Friday, February 8

Zoller Returns

Ted spent a couple of days with us this week, and covered a huge range of topics in a crunch style MBA program. The most valuable insights were the discussions of our Value Propositions that he had asked us to do for this week, and looking into the market and management of the business.

The number of lessons learnt from Ted was incredible, he consistently challenged me to look at things in new ways which was an great experience. He stressed the importance for a new venture to aim to be the primary player in the market, not to aim for number two or three. There was a lot of emphasis, quite rightly put on the customer, and he suggested to seek out the customer that cares about your venture, and hold hands with them to learn as much as you can about how you can solve their pain. Also he suggested that if you have done the work in the key areas of management, advantage and market, then the money will follow. This is different to where many entrepreneurs start, with seeking capital. The value proposition is a vital element in the business, and everything should flow from this original key idea.

In your network, you can generally only properly manage about 20 people, and only really work with 2-5 at any one time.
Regarding the pricing model, he made the point that you shouldn’t be selling you time, as time is a finite resource. Really you should be exploiting your value that you add to the customer through your product or service.
He covered a number of key areas in market strategy, including how to divide up a market, and which markets segmentation you should attack first to exploit the best opportunity. The customer will have certain preferences, and you should aim to exploit these, but also be aware that their preferences change, so you will have to consistently adapt to their needs. If you don’t then your competitors will exploit the gap you leave in the market. As a first mover, especially will a disruptive technology, this is very important, as you will be offering the market something that is beyond their preferences.
You shouldn’t rely on the physical characteristics of your product to differentiate it from the market, as this can easily be exploited by competitors, but try and fight on multiple fronts such as not just being faster, but also more efficient, or cost effective. Customers can pay less attention to the physical characteristics than the company.
Ted suggests the following as a model pitch outline when seeking investment in the company:
1. Audience connection
2. Opportunity and Value Proposition
3. Business model
4. Market and penetration strategy
5. Implementation and rollout
6. Management and personal
7. Financials
8. Financial opportunity/outcomes
9. Closer and exit

He also warns, not to extend beyond your own capabilities, if you stretch to meet areas such as marketing/business, they will see right through you. State that that's not your strong point, and reassure that the appropriate team will be brought on board.
He also provided some good insights into management and team. As a leader it is the bigger vision you have is what people invest in when they work for you. This is important because the team is the number one factor in investment ideas so much so that an idea without a team has no value. Market experience will trump education every day, apart from in an R&D situation and so either hire the best A team players, or beg and borrow them!

The amount of material Ted talked about was staggering, and it was tough to keep up with everything. However he was able to cover many key areas, and the combination with his slides, my notes and further research it will be a great resource.

I was truly inspired by Ted’s presentation, he is able to take familiar topics, and present them in such a way that I gained new insights into them, and expanded my understanding of the areas.

No comments: