming

The question on everyone’s lips is, do I really own my digital identity? The truth is we don’t, and that is why fraud and scamming is so rampant. The challenge is to come up with solutions that protect a business, personal and government identity footprint   This is becoming one of the biggest opportunities to explore.

Trending in digital identity…

If there’s one thing we’ve learned about the evolution of fraud, it’s that criminals almost always take the path of least resistance

TMG Fraud Prevention Manager Ashley McAlpine

Fraud and Scamming:  Where are you vulnerable?

Personal

What you need to be aware of::

 Fraud against seniors and others who are vulnerable is on the rise, as scammers are getting more brazen and inventive.  Scammers often market under the following guises:

Some common ways scammers adopt to effect fraud:

Be aware of scammers who are using social media to steal personal identities and swindle people out of money.

Email phishing has come a long way and is now more sophisticated and  prevalent than ever before

Telemarketing fraud and scamming where you are asked to send money to people not known by the sender personally or giving personal or financial information to unknown callers.

Porting phone numbers is a way scammers can assume someone’s identity. Once a scammer takes control of the victim’s phone, he or she may be able to access the victim’s bank accounts that are linked to the phone number.

The old saying ‘if it is too good to be true, it probably is’, is something that we should all be mindful of when it comes to scammers.

Payments

What you need to be aware of:

Changing IoT solutions is affecting how we buy and pay for products and services

Early Best Practices included in a recent Security Concerns of the Internet of Banking  Things the white paper talks about:

  • Securing in Layers
  • Changing passwords and installing updates
  • Thinking beyond the device
  • Remembering the basics
  • Regulatory compliance and accreditation processes

Banking

What you need to be aware of::

Chinese banks are hiring blockchain experts as the government pushes use of the technology behind bitcoin to increase transparency and combat fraud in its financial sector Blockchain technology is being heralded as a game changer

There are so many gaps in the banking systems, and it’s the banks’ innocent customers who pay the priceDavid Clarke, The Fraud Advisory Panel

Transfer fraud is one of the fastest-growing financial crimes, which can cost its victims hundreds of thousands of dollars, and the effects areoften life-changing for the victims.

  Real Estate

What you need to be aware of::

The pre-approval letter you receive may not mean you will get the loan. Mortgage lenders often give you a letter that is an indicator that you qualify for a loan but for a pre-approval to be concrete a much more strenuous process must be undertaken.  This should include an interview with the loan originator.

A buyer can be a victim of ID fraud,  If this occurs they will be left with a mortgage for a property they have no right to. To try and recover losses they have incurred they may try to do so through the relevant professionals that were involved in the transaction,

Property fraud is on the increase. It’s never been more important to make sure that you understand the tactics that fraudsters often employ, to prevent them from targeting you,

Employment

What you need to be aware of::

Scammers advertising phoney job opportunities on targeted employment websites that target vulnerable unemployed people.  Applications and recruitment can give the scammer access to personal details that may include bank accounts.

Who are you employing?  Do you really know that they have the credentials to perform the role they are applying for?  How do you ensure that your recruitment process mitigates risk to avoid costly mistakes?

This article is just the tip of the fraud iceberg with so most, if not all areas of our personal and business lives now being invaded by opportunists, scammers and fraudsters.

Be alert, vigilant and adopt and embrace ways you can preventative and mitigate fraud, both offline and online, to protect your personal and professional identity and integrity.

In Ausrralia report scams to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) or call 1300 795 995.

Originally posted 2017-02-06 11:17:51.

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Advisory Boards: 10 Key Business Benefits

The definition of an Advisory Board sits within its name. The purpose is to strategically advise management of a business, organisation or corporation with the objective being to deliver key business benefits.

benefits

Where an Advisory Board differs from a Board of Directors is the level of authority, responsibility and accountability in the business decision processes.  An Advisory Board is well positioned for businesses to tap into the knowledge and experience they need to make informed decisions. They are a great problem-solving resource.

Advisory Boards: 10 Key Business Benefits

Opportunity – Advisory Boards do not work ‘in’ the business and are therefore impartial in their advice. Their mandate is to work in the best interest of the business. Advisory Boards help evaluate strategies and analyse trends and can also bring rigour into the business.

De-Risking – The ‘helicopter’ view of the business operation enables Advisory Boards to determine where risk is high and how it could be minimalised.

An Advisory Board is a low-risk investment for a business. The Advisory Board is not a decision-making board with the associated legal and fiduciary responsibilities that sit with a Board of Directors.

