If It Ain’t Broke … Innovate It ~ 15 Reasons Why You Should

The old saying ‘If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’ was a famous catch cry of yesteryear. Unfortunately many still live by it.  What if they were to replace ‘don’t fix it’ with ‘innovate it’?

Innovate

Change is often seen as difficult, confronting and easier to avoid, rather than embrace

15 Reasons Why You Should Innovate

Competitiveness

The world as we know it is becoming increasingly more competitive. The way people are now looking at solving problems and the way they are delivering solutions is becoming more attractive for customers to try different options.

If your business is not in a position to compete, you may not lead, win, place or even be in the running for your customer’s loyalty or dollar.

Training your people and business to be competitive is like training an athlete for a marathon.  You must plan how you will run the course, develop a strategy to overcome obstacles, and understand your competitors to know how to position yourself to take advantage, and gain market share as you run the race.

Relevancy

Do you remember when you used to buy something that you now refer to as a ‘so yesterday’ way of doing something?  At the time you probably thought you would never do without it, and it was the only way to solve your problem.  That was until someone came up with a smarter way of solving your problem and now you would never do it the old way again.

Can your business afford to be seen as irrelevant in the way you solve one or more problems? How can you think differently to solve other problems, or solve the current problem you are already solving differently, for existing and new consumers?

Opportunity

If you open your eyes and assess the market you play in, and consider other markets that have adopted innovative approaches that may bring opportunity for your market, what do you see?

Being aware and open to change and the opportunity it can bring seems to be common sense, however, many still choose complacency and fear that opening the door to opportunity may create more problems than it solves.

What are you doing in your business to discover opportunity, and when you do discover it, what are you doing with that knowledge, how are you applying it, and where can it lead your business?

Viability

At first glance the word viability might seem odd when referring to an established business, however, it is a crucial word to consider.  Your business’ viability is only as robust as your business mindset.  If you encourage or allow complacency or cost-cutting as your primary option to remain viable, you are setting your business up for performance to decline.

Is your business mindset one that focusses on growth and expansion rather than cost-cutting and contraction to solve challenges caused by the changing market you operate in?  Balance is important, but it is how you think about this question that determines the direction of your business.

Diversification

Do you have only one revenue stream that powers your business? One speed revenue models can limit business potential and will create vulnerability in operational capability, capacity and stability.

If that revenue stream diminishes or dries up how will your business survive?  How can you diversify what you offer to solve your existing, and new customer problems?

If you tap into how you can innovate your products and services to diversify what you offer your customers, how will this create an opportunity for your business?

Collaboration

You know you can’t do everything yourself, but despite this, more often than not, we continue to try to deliver solutions that are better done by someone else.

  • How does your business collaborate with other businesses, individuals and organisations?
  • What have you learnt, and continue to learn, from these relationships?
  • What value does your network offer, and how does this benefit your business and those you work with?
  • How do you collaborate to accentuate the strengths of both parties to innovate and create?

Redundancy

The fear factor of the possibility of redundancy of a business in a marketplace is often hidden under a blanket of ignorance.  Ignorance to the fact that unless the business chooses to evolve and innovate, it will rapidly lose worth in the eyes of the customer, and risk becoming redundant.

What do you do in your business to ensure that you will not become an ‘industry dinosaur’?

Scalability

To be able to scale, your business needs a strategy to guide you.  That strategy must be agile and intuitive to change and embrace innovation to enable success.

Understanding your customer, who they are, what they want, how they want to be communicated with, and where they want to engage and interact, must underpin your business strategy.

Are you building a customer-centric business strategy that demonstrates your plan to scale? If so, what framework and benchmarks are in place to measure that journey and accelerate that growth in a timely manner?

Responsiveness

Customers like to be seen, heard and feel important.  We should now consider replacing the old saying ‘Content is King’ with a new saying, ‘Customer is King’.

The reality is that without your customers you do not have a business

If your customers do not feel like you are hearing them, or they feel like they are invisible to your business, they will react by not engaging with your business.

How do you talk to your customers and where do you engage and interact with them?  Is this by your design or theirs?

