Persisting Through a Capital Raise


 

 

Raising funding for your company is challenging. This is particularly true if your company is new and doesn’t have assets or an operating history. In fact, the vast majority of new companies fail to raise capital, and as a result, never fully launch.

The first step to funding is to prepare your business plan. Please feel free to use our for-profit business plan template or nonprofit business plan template to help with this effort.

Armed with your business plan, you’re ready to raise funding. Below, I detail the experience and lessons learned from a new company for which I helped raise several million dollars, to help your business successful raise money if and when needed.

Go After the Right Sources of Funding

The first key to raising funding is to pursue the right sources of funding at the right time. There are numerous forms of funding from which you can potentially choose: bank loans, credit cards, angel investors, venture capitalist, crowdfunding, etc.

Each funding source has different criteria. For example, to receive a bank loan you generally need a 3-year operating history. And to raise venture capital, you typically need to have already proved your concept and have the ability to scale rapidly.

No matter how interesting your company, or how amazing its growth potential, if you pursue a funding source for which you don’t meet the criteria, you will fail.

For my client, which was seeking venture capital, we initially failed to raise venture capital since we didn’t have proof of concept. So, we raised money from angel investors, used it to prove the concept, and then pursued and successfully raised funding from venture capitalists.

It’s Nearly Always a Numbers Game

Even when you have a great product at a great price, success in sales is a numbers game. That is, you still need to present your product to many potential buyers before one purchases.

The same is true with raising funding. No matter how great your company is, most investors will reject you. Even the mighty Google was rejected by multiple venture capital firms when it first approached them.

You must be willing to present your company to many prospects, be it multiple banks, angel investors, venture capital firms and so on. The majority of presentations will result in rejection. You just need one yes to be successful.

In my client’s case, we reached out to 118 venture capitalists. Forty-seven of them requested more information via email. We gave in-person or virtual presentations to fourteen of them. And one ultimately funded the company.

It Takes Time

In my client’s case, the entire funding process took just nearly 2 years. It took approximately 6 months to create a business plan and raising money from angel investors. This money was then used over an 8 month period to build technology to prove the client’s concept. Then, it took an additional 9 months to raise venture capital.

You Must Have a Clear Value Proposition

When we first started presenting to investors, my client explained itself as a MEMS company. You know what a MEMS company is, right? Of course you don’t, and neither did investors.

Likewise, explaining what MEMS stands for, micro-electro-mechanical-systems, didn’t help.

It was only when we focused on the benefits and applications of the MEMS technology (such as its use in improving the range of telecommunications equipment) and how the company had an advantage in the space, did investors get excited and write us a check.

Yes, You Can Ultimately Raise Money For Your Business

While not easy, most entrepreneurs and business owners can raising funding. You need to have thick skin as you’ll face a lot of rejection. You need to be patient as it will take time. You need to focus on the types of funding sources that are fit for your business. And you need to make sure you can clearly articulate the value of your company.

The good news is that if you can assemble each of these pieces, funding will be yours.  

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Why These 50 Companies are Positioned for Breakout Growth


 

Fortune Magazine and Boston Consulting Group just teamed up to create their inaugural "Fortune 50" list.

The list ranks companies best positioned for breakout growth in the years to come.

I love the list for a few reasons.

First, because it highlights some incredible companies and their amazing successes, like Salesforce (#1 on the List), Tesla, Intuit, Tableau, Splunk, and GoDaddy.

And, because the insights from the methodology utilized to create the list allow any executive, no matter their industry or type of business, to make their company perform better right away.
 

Its first component is an evaluation of a company’s market potential, defined as the “Present Value of Its Growth Opportunities (PVGO).

PVGO measure is the premium the stock market is willing to pay for the “hotness” of a company’s market sector. 

So companies ranked high on the Future 50 like Tesla, Facebook, and Netflix, driven by the great market bullishness for electric vehicles, social media, and on-demand entertainment respectively, score very high by this measure. 

The lesson here is pretty plain and simple.

For a higher probability of breakout growth, executives should study and understand carefully the overall growth of their market sector and if it is too low...

