20 of the most important issues for business | Предприниматель

20 of the most important issues for business

Entrepreneurs can not fully protect your business from the vagaries of the market. What can they do, it is to deal with fundamental issues that determine the fate of any business. Seek answers to these questions – a tedious task, requiring intellectual and, and emotional honesty. Well, if you start to think about them long before the money is spent, goods are released, and customers are lost. But the real work – not stop to answer these questions. As the business grew, new opportunities and threats, and yesterday’s answers may already be enough. Ceaseless pondering weighty issues – that helps Microsoft, Wal-Mart, Hewlett-Packard and Google to keep on top. Taking into account the need for this fight, we represent the 20 most important questions that must answer an entrepreneur, and continue to respond over and over again to build a thriving business.

What is the value of your proposal?

If you can not explain in simple words in three sentences, why people need your product, you have no value proposition and, consequently, you have no business. Point.

Will the demand for your product?

Character series “Seinfeld” was convinced that his key to riches – creating a bra. He did not conduct any research to prove that his goods are in demand. Do not think that you will be able to create demand where it did not exist. Do not sell the regular men’s bra.

What distinguishes your product from your competitors?

Starbucks made people believe that they need the caffeine brew for $ 4, and Louis Vuitton persuaded them to lay out $ 1,500 for denim handbags. But it’s not just marketing. If you want to succeed in business, you need to offer tangible value, which others do not. For example, the lowest possible price (Wal-Mart), the original design (Apple), exceptional ease (FedEx). Find out why your product, and beat at this point.

your business scalable?

The difference between the conservative state, and obscene wealth lies in the scale. Well, when the release of each subsequent product you have spent less and less cost. Take, for example, software. After Microsoft paid for development of the code, the marginal cost of production of each additional copy of Windows is negligible. And some models do not scale. For example, in the service sector, where, together with revenues growing need for personnel.

How do you personally committed to their cause?

Do you have a family with two children. Are you ready to work 100 hours a week over the next two years to promote your startup? If you want to control everything, be prepared to sacrifice everything – at least to begin with.

What is your strength?

Google is powerful search algorithms, Steinway works wonders with wood, Cisco sniffing and buys a promising new technology. Understand what you do well, and do just that. The obvious point, but a lot of passionate entrepreneurs in this burned. In a world of many possibilities.

What is your weakness?

Know what you do well and what is bad. For example, Apple does not make the camera to the iPhone, and buy them on the side. Countless online stores bought third-party developers to Web sites and payment systems. Spend resources to get mediocre results – suicide. Do what you know how, and find reliable partners to manage the rest.

How many will pay your customers?

Why do people pay for Vanish twice more than the generic bleach? Determine the upper limit of the price the buyer is willing to pay for the goods, whether it be an iPhone or a bottle of bleach – then get one of the most powerful levers for profits. Consultants get paid big money for help in determining the correct price.

what authority have your customers?

What happens if I sell rubber scrapers the only company in town, washing windows? If buyer require large discount for your business come to an end. It is better to advance to expand its customer base.

what authority have your suppliers?

The less you have suppliers, the greater their power. Manufacture of watches antique knotty pine from it may seem a good idea, but what if you have only one source of knotty wood? Answer: you have to pay. On the other hand, beware of hungry vendors willing to work very cheap – they often do not monitor the quality.

How to sell products?

Dell Computer sells its computers directly. General Motors and Coca-Cola relied on distributors. Clothing company, such as Ralph Lauren, using both internal and external distribution channels. And Apple provides branded stores. Whatever sales method you choose, make sure it is consistent with the overall strategy for your business.

How should promote your product?

Tell everyone about your company and not go broke – not an easy task. In the mid-1990s, America Online spent so much money to distribute demo versions of its software, which then had to hide these costs in the balance sheet. Later this accounting method was banned, and millions of your profits are gone.

Is the threat of new entrants?

If your market sector can make money, the competition will be like. If not a direct competitor (recall that Microsoft did with Netscape), the other technology can knock out your rug from under their feet (look at what has made with Kodak digital photo). Long before this happens, build barriers to new entrants – make patent, achieve long-term lease, create a loyal customer base.

How do you protect your intellectual property?

A small addition to the previous item. Let’s say you invented a machine that can reach speeds of up to 240 km / h in only one of solar energy. After a few months, five quick-witted competitors dismantled your model, and now brings to market their own versions. Before showing examples of the public, arrange temporary patent. It will protect your idea for a year, until you finalize the details.

What do you need initial capital?

Any investor who invests in companies at early stages, and any small business consultant will tell you that most startups fails due to insufficient capital. While there are no hard rules, “double its initial estimate of required capital”, – said Jim Peck, the head developer of software for dentists Curve Dental.

How will you finance your business?

You have a choice: a rich aunt, credit cards (dangerous), a business angel, venture capital (if you have a serious matter), a bank loan (good luck in the search) and the most expensive way – the issue of shares. Be careful: the sale of shares leads to an erosion of capital, loss of control and difficulties in management. In general, improve your business if you can. And finally, do not forget to match money from the timing of your assets and liabilities in terms of payment. The discrepancy may be painful.

How much money do you need to survive the first few years?

For those who slept the previous item: Follow the money. A lot of entrepreneurs boasts the financial projections of growth, but their pockets are emptied before, as the good times on the horizon zabrezzhat. (Remember the bankrupt dot-com?) Bear Aeron chairs and the Mac, until you are getting more than you spend.

What are your financial projections?

Movement is impossible if you do not have a destination. Two important milestones: 1) operating return – when your business gets more money than it spends over a certain period, and 2) investment payback, when you finally beat off his initial investment (including adjustment for inflation). Financial projections should be justified. Draw too optimistic a picture – and experienced investors will flee from you. Have you run out of money.

How happy your assistants?

What kind of American Idol without Simon Cowell? Soon we all know, but many think that the show would no longer what it used to. If you happen to find great talent, try to restrain him. Salary – just part of the equation.

What is your ultimate goal?

Want to lose your business to the first comer man with the money? So did the owners of MySpace, but not Facebook. Different objectives require different strategies. Always remember, what you want.

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