When you deliver your products or services to your customer they will judge you on how responsive you are to them, and how you make them feel.  Investing in finding out how your customer thinks, and responding accordingly, tells your customer you are putting them first.

Intuitivity

When your business plans how you deliver your products or services do you do you think like your customers think?

This question is an important one to ask if you haven’t done so already.  Creating an intuitive customer journey for each of your customer types communicates to your customers that you have recognized, acknowledged and are delivering what they want.  When done well this creates ‘customer utopia’.

Investment

Do you have an exit strategy and why is this important?  An exit or/and an acquisition strategy helps communicate growth and innovation for investment.  Cash injection through investment is a necessary tool to innovate and scale, to establish an attractive investment opportunity to make acquisitions, to diversify or expand or to innovate, nurture and grow to scale and exit.

How attractive is your business to investors?  What does the evolution of your business look like and how are you planning to make this happen?

Capability

What are your capability gaps?  Like your regular doctor check-ups, analysing your business capabilities gives your business a health check and insight into where your business needs attention and where your offering is not being optimized for your customers.

This process also identifies where you can identify trends and innovate to increase not only capability but also capacity, to solve problems that you may not have realised needed solving.

When did your business last make an appointment for a business check-up to discover how healthy your business really is?

Culture

Culture can make or break a business’ ability to reach its potential.  The challenge is always to bring your people along on the journey with you.

Traditionally we create top-down hierarchies which may only serve to create divisions and disconnect.  Consider flatter hierarchies based on operational competencies and strengths that are measurable. This can enable you to innovate with agility.

Do you structure your work environment to create open communication, transparency, collaboration, engagement and ownership of tasks and processes?  What yardsticks do you use to measure performance based on responsibility and accountability?

By structuring your teams to become empowered, and not just to engage, you are able to create an environment that is collaborative and conducive to setting goals and achieving outcomes.

Appeal

We live in a world of lots of bright and shiny things that capture people’s attention and imagination.

How do you inspire, excite, shock and delight your customers?

If you are creating an experience that your customers will enjoy, remember and share, then you are building brand engagement and evangelism.

To continue to enjoy this relationship with your customers you must innovate.  Immediacy demands innovation, to not only get the attention of existing and new customers but to convert that attention into a relationship that is reciprocal, and satisfies the needs of both your customer and your business.

Sustainability

Business is facing becoming more transient than it ever has before.  To remain in the game your business needs to determine how to sustain existing customer patronage and understand how to entice new customers to come on board to grow your business.

To do this you need to have a business strategy that has sustainability at its core.  This simply means that you need to build a foundation that is true and pivot off this proactively to innovate and behave in an agile manner, to take advantage of change, trends and opportunity.

If it ain’t broke… break it and put it back together differently.

Chances are what you will find is that doing business in different ways may bring better and more measurable results than the way you have always done business before.

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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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Quiz – How smart is your time management?

You have to be smart about how you manage your time. Sometimes you are wasting it on things that you are doing and don’t even realize it.

Use the following quiz to help you identify your time wasters.

time management quiz

Quiz yourself: How smart is your time management?

To determine how well you are ‘weighing up what is important’ look at what you chose for your answers in the quiz and see how you rated. Answers and overview are below.

#Urgency        

1/ When deciding what the priority of a task is how often do you let others dictate how fast you complete a task?

(a)Never     (b) Rarely    (c) Occasionally    (d) Often    (e) Always

2/ Do you consider what the impact of the task is when determining how urgent it really is?

(a)Never     (b) Rarely    (c) Occasionally    (d) Often    (e) Always

3/ Do you look at whether you could delegate the task to someone else before taking it on yourself?

(a)Never     (b) Rarely    (c) Occasionally    (d) Often    (e) Always

4/ Do you take the time to determine if the task is actually urgent?

(a)Never     (b) Rarely    (c) Occasionally    (d) Often    (e) Always

5/ Do you look at the task as a standalone task or see if it is related to other tasks and if so how urgent it is in context with this?

(a)Never     (b) Rarely    (c) Occasionally    (d) Often    (e) Always

#Expectation

1/ Do you put unrealistic expectations on yourself to complete tasks?