...then to think long and hard about pivoting to a more attractive one.

The next component of the methodology measures a company’s ability to actually deliver on its market potential.

This is described as a company’s vitality measurement - i.e how much internal strength and "bones" does it have to actually convert upon and profit from its market opportunities?

Into this determination go factors like Technology and Investment, i.e. the more a company invests back into itself, into its people and intellectual property (both via internal R&D and acquisitions), its probability of breakout growth commensurately goes up.

And it discovers, not surprisingly, that Younger-Aged leadership teams that have worked together for a long a time are more likely to deliver on breakout growth than older, recently assembled ones. 

While perhaps not politically correct, the statistics show that teams lead by chronologically older executives often struggle with change and growth.

Finally, the methodology makes powerful use of artificial intelligence tools like machine learning and natural language processing (NLP) to analyze 200,000 earning calls and 70,000 10Ks to measure the soundness and consistency of a company’s strategy and its capacity for innovation.

Here, the highest correlation with long-term revenue growth was found at those companies where their executives defaulted to words like "invest" and "vision" versus words like “current” and “short-term.” 

And, when those executives demonstrate Biological Thinking, or “ability to address the uncertainty and complexity of business environments with flexibility and adaptation.”

This may sound like a lot of jargon, but it is just the simple idea of prioritizing the long term over the short term while being willing to bob, weave, morph, and evolve in its pursuit.

Along with the simple, but so beautiful zen idea that as business leaders just talk about this kind of behavior, this alone increases their company’s prospects for breakout growth.

The Buddha famously said "we become what we think."

Well, the Future 50 List shows us that companies become great simply as their leaders think and talk about them like this every day in every way.

Can you do the same for your business? 

Want to Experience Breakout Growth Like the Future 50?  Tired of business as usual and want something BIG to happen to and for your company? 

Interested in selling your business in the next few years, or interested now in growing sales and profits?

Well, then complete this short questionnaire and we’ll reach out with our thoughts to help you.

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20 Reasons Why You Need a Business Plan


 

business plan

Below are our top 20 reasons why you need a business plan.

Reference our proven business plan template to most quickly and easily complete your plan.

1. To prove that you’re serious about your business. A formal business plan is necessary to show all interested parties -- employees, investors, partners and yourself -- that you are committed to building the business.


2. To establish business milestones. The business plan should clearly lay out the long-term milestones that are most important to the success of your business. To paraphrase Guy Kawasaki, a milestone is something significant enough to come home and tell your spouse about (without boring him or her to death). Would you tell your spouse that you tweaked the company brochure? Probably not. But you'd certainly share the news that you launched your new website or reached $1M in annual revenues.

3. To better understand your competition. Creating the business plan forces you to analyze the competition. All companies have competition in the form of either direct or indirect competitors, and it is critical to understand your company's competitive advantages.

4. To better understand your customer. Why do they buy when they buy? Why don’t they when they don't? An in-depth customer analysis is essential to an effective business plan and to a successful business.

5. To enunciate previously unstated assumptions.
The process of actually writing the business plan helps to bring previously "hidden" assumptions to the foreground. By writing them down and assessing them, you can test them and analyze their validity.

6. To assess the feasibility of your venture. How good is this opportunity? The business plan process involves researching your target market, as well as the competitive landscape, and serves as a feasibility study for the success of your venture.

7. To document your revenue model. How exactly will your business make money? This is a critical question to answer in writing, for yourself and your investors. Documenting the revenue model helps to address challenges and assumptions associated with the model.

8. To determine your financial needs. Does your business need to raise capital? How much? The business plan creation process helps you to determine exactly how much capital you need and what you will use it for. This process is essential for raising capital for business and for effectively employing the capital.

9. To attract investors. A formal business plan is the basis for financing proposals. The business plan answers investors' questions such as: Is there a need for this product/service? What are the financial projections? What is the company's exit strategy?

10. To reduce the risk of pursuing the wrong opportunity. The process of creating the business plan helps to minimize opportunity costs. Writing the business plan helps you assess the attractiveness of this particular opportunity, versus other opportunities.