This means that the control of the business operations remains with management, however, decisions are more informed if an Advisory Board is in place. The business’ access to an Advisory Board’s valuable expertise and experience brings insights that otherwise would not be readily available or accessible.

Focus – An Advisory Board may be appointed to focus, without distraction, on one part of the business giving parameters and guidelines around the desired outcome in planning and execution. This can pay dividends by allowing the business to concentrate on running the core business.

Clarity – Advisory Boards can help businesses to understand how to optimise their business roadmap. To be successful a business must have clarity in the strategic piece it is operating from.  This is important, not only to be proactive in the market but also to understand what the business wants to achieve in the short, medium and long term.

Innovation – The identification of gaps and opportunities is important to give the business every advantage possible.  Advisory Boards are in a unique position to advise on where innovation can be a game changer for a business.  The ‘noise’ that every business has in the day to day operation of the business often stops innovation from being considered as a priority.

Agility – Businesses are faced with many challenges. Businesses put processes, platforms and programs in place to make this easier, but often this creates legacy systems that can stifle or stall productivity which impacts morale and motivation.

Value – An Advisory Board provides intellectual, social and creative capital when leveraged, delivers measurable value for the business.

Change – Advisory Boards are often put in place as a catalyst for change and progress.  They offer an opportunity to accelerate the growth and scaling of the business. This brings an injection of educated insight and innovation to help the business to stay ahead of its competitors. This enables the business to be competitive and work towards future-proofing operations, delivering benefits to the business in the now and into the future.

Impact –  An Advisory Board can positively impact the business’ vision, profitability and stakeholder engagement. The business story then becomes one that when communicated creates momentum and visibility.

Networking – An Advisory Board will broaden a business’ perspective and connects business to a broader knowledge base. This nurtures collaboration and communication, increasing the business reach.

Advisory Boards are often sourced by the business based on perceived needs. This often occurs in the absence of independent accredited advisory board centres.

In Canada, a study was run on the benefits of Advisory Boards for SME’s with extraordinary outcomes that demonstrate the advantages of engaging with an Advisory Board.

Some of the highlights were as follows:

Statistical analysis of businesses’ financial variables based on fiscal data from Statistics Canada shows that:

Sales growth was stronger after instituting an advisory board. In the first three years after an advisory board was set up, sales grew 66.8% compared with a growth of 22.9% in the three previous years.

Productivity growth also strengthened after the advisory board was introduced. In the three years after the advisory board was set up, productivity rose an average of 5.9% compared with 3.2% in the previous three-year period.

Read the report here

Originally posted 2017-07-23 18:54:42.

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Smart Cities: Will they be smart enough?

Smart Cities need to be sustainable and scalable to be smart enough to become integrated, sharing economies.  They also need to be capable of supporting robust and resilient community ecosystems.

SMART CITIES

 

The Australian Government  Smart Cities Plan has 3 pillars

Smart Investment

Smart Investment means:

1. Prioritising projects that meet broader economic objectives

2. Treating infrastructure funding as an investment wherever possible

3. Getting involved early to ensure rigorous planning and business cases

4. Increasing investment

Smart Policy

Smart Policy requires:

1. Delivering ‘City Deals’

2. Leading regulatory reform

3. Measuring success

Smart Technology

Smart Technology means:

1. Thinking of technology solutions first

2. Leveraging open and real time data

3. Driving use of energy efficient technologies

The 3 pillar excerpts above are explained in depth in a download available from the Australian Government’s Smart Cities website where they welcome comment.

Learn more about the Australian Government Plan

The Australian Government wants to increase the efficiency and effectiveness of urban service delivery, infrastructure and planning.  The aim is to improve the liveability of our cities and suburbs.

The question is .. Will this make our Smart Cities smart enough to become sustainable and scalable sharing community ecosystems?

Enabling technology through policy and investment will establish a solid foundation for the Smart Cities plan.  This then presents an opportunity to build on this foundation to establish self-sustaining economically empowered community ecosystems.

Before technology  – B.T. 

Local economies created their own community ecosystems that were heavily reliant on government to support and subsidize. Local media, business leaders and community co-existed and supported each other.

How did they do this?

Local business would leverage local print media to promote their business, brand and influence and leading businesses would in turn subsidize local community, charity and sports.  This simple, yet effective ecosystem reinforced local parochialism and gave communities identity, a sense of belonging and ownership.