(a)Never     (b) Rarely    (c) Occasionally    (d) Often    (e) Always

2/Do you allow others to put unrealistic expectations on you to perform a task by a certain time?

(a)Never     (b) Rarely    (c) Occasionally    (d) Often    (e) Always

3/Do you examine if a task can be broken down into sub-tasks to meet expectations?

(a)Never     (b) Rarely    (c) Occasionally    (d) Often    (e) Always

4/Do you put tasks in context to a project or other tasks when reviewing what the expectation is?

(a)Never     (b) Rarely    (c) Occasionally    (d) Often    (e) Always

5/Is the expectation of completing the task delivering a short or long term benefit? Do you look at this when planning?

(a)Never     (b) Rarely    (c) Occasionally    (d) Often    (e) Always

#Impact

1/Do you examine the impact of not completing the task in relation to short or long term outcomes?

(a)Never     (b) Rarely    (c) Occasionally    (d) Often    (e) Always

2/Do you look at time versus impact of completing the task?

(a)Never     (b) Rarely    (c) Occasionally    (d) Often    (e) Always

3/Do you ask yourself… If I complete the task will it alleviate a problem that impacts other areas?

(a)Never     (b) Rarely    (c) Occasionally    (d) Often    (e) Always

4/Do you do a benefits versus impact of not doing a task analysis on tasks?

(a)Never     (b) Rarely    (c) Occasionally    (d) Often    (e) Always

5/Do you consider whether a task will resolve itself if you do not do it before proceeding?

(a)Never     (b) Rarely    (c) Occasionally    (d) Often    (e) Always

#Value

1/ Do you consider what the value of completing a task is worth?

(a)Never     (b) Rarely    (c) Occasionally    (d) Often    (e) Always

2/ Do you use measurements to determine value of a task?

(a)Never     (b) Rarely    (c) Occasionally    (d) Often    (e) Always

3/ Do you consider how long the value will be felt by completing a task?

(a)Never     (b) Rarely    (c) Occasionally    (d) Often    (e) Always

4/ Do you look at who is determining the value of completing a task…you or other stakeholders?

(a)Never     (b) Rarely    (c) Occasionally    (d) Often    (e) Always

5/ Do you ask yourself will you see the value from completing a task continue to benefit as an ongoing value add?

(a)Never     (b) Rarely    (c) Occasionally    (d) Often    (e) Always

#Efficiency

1/Do you review how quick you can perform a task before doing it?

(a)Never     (b) Rarely    (c) Occasionally    (d) Often    (e) Always

2/Do you try and make the task more efficient by breaking down tasks where possible into sub-tasks?

(a)Never     (b) Rarely    (c) Occasionally    (d) Often    (e) Always

3/ Do you review where tasks can be done in parallel to make the process more efficient?

(a)Never     (b) Rarely    (c) Occasionally    (d) Often    (e) Always

4/ Do you do a needs analysis on tasks before starting them?

(a)Never     (b) Rarely    (c) Occasionally    (d) Often    (e) Always

Do you look at whether a task really needs to be a task or is it part of another task?

(a)Never     (b) Rarely    (c) Occasionally    (d) Often    (e) Always


What do your quiz scores suggest?

#Urgency
1/ A 4 B 2 C 1 D 3 E 5 2/ A 5 B 4 C 3 D 2 E 1 3/ A 5 B 4 C 3 D 2 E 1 4/ A 5 B 4 C 3 D 2 E 1 5/ A 5 B 4 C 3 D 2 E 1

#Expectation
1/ A 1 B 2 C 3 D 4 E 5 2/ A 1 B 2 C 3 D 4 E 5 3/ A 5 B 4 C 3 D 2 E 1 4/ A 5 B 4 C 3 D 2 E 1 5/ A 5 B 4 C 3 D 2 E 1

#Impact
1/ A 5 B 4 C 3 D 2 E 1 2/ A 5 B 4 C 3 D 2 E 1 3/ A 5 B 4 C 3 D 2 E 1 4/ A 5 B 4 C 3 D 2 E 1 5/ A 5 B 4 C 3 D 2 E 1