11. To force you to research and really know your market. What are the most important trends in your industry? What are the greatest threats to your industry? Is the market growing or shrinking? What is the size of the target market for your product/service? Creating the business plan will help you to gain a wider, deeper, and more nuanced understanding of your marketplace.

12. To attract employees and a management team. To attract and retain top quality talent, a business plan is necessary. The business plan inspires employees and management that the idea is sound and that the business is poised to achieve its strategic goals.

13. To plot your course and focus your efforts. The business plan provides a roadmap from which to operate, and to look to for direction in times of doubt. Without a business plan, you may shift your short-term strategies constantly without a view to your long-term milestones.

14. To attract partners. Partners also want to see a business plan, in order to determine whether it is worth partnering with your business. Establishing partnerships often requires time and capital, and companies will be more likely to partner with your venture if they can read a detailed explanation of your company.

15. To position your brand. Creating the business plan helps to define your company's role in the marketplace. This definition allows you to succinctly describe the business and position the brand to customers, investors, and partners.

16. To judge the success of your business. A formal business plan allows you to compare actual operational results versus the business plan itself. In this way, it allows you to clearly see whether you have achieved your strategic, financing, and operational goals (and why you have or have not).

17. To reposition your business to deal with changing conditions. For example, during difficult economic conditions, if your current sales and operational models aren’t working, you can rewrite your business plan to define, try, and validate new ideas and strategies.

18. To document your marketing plan. How are you going to reach your customers? How will you retain them? What is your advertising budget? What price will you charge? A well-documented marketing plan is essential to the growth of a business.

19. To understand and forecast your company’s staffing needs. After completing your business plan, you will not be surprised when you are suddenly short-handed. Rather, your business plan provides a roadmap for your staffing needs, and thus helps to ensure smoother expansion.

20. To uncover new opportunities. Through the process of brainstorming, white-boarding and creative interviewing, you will likely see your business in a different light. As a result, you will often come up with new ideas for marketing your product/service and running your business.

 

 

 

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About Growthink

Since 1999, Growthink's business plan experts have assisted more than 1,500 clients in launching and growing their businesses, and raising more than $1 billion in growth financing.

Need help with your business plan? 

 

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Want a $105 Billion Offer for Your business?


 

Have you heard about Broadcom’s takeover bid for long-time competitor Qualcomm?

Well, it’s happening now and it has dominated business news this week.

Because, at an offer price of $105 billion, if completed, it would represent the largest technology industry deal ever.

Now, big numbers like these can arise some intense emotions in any ambitious businessperson.

The first can be a testy combination of jealousy and frustration often expressed as the question - “why aren't big, exciting, lucrative things and possibilities like this happening for my business?”

For sure, a $100 billion+ purchase offer is beyond even the conception of the vast majority of businesses, but the usual slow-moving “business-as-usual” fare can get so old sometimes, can it not?

From here, it can be a very slippery and enfeebling slope to wishing a deal like this fails - as if someone else’s failure could excuse or justify our own lack of business performance.

The second emotion can be more pure and advancing - greed.

Of the best kind - that carnal feeling that there is money to be made  - a giddy excitement that there exists in the world enough wealth and optimism to fuel a financial commitment and risk of such an inspirational magnitude.

We read about that $100 billion+ number and feel that as and when we “hit on something” that there will be well heeled suitors to court and offer us value on our promise - i.e at a level well beyond our business and financial performance to date.

From this space of possibility and inspiration, we excitedly and urgently get to work upon our “big business things.”

Things ranging from those that arise strategically and opportunistically, like here with Broadcom and an acquisition of a competitor.

To those that arise from the launch of a new product or service - a Tesla, an Uber, a Dropbox, a Netflix, etc.

To those that arise more "softly," but for the vast majority of businesses are more accessible.

Like sales, marketing, and organizational initiatives that transform the perception that people have of and toward our business.

Now, what all these “big things” have critically in common is an individual who draws that proverbial line in the sand and says what “our organization is about conjuring up and doing big things.”

Once this line is firmly and irrevocably drawn, then the “sausage making” commences - the messy and hard work of deducing down from big ambitions the type and scale (and at what risk profile and requiring of what resources) - of business projects, tactics, and initiatives to pursue.

