Every entrepreneur is in a race against the clock - funding is short and running out fast, and you need to get to market before someone beats you to it.
Which is why I hate Gantt charts…
The Wrong Way - and the Right Way
Oblivious to the sound of the clock ticking (money running out, competitors overtaking them) many of the entrepreneurs I mentor are still executing in the time-honoured project management style of do task 1, then do task 2, then …
This is not fast enough for a startup!
Instead a clever entrepreneur will find ingenious ways to do many things in parallel.
Thando tells me he is in lengthy negotiations for the rights to resell a large company’s products in townships - then he will approach a friend about a loan - then he will hire some salespeople - and then they will start selling. I suggest that he starts arranging the loan with his friend immediately, and starts recruiting and training some salespeople right now at the same time, at their own risk, and these folk should start making ‘in principle’ sales immediately to prospects - then once his supplier contract is finalised he can immediately take up the loan from his friend, give his salespeople contracts, and they can go back and officially sign up the “sales” they have made in the meantime.
It is especially important to start building key relationships while you are still developing.
When Hannes and I founded Fundamo we instantly started working on three fronts in parallel - creating the business plan and product architecture, building a very simple first demonstration of the system, and building the relationships we needed with the mobile operators, banks and regulators. In three months we had a plan, a very basic first version of the system, and some key relationships in place. Versus the traditional approach of three months planning, then three months prototyping, and then only starting to talk to people…
I hope this helps you race… towards a better world.
In other news…
Microsoft BizSpark sponsored me to spend this week in Durban training entrepreneurs how to accelerate their business. We looked at new technologies and business models, at the strategies used by the best startups in the world to develop their businesses, at how to create a vibrant brand story for their ventures, and lessons from the martial arts for achieving breakthrough results.
On the last morning I invite people to come in early long before we start the workshop proper for “Coffee with Neil” to discuss their ideas in a more relaxed setting (thank you Jasper and Dave for bringing in your coffee machine!). Feedback from attendees of the workshop included “life changing”, “brilliant”, and “definitely a turning point in my business”.
Want to be part of the next workshop?
Can’t make it to a three day workshop? I’m also running another Idea Workshop at Stellenbosch University over three Saturdays, starting next weekend on Saturday 26th July - more here.
Want a taste of what we do in a workshop?
I’m running a masterclass on “Crafting a Breakthrough Strategy” using the KoiCompass methodology in Johannesburg this week and in Cape Town the following week - please register here. All classes and workshops are sponsored by Microsoft BizSpark so they are free of charge.
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all the best, Neil