#Value
1/ A 5 B 4 C 3 D 2 E 1 2/ A 5 B 4 C 3 D 2 E 1 3/ A 5 B 4 C 3 D 2 E 1 4/ A 5 B 4 C 3 D 2 E 1 5/ A 5 B 4 C 3 D 2 E 1

#Efficiency
1/ A 5 B 4 C 3 D 2 E 1 2/ A 5 B 4 C 3 D 2 E 1 3/ A 5 B 4 C 3 D 2 E 1 4/ A 5 B 4 C 3 D 2 E 1 5/ A 5 B 4 C 3 D 2 E 1

Your score

100-150
Congratulations on your quiz results! You know how to determine what is important and why it is important when managing your tasks and time. To continually improve review where you scored a 3 or more for any question and think about how you could manage that better.

75-100
You have a firm grasp on what is important and stay on track a lot of the time. You may however struggle to determine why some tasks are or are not important in your rush to meet deadlines or please others.
Focus on the questions where you have answered between a 3 and 5 to pinpoint to determine where you can improve.

50-75
You need to spend a lot more time assessing how you spend your time rather than just putting together a to-do list that comprises of anything and everything as this becomes de-motivational and unproductive. Identify where your strengths are (where you answered between 1 and 2) and discover how you can apply this to the areas that you have identified with lower scores (between 3 and 5) to improve in these areas.

0-50
Stop multitasking and trying to be a people pleaser and learn how to say ‘no’. Your quiz results indicate that you are a chronic ‘busy’ person who never quite achieves everything that they have set for themselves or others because you always have your hand up to take on more without a plan to manage how to do it.

Footnote:

Use this quiz to assist you to understand why this is happening or engage a business or life coach to help you to step back and assess and re-position how you are approaching what you are trying to achieve. Once you see the rewards of time management you will never go back to chaos.

Learn more about time management…

Time Power: A Proven System for Getting More Done in Less Time Than You Ever Thought Possible by Brian Tracy

Overflowing with quick and effective time-saving strategies, Brian Tracy’s Time Power lets readers in on the secrets to being more productive, earning more money, and getting more satisfaction from life.

The 4 Disciplines of Execution: Achieving Your Wildly Important Goals by Chris McChesney

An insightful new book from the multimillion-copy bestselling author Sean Covey and the FranklinCovey organization based on their work with hundreds of thousands of employees and large companies to unveil the essential disciplines proven to help businesses and individuals realize their most important goals.

Evernote

Evernote for iPhone, iPad, and Apple Watch gets you effortlessly organized with notes that sync between all your devices. Be productive anywhere:
• Write notes, checklists, and research
• Clip from anywhere on the web
• Discuss your work with others, right within the app
• Present ideas without creating a slide deck

Originally posted 2016-01-12 10:45:13.

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Weighing up what is important can be a game changer

We all know that our time is finite. After all there is only 24 hours in each and every day. The real question most people struggle with is how they prioritize, manage and spend their time to make the most of this precious resource. Weighing up what is important will make a significant difference to the effectiveness of your time management.

weighing it up

5 Game Changers when weighing up how you spend your time

#Priority – Urgency

Everything is urgent and is top priority today. Determining what urgent really means is important to determine where a task should sit on your to-do list. Here are a couple of questions you should always ask yourself when weighing up what is important and before committing your time to an urgent task.

1. Is the urgency driven by poor management by another person or business?
2. If the task is not done urgently what will the impact be?
3. Can you delegate the task to somebody else or is the performance of the task solely resting with you
4. Why is the task urgent?
5. Is the task part of a bigger project and if so how will it impact the other tasks that need to occur to bring the project to fruition?

#Priority – Expectation

1. Are you putting an expectation on yourself to complete a certain task and if so why?
2. Are others putting an expectation on you to perform this task by a certain time and if so try to understand why?
3. Is the expectation realistic or can it be broken down into sub-tasks?
4. If you complete the task are there other tasks that still need to be completed before your task will meet the expectations of a project or is it a standalone task? You need to put the task into context.
5. How will completing this task successfully benefit you in the short or long term?