Which, at times, can be VERY hard to do.

Because, sadly, the vast majority of business things just don't work.

Buyout offers fall through, or when consummated don’t return the amount of value as initially hoped and planned.

New products get stuck in development or meet apathy when introduced to market.

New hires don't “gel” and transform our businesses as hoped.

The pull is always, greatly, toward that discouraging business as usual.

And it always must be resisted and overcome.

Because we live in an age where $105 billion buyout offers happen.

The money and opportunity is out there.

The only question is when we will join the party.

Want an Offer for Your Business?  Tired of business as usual and want something BIG to happen to and for your company?

Interested in selling your business in the next few years, or interested now in growing sales and profits?

Well, then complete this short questionnaire and we’ll reach out with our thoughts to help you.

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How to Sell a Lousy Business, Part II


 

My article last week, "How To Sell A Lousy Business" prompted more replies than any of the 250+ articles I have written in the past four years.

While I would like to think that the reason for this was the profound business wisdoms I shared in it...

...the real reason for the post's popularity came down to one word.

That word, of course, is lousy.

As in, for better or worse, so many business men and women out there consider themselves as leading, or working at, or being connected to...
 

...lousy businesses.

Characterized in the replies were two basic forms of this so-called lousiness.

The first form were those businesses very much filled with hope, promise, and technological advantage, but that just can’t seem to make any money.

The second were the “tired” businesses.

Their financial performance was not terrible - most of them had decent revenue bases and some profits - but had poor prospects for future growth and positive change.

They had a "caretaker" feel to them, with their managers mostly working in "respond and react" mode. When the usual stuff “came in the door” it got done, but true effort to create, sell, and do new stuff had become a distant memory.

In both cases that word "lousy" struck a chord.

Surprisingly, the chord struck for the most part were not requests for help as much as they were...
 

almost touching reach outs for some empathy!

As in “let me know that I am not the only one with a lousy business!

Or more poignantly, “that it isn’t my fault! I am dealing with so difficult business things - competitive, technological, personnel pressures and more - that my feelings of lousiness
are justified!”  

Well my friends, the good news is that at least there is misery in company as the vast majority of businesses, by whichever scorecard we measure them on, really are lousy. 

Most of them don't make much money.

And those that do, usually have their innovative and high growth periods back in their business’s past.
 

And in both cases their most likely futures is just more of the same.

Those riding on hope will most likely not make money.

And the “tired” will not anytime soon conjure up and execute upon breakthrough change and growth initiatives.

But in a strange but understandable way, all of this “bleakness” is ok, natural and good 

Because only when we just accept it, then and only then can we quiet our minds and truly focus on the best possible answers to our most important business questions like:

Should we try to sell our business to someone who can get more out of it than we can?

Or if our financial results are going to continue to be bleak, should we just cut our losses and close up shop?

Or pursue a hybrid and harvest as much cash as possible from those parts of our businesses that allow it, while carving out entirely new businesses for some possibility-filled “moonshots?

Moonshots like taking on the "the big boys" in our industry or even the world at large - becoming the next Amazon, Facebook, Google, et al. 

Or smaller, but no less worthwhile moonshots like the goal of doubling revenues in the next three years.

Or even better, of tripling profits in that same time.

Now, even when we accomplish all of the above and more, our businesses probably will revert again to some “lousy” state. 

But always the faith remains...

...that from any state of lousiness and despair rises the foundation of a new awesomeness.

Because while our businesses might at any point in time be lousy, we never are.

Is Your Business "Lousy?" Is it not generating the kinds of profits that attract business suitors of all types?

Have a key business initiative you would like some fresh ideas on how to get done?

Well, then complete this short questionnaire and we’ll reach out with our thoughts to help you. 

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How to Sell a Lousy Business


 

For the most part, the value of your business is based on financial performance.

However, there’s an equally, if not more important factor, that causes others to want to buy your company.

In fact, I’ve seen (and helped) many businesses with lousy financial performance sell for very solid sums.

