Monday 28 January 2008

The art of the start

Today I took a "test drive" of Guy Kawasaki's latest book, The art of the Start, by reading its first FREE chapter from his web site. It's interesting! And has prompted me to buy the book! The first chapter titled The Art of Starting, provides five important things that an entrepreneur must accomplish, a mini-chapter on the Art of Internal Entrepreneuring and FAQ.

The list of five important things is as follows:
  1. Make meaning - Complete this sentence: If your organization never existed, the world would be worse off because _________________________.
  2. Make Mantra: Mantra is something short and sweet such as Authentic athletic performance (Nike), Fun family entertainment (Disney), Rewarding everyday moments (Starbucks), Think (IBM), and Winning is everything (Vince Lombardi’s Green Bay Packers).
  3. Get going: Follow these key principles: Think big, Find a few soulmates, Polarize people, Design different, Use prototypes as market research.
  4. Define your business model: Here the advice is be specific, keep it simple and copy somebody!
  5. Weave a MAT (Milestones, Assumptions and Tasks): Seven milestones viz., Prove your concept, Complete design specifications, Finish a prototype, Raise capital, Ship a testable version to customers, Ship the final version to customers and Achieve breakeven. Assumptions about product or service performance metrics, market size, gross margin, sales calls per salesperson, conversion rate of prospects to customers, length of sales cycle, return on investment for the customer, technical support calls per unit shipped, payment cycle for receivables and payables, compensation requirements, prices of parts and supplies and customer return on investment and finally tasks such as renting office space, finding key vendors, setting up accounting and payroll systems, filing legal documents and purchasing insurance policies.
The list of recommendations for internal entrepreneurs is as follows:
  1. Put the company first
  2. Kill the cash cows
  3. Stay under the radar
  4. Find a godfather
  5. Get a separate building
  6. Give hope to the hopeful
  7. Anticipate, and then jump on, tectonic shifts
  8. Build on what exists
  9. Collect and share data
  10. Let the vice presidents come to you
  11. Dismantle when done
  12. Reboot your brain

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