Pivot!! Make Your Decisions Quickly

Those of you that know me, or have been following my Business Execution blog, know that I am a big proponent of planning – both strategic and tactical.  So, how can I now be advising you to make your decisions quickly?  Doesn’t that fly-in-the-face of taking the time to think things through and plan?

Let me explain why I don’t think that it does, and why I believe that the speed of your decision making can be an accelerant to the growth of your business.  After all, I am as big a proponent of execution as I am of planning.

Can money make you stupid?

Last week I talked about the new JOBS Act making “equity-based crowd funding” legal; and how I believe it is a good thing for startup funding.  So this week I thought I would talk about a potential pitfall for the entrepreneur from this “easy money”.  I’m ignoring any pitfalls that may be introduced by the act itself – until we see a draft of the regulations I think it is too soon to comment.

While I don’t have any “real data”, based on my own experience I would say that when you talk to people starting a business at least 80% of them come out with some statement along the lines of “if I can raise [insert number here], then all of our problems will be solved”.  Unfortunately for many of them, raising the amount of money they are targeting – or even twice as much – won’t help them succeed.

Small business – the engine of the US economy?

Politicians and the media like to spout what seems to be conventional wisdom that “small business is the engine of the US economy” and that these businesses create the most jobs.  But is that so?

One of the criteria describing Collaborative Xceleration’s target market niche is “small companies looking for exponential growth”.  So, recently I’ve been doing some research into how many of these companies exist in the U.S., and what their geographic distribution is (this is also input to deciding where we are going live!).  As part of that research, I’ve come across some interesting data that addresses the “engine of the economy” statement which I thought I would share with you.

Building a Better ‘First-Time Entrepreneur’

This week I talked with an entrepreneur (no names; no pack drill!) who isn’t happy with the speed with which their business is progressing (come to think of it I’m not sure I’ve ever met an entrepreneur who was happy with their speed of business progress [superemotions file=”icon_biggrin.gif” title=”Big Grin”]) – and, actually, my conversations were with more than one such entrepreneur.

This got me thinking about weaknesses exhibited in the businesses of first-time entrepreneurs, specifically during the period before they get to revenue.  My conversation with this individual covered most of the topics that I’ve detailed below; they are ones that commonly come up in conversations with first-time entrepreneurs (I’m sure you can come up with others!!).

Business planning, not business plans

I usually cringe when I hear an entrepreneur or small business owner talking about writing (or worse, being told to write) a business plan.  The reason I cringe is that, too often, what people mean by “business plan” is some 30+ page Word document that no-one will ever read and which will end up as a dusty binder on a bookshelf, or some forgotten bytes on a dusty hard drive.

Gifts for Your Business?

In many cultures this time of year includes a ritual of gift-giving.

When you think about your business, what gift(s) are you giving to it to make 2012 the best year it can be for your business?  Or, don’t you think your business deserves the same love and attention that you give to your other family members?

Maybe you are starting a new business in the New Year; what gifts will you bestow on your new baby to give it the initial boost it needs as it starts out on the road to success?  And, what gifts – gold? frankincense? myrrh? – might others bring?

Thanksgiving and the Holiday Season 2011

Today is Thanksgiving here in the U.S. Traditionally, it is the start of the year-end holiday season which lasts through the New Year. Many business owners (not those in retail!) see this as a slower time of the year with people distracted by shopping, holiday parties and vacations tacked around the actual holidays. So, if the customer side of your business is slower, maybe it is a good time to spend more time than usual on planning and improving your business.

I want my business to grow. What should I do first?

There’s a lot of advice out there for entrepreneurs and small business owners – “make sure you have a strategic plan”; “write a business plan”; “you need a sales & marketing strategy”; “you have to execute”; “you need a great team”; and on and on.  As with most advice there is usually a kernel of truth (and in many cases more than that) in what is written.  The problem, in my opinion, is that too often the writers make their specific subject – “plan”, “team”, “brand”, “execute”, etc. – seem as though it is the most important aspect of building your business.