Before I share what this factor is, let’s be clear what we mean when we talk about financial performance.  

We are talking about profits, both on a historically demonstrated basis and with the prospects for even more of them in the future.

Truly profitable companies are the "belles" of the business dance, effortlessly attracting suitors of all types - growth capital, owner liquidity, unsolicited buyout offers and the like.

For everyone else, there is just a ton of self-improvement and “prettying up” work to do.
 

The self-improvement spans across every aspect of our business, the gritty and demonstrable details of our marketing, sales, operational, and financial competencies.

And then there is the “prettying up” - the work on our company culture, on the skill sets of our people, and on the élan with which we work and fight together to overcome adversity and win.

As we grapple with it all, transformational things begins to happen.

We “hit upon” those golden ideas, those awesome projects, the brilliant new hires, and / or the new products or services so exciting in their prospects that...

...they attract the eyes and hearts of our desired business suitors in the same manner and with the same effect as actual profits do.

As we have more and more of these “aha moments,” we start to develop that so lovely business asset that creates multi-million, and in this day and age, multi-billion dollar offers for companies with not much more than business plans and histories of operating losses.

That asset is the promise of our business.

The promise that its future will be brighter than its past.

The promise that we can break out of that “lousy” pool, and be seen and judged as the business “belles” we really are.

This promise can sometimes, in the midst of the daily struggle, be hard to find and feel. And even harder to communicate.

But through the commitment to, and daily practice of ongoing business change, innovation, and improvement, eventually, inevitably,
we will find it. 

And then our biggest problem will be which of our many business suitors to dance with...

...and to party all night with!

Is Your Business "Lousy?" Is it not generating the kinds of profits that attract to it business suitors of all types? Have a key business initiative you would like some fresh ideas on how to get done?

Well, then complete this short questionnaire and give us a brief description of your current situation, and we’ll reach out with our thoughts to help you.

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The Money Machine


 

Business is pretty straightforward. 

You take a certain amount of human and physical capital... 

add quality ideas and consistent energy... 

and what naturally will come out is...

...money. 

And lots of it.

Given this simple formula, why do so many businesses fail?   

Or come far from reaching their full potential?

More to the point, why are so many otherwise extremely talented, hard-working, and ambitious entrepreneurs and executives unable to lead their businesses in a way that creates and distributes far more money for themselves and their companies?

This is arguably the most important question of business, because when it is answered,
everything is possible - profits, healthy growth, and more value delivered to customers and stakeholders.

And when it is not,
nothing is possible. 

A business becomes a house of death: operating losses, contraction, dissolution, forlorn customers, scarred employees and wiped out shareholders.

In my 25 years of entrepreneurship and of advising and observing companies that have rose and fell on this spectrum of "Money Machine" success, ranging from those that started out as informal ideas and grew to become some of the most valuable companies in the world, to those with similar promise but instead that fell by the forgotten wayside, I have noted three fundamental factors that separate the former from the latter, the successful from the unsuccessful:

3. They Give their Love to the Money Machine not to its Outputs. I've yet to meet a businessman or woman who doesn’t want to make a lot of money.  
 

And to this fundamental business want and desire, I say so what? 

Because a) it is just so obvious b) nobody cares, especially not those that really matter - i.e. customers and c) the whole conversation around it distracts from the very hard, urgent, and important work always at hand. 

As in the bloody tens of thousands of details, tasks, to-dos, and projects that in their sum is the totality of a great company.

The next product, the next software release, the re-designed organizational chart, the revived company culture, the reimagined brand, the new paths and channels of product and service distribution.
 

All of this and more is where the complete focus of the best and most effective executives goes, which then just crowds out any time or energy to think or worry about what it all means for “their” money!

2.  They Treat their Customers as Honored Guests not as Gods. Healthy customer relationships start with a clear understanding of exactly the makeup of the customers our business is best suited to serve. 

And we then strive to serve only these customers as the most honored and important guests that our business can ever have. 

But our customers are not Gods.  They are not omnipotent or always right. 

Rather, upon them, as with guests to our home, are placed expectations of decorum and reciprocal respect.