#Priority – Impact

1. If you don’t complete this task how will that action impact on you in the short or long term?
2. If you look at the time needed to complete the task and evaluate that against the impact of not doing the task what is your conclusion?
3. Will completing the task alleviate a problem that has been holding you back and impacting other areas of your life?
4. If you weigh up the benefits Vs the impact of not doing or doing the task what would that look like?
5. If you don’t do that task will it resolve itself or continue to reappear on your to-do list until you do it and is it related to another task that will be impacted if you do not do it?

#Priority – Value

1. What value does completing the task bring?
2. How are you measuring the value of completing the task to determine how to   prioritize it?
3. Is the value short lived or will it continue to bring value?
4. Who is determining the value of the task, you or others?
5. Where will you see the value in the greater scheme of things?

#Priority – Efficiency

1. How quick is it to perform the task?
2. Can you breakdown the task into sub-tasks to make them more achievable?
3. Can you marry this task with another to get a better all-round outcome?
4. Is the task really a must do or a want to do sometime task?
5. Can the task be assimilated as a step of another task?

Take the time when putting your to-do list together and reviewing it to ask yourself the above questions. You will be able to get more clarity to prioritize how, when, where and why you perform the tasks at hand.

You will start to see that much of what you have on your to-do list is prioritized by urgency and expectation by external forces rather than by how the value of the tasks chosen will impact and benefit you or your business in both the short and long term.  This will give you the perspective you need to choose when weighing up what is really important.

What does your to-do list look like?

Learn more about time management…

Time Power: A Proven System for Getting More Done in Less Time Than You Ever Thought Possible by Brian Tracy

Overflowing with quick and effective time-saving strategies, Brian Tracy’s Time Power lets readers in on the secrets to being more productive, earning more money, and getting more satisfaction from life.

The 4 Disciplines of Execution: Achieving Your Wildly Important Goals by Chris McChesney

An insightful new book from the multimillion-copy bestselling author Sean Covey and the FranklinCovey organization based on their work with hundreds of thousands of employees and large companies to unveil the essential disciplines proven to help businesses and individuals realize their most important goals.

Evernote

Evernote for iPhone, iPad, and Apple Watch gets you effortlessly organized with notes that sync between all your devices. Be productive anywhere:
• Write notes, checklists, and research
• Clip from anywhere on the web
• Discuss your work with others, right within the app
• Present ideas without creating a slide deck

Originally posted 2016-01-11 16:55:46.

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5 Time Management Game Changers

Stop wasting your time! Your time management is one of the most important skills you can acquire.  Prioritize tasks or you will find yourself saying ‘yes’ to things you should be saying ‘no’ to. The time you spend doing this will be time well spent.

time management is important

 

Ask yourself the following questions when weighing up what is important with your time management. This will provoke thought and reflection on how you really manage your time. Take our quiz to have a more in depth look at how you are managing your time.

  • What is really urgent and what is not when planning how to spend your time?
  • Are you reacting to your or others expectations when you decide how to spend your time?
  • What is the impact of how you are choosing to spend your time?
  • Ask yourself what value does completing tasks bring to the outcomes you are trying to achieve?
  • How quick is it to perform tasks on your to-do list?

“Increase your productivity and define your purpose”

Learn more about time management…

Time Power: A Proven System for Getting More Done in Less Time Than You Ever Thought Possible by Brian Tracy

Overflowing with quick and effective time-saving strategies, Brian Tracy’s Time Power lets readers in on the secrets to being more productive, earning more money, and getting more satisfaction from life.

The 4 Disciplines of Execution: Achieving Your Wildly Important Goals by Chris McChesney

An insightful new book from the multi-million copy bestselling author Sean Covey and the Franklin Covey organization. This is based on their work with hundreds of thousands of employees and large companies and unveils the essential disciplines proven to help businesses and individuals realize their most important goals.

Evernote

Evernote for iPhone, iPad, and Apple Watch gets you effortlessly organized with notes that sync between all your devices. Be productive anywhere:
• Write notes, checklists, and research
• Clip from anywhere on the web
• Discuss your work with others, right within the app
• Present ideas without creating a slide deck

Originally posted 2016-01-11 16:54:47.

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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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