This is a very simplistic snapshot of the B.T. ecosystem but it does illustrate that although the local ecosystem had an intra-community support network that offset government dependency it did not create self-sufficiency.  The local economy was still vulnerable and lacking. Technology itself was the disruptor that exposed this.

Post technology  – P.T. 

The local ecosystem has become somewhat disparate as we  have entered into a world where  ‘technology as a solution’ has accelerated and is fast becoming the norm.  This has meant that we now live in an environment of continual change. The consequence of change is a disconnect in the local ecosystem.

The channels that used to be the default to support the local ecosystem now no longer work effectively.  This means the reliance on government funding and grants has become even more of a dependency than it was B.T.  This environment is now, more than ever before, counterproductive to self-sufficiency.

The investment and changes in government policy to embrace technology to realize the opportunity data sharing and delivery presents through the Smart Cities plan is the enabler.

To achieve sustainability as a solution, we must be able to quantify, qualify, and then, contexualise and commercialize shared data.

The ‘missing link’ or ‘fourth pillar’ is a ‘Smart Community’.

When this fourth pillar is integrated into the Smart Cities blueprint you are then able to commercialize validated and contextual data to create self-sufficiency.

The ‘how’ can only happen when the administration of a four pillar Smart City design is altruistic.  The administration body is a facilitator that is independent and impartial for the betterment of the communities it serves holistically.

A ‘Smart Community’ supports and sustains local business, community groups, sporting clubs, charities and nurtures startups.

The notion of  ‘support local first’ in regional towns and cities is not new. The reinvention of what local parochialism looks like and how communities can embrace this in the P.T. world is failing.

The wave of technology and the change it has bought to consumer’s behaviour has eroded our local economy’s resilience.  The sad reality is that a dysfunctional local economy is not cohesive or productive, let alone self-sustaining.

‘Smart Communities”  as a ‘plug-n-play’ into the Smart Cities Plan delivers a:

  • self-sufficient ecosystem
  • sense of belonging
  • shared vision
  • scalable platform
  • viable commercial solution for all stakeholders

How can we make it happen?   If you want to discuss this further please leave a comment below or contact me

 

Originally posted 2016-10-17 11:03:25.

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The Start-Up Cemetery – Tombstones of Lost Dreams

 

cemetery

So many Start-Ups move quickly from idea and conceptualization to developing their minimal viable product ‘MVP’.  They do this to establish a ‘proof of concept’ to gain funding. This can be a death sentence for Start-Ups.

This reasoning does make sense on face value…

  • Your idea is unique.
  • No-one has done it this way before.
  • Your idea is a new technology that is ground-breaking.
  • Your approach is to disrupt and when you do it will be a game changer.
  • The unique value proposition that your idea brings will set you apart from competitors.

An idea that fast tracks to an MVP makes a quantum leap of faith

Will your Start-Up have a short life expectancy and end up in the Start-Up cemetery?

The question every Start-Up needs to ask is …

Does my Start-Up have strategic clarity?

If the answer is yes then the next question is…

What is my Start-Up’s strategic clarity?

Let’s look at some examples of what strategic clarity looks like…

  • You know where the growth is that your Start-Up will tap into and how to get traction there?
  • You know which problems you are solving and which customers you are solving them for.
  • You know how your customers’ will behave, how to drive their buying decisions and have positioned your product/service to ensure that you have and can maintain a competitive edge.
  • You know where your priorities need to lie in the short, medium and long terms and have articulated that in a business strategy
  • Your internal customers have taken ownership and responsibility of their roles, are engaged and aligned with and understand the business’ priorities. This enables them to plan and achieve key performance indicators benchmarked to the business strategy.
  • The decision-making process that is adopted by the business is consistent with the strategic priorities of the business and the business knows what it needs to achieve to be successful and in what timeframe.
  • You are confident in your business model that it is intelligent and uses this intelligence to make informed decisions from data that are qualified and quantified and aligned to your business strategy. This justifies any and all investment of resource and focus.

When do I need strategic clarity?

A Start-Up needs strategic clarity in the formation phase and before the validation phase. You can’t effectively validate an idea without insight that data brings to qualify and quantify it.

How do I get strategic clarity?

An Advisory Board of specialists that includes the founders themselves, is the best option to not only find strategic clarity but also determine a pathway to funding that is derisked by the insight the process delivers for investors.

The life expectation of your Start-Up will come down to the insight you gain and the strategic clarity you achieve. An Advisory Board can give you a real investor and competitor advantage

 

 

Originally posted 2017-03-15 19:30:16.

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