And also like guests, they come and go. Both of their own volition and because more than a few of them we just don't want to invite into our homes anymore!

1. Building on the Above, They Have the “Proper” Relationship with Money.  If the company is the loved and cared for money machine into which we invest our sacred life and business force...
 

...and if our customers so appreciate our “machine” that they give to it their ultimate sign of business love and respect, their money.

...then at this nexus exists the proper relationship between our business and our money.

We respect on the highest possible terms the money our customers spend and invest with us, and the profound trust and respect it represents. 

We in turn know we have fully earned and deserve that love and respect.

Through all of the effort, intelligence, and soul we have poured into our businesses over the years.

And through our ongoing commitment to keep pouring more in, forever.

And from this zen and aligned place of customer respect, of self respect, of everlasting effort well...

...money and more money pours effortlessly out of our businesses for as long as the eye can see.

How cool is that?

Is Your Business Humming as a Successful Money Machine? Is all of your hard work yielding the bottom line results you want so bad? Are you able to turn your most important business initiatives into profits, fast and consistently?

If so, great and congratulations!

If not, complete this short questionnaire and give us a brief description of your current situation.

And we’ll reach out with our thoughts to help you.

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The Indispensable Man or Woman


 

Are there really those among us so talented, experienced, motivated, connected...

...that without their dynamic presence our businesses will suffer greatly?

Well, this past week I had two unforgettable experiences that answered this question in an entirely new and powerful way.

The first experience was on Saturday, in my weekend identity as an AYSO youth soccer coach for a morning match against the best team in our region.

When less than an hour before game time I received a call telling me my star player would be unable to play in the game.

And while processing this news, my 2nd best player was dropped off at my house to ride with me and my sons to the field, not in our team's shiny neon uniform, but instead in flip flops,  t-shirt and shorts!

When I asked the fine young fellow where his uniform was, he replied that his mother felt he shouldn’t play because he got hurt playing “American” football the night before!

Now, as a proudly dysfunctional youth coach who hates to lose, this double-whammy talent loss pretty quickly changed my game time mood from  cautious optimism to more than a bit of self-pity and dread.

I will share how our team did in the game in just a bit, but before I do and to bring it back to business, my 2nd experience on Monday was of our company's Vice President and sales leader departing for his European honeymoon, leaving our team down a key rainmaker during an extremely busy season.

While neither of these scenarios even remotely compare to the loss of an entrepreneurial leader and founder like Steve Jobs, Walt Disney or Ray Kroc, they do shed light on the value creation levers of team and organization, and how to best respond when the vagaries of life and business take a key asset away from us.

Mr. Paul Graham, the founder of Y Combinator, often talks about determination as the key success factor in any entrepreneur, executive or leader of ambition.

I love his definition of determination as "willfulness balanced with discipline, aimed by ambition.” 

And, if there is ever a time where determination is required, it is after the loss of a key contributor, of that man or woman viewed as “indispensable.”

Yes, once the natural and proper state of grieving is worked through (and when it comes to fast-paced modern business that grieving period must be very short),   then leaders of substance and ambition channel losses into:

  •  Motivation to first compensate for and then overcome that loss
  •  Education into an organization’s mission, and into its key strengths and assets that exist well beyond and outside of any one individual
  •  Growth, as in how to become a healthier and more valuable enterprise on a moving forward basis?

Motivation, education, growth.

These are the opportunities for those "left behind." 

It is not just possible, but it has been done again and again.

The Walt Disney Company at the time of Walt Disney's death in 1966 was valued at approximately $80 million, 30 years later it was worth close to $50 billion.

McDonald’s, at the time of Ray Kroc’s death in 1984 was valued at less than $4 billion, 30 years later it was worth more than $100 billion.

Apple, at the time of Steve Jobs’ death in 2011 was worth $311 billion, today it is worth more than $800 billion.

And as for my little soccer team this past Saturday? How did we do playing against our league’s #1 team, short our two top players?

Well, we lost 5 - 2. 

But, our “lesser” players - without the safety blanket of their more talented teammates - competed with amazing heart and passion, transforming themselves in front of their skeptical coach’s eyes from laggards into gritty young footballers. 

