Marty Zwilling, who’s been cited in this blog many times, had a good post for startups on making your business transformative, but we think many of the ideas are equally relevant to existing businesses, so we’re republishing it, with our comments. Many of Marty’s ideas were based on a book by Jeffrey Harris, ‘Tranformative Entrepreneurs’. Here are the tenets:
1. It’s all about the people. Good ideas need to be implemented, with a plan, and your people do the implementation. And, all the people need to buy in to the plan. Even for existing businesses, the same tenets apply.
2. Seek innovation that begets invention. Only about 10% of patents granted in the United States have any commercial value. And, the commercial value of the invention has to be validated by your commercial market.
3. Find enough venturesome capital. Nearly all businesses seeking to scale will need venture capital at some point. However, venture capitalists aren’t always very venturesome; they tend to invest in probjects are are like ones they’ve already invested in.
4. Create a formidable and durable business model (and adapt it over time). Your business model is your value proposition. ‘Free’ sounds like a great business model, but it doesn’t imply value, and you might have difficulty monetizing ‘free’. Look at Twitter. Your customers will validate and make your business model formidable; it’s up to you and your team to keep it durable. Durability is one of the questions surrounding Apple, although there’s no denying their present formidability.
5. Grab the ‘next mover’ advantage. First movers often have an advantage, but don’t know what to do when the ‘second movers’ challenge them. Apple wasn’t a first mover in any of it’s markets, but is a fearsome second mover. Same with Google.
6. Failure is an option. Building a business is hard, risky work. The process of innovation is not always pretty or successful. (Our courses can take much of the risk out, but certainly not elminate it). Listen to the market, talk to your customers, and pivot if failure seems imminent. Failure isn’t the end of the world
7. Government matters. Whether you like it or not, government policies and regulations will be part of your business life. On the plus side, there might be government grants or contracts that might be your early lifeblood.
8. Innovate or die. In a world connected via the internet and social media, news travels at the speed of light, and accelerates the pace at which everyone knows about you. What they know, they can copy, and you’ve got to stay ahead of the curve.