And from their effort, new possibilities as to game strategy, player positions, and teamwork were almost magically revealed.

Yes, it is true that so often the best thing for a team or organization are those moments when we must fight on without the “indispensable” among us.

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6 Key Benefits of Building Systems


 

Key Benefits of SystemsI recently attended a presentation by a business systems specialist.

That's someone who builds systems and processes for businesses so they run smoothly.

The system of the day was "how to handle inbound phone calls."

So I'm thinking 2 things...

1) please kill me -- could this be more boring

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The Power of Delusion


 

Great entrepreneurs successfully walk that very fine line between level-headed rationality and...

...utter, charming, frustrating, and complete delusion.

The most successful entrepreneurs, like Steve Jobs, Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos, are so because of their delusions, not in spite of them.

Delusion is defined by Webster as “an idiosyncratic belief that is firmly maintained despite being contradicted by what is generally accepted as reality or rational argument, typically a symptom of a mental disorder.

In many ways, the best entrepreneurs are like children, being assured of things coming to pass that have an extremely small probability of doing so. 

As a little league baseball coach, I so charmingly see this on the ball field with my young players - no matter how small or slow or lacking in hand-eye coordination they might be - so innocently being assured in their self-belief that they will be the next Mike Trout, the next big star.

Similarly - and no matter how old they might be - the best entrepreneurs maintain a steadfast and unshakeable faith that they are immune, above, and separate from the discouraging probability curves of business success and longevity.

Now, so importantly, while all great entrepreneurs are delusional, by no means are all those who are delusional great entrepreneurs.

And it is in this distinction that the more level-headed among us can model and emulate how the great entrepreneurs-the Musks, the Jobses and the Bezoses, utilize delusion to serve their businesses while...

...not trying to be someone they are not, nor be counted among the foolish that believe that "faith alone" will propel them to breakout success.

This fine line is best distinguished in the difference between business strategy and business tactics.

In the former, delusion is almost always helpful, while in the latter, it is almost always crushingly self-defeating.

Great business strategy is focused on big picture vision, product and service benefits to customers, and company culture, and is best approached from a place of and with the strong spirit of possibility.

Possibility is the realm where the very belief of things coming to pass has a profound and meaningful impact on their actually doing so - or for that matter of them being even conjured or dreamed up in the first place.

This can include a business possibility like growing sales by a 10X factor over the next few years via providing customers with extraordinarily high quality products and service, and enabled by a company culture attractive, admired and emulated by all those who touch and come into contact with it.

Visions and goals like these sprout from those human qualities best demonstrated again, by children.

A sense of wonder, of the feeling that we are in fact special and destined for great and inspirational things and experiences. 

This is the world of the supernatural, of the transcendent, mythical, and heroic.

And like in the science fiction that many of us love so much - remarkable, improbable, magical things, thoughts and feelings are created and experienced.

Like the development of the personal computer.

Or flying cars.

Or a cure for cancer.

Or, on a more mundane, but not less profound level,  the building of a profitable, growing business, a company at which many good people love to work and with monies earned build and support their families and communities.

All of these beautiful business things are only possible with, against the odds and reasonable belief, one or several courageous souls delusionally dreaming and willing them into being. 

This is a necessary, but not sufficient, condition to build and sustain a real business.

No to do this, and not just live in that dewey, but ultimately imaginary world of children, of dilettantes, of hot air merchants and purveyors of nothingness...

...well this requires the delusional dreams and visions be referenced and remembered daily yes, but only briefly so, and then with the vast majority of the business day being given over to hard, rational, intense, consistent, incremental, and repetitive work.

The key insight is that we don’t have to choose between flighty, crazy delusion...

...and "it is what it is” cold-eyed realism and spirited hard work.

We should, must, and can easily have both.

So let’s honor the delusional among us, and feed and nurture the delusion
in all of us.

But let's do the same for the heads-down plotters, for the conservative, calculated risk takers, for the “lunch pail” workers that just go to work every day.

They are both beautiful and admirable in their own way.

And completely and necessarily complementary.

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