Two things defi…

Two things define you. Your patience when you have nothing, and your attitude when you have everything.

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David’s Tea Service Model

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Sitting inside of David’s tea my friend and I commented on the fact that there didn’t seem to be a proper “line up” for the cashier.

We then realized that this might be on purpose. Having a long counter that runs from end to end allows the staff to engage with customers and allows the customers to smell the tea prior to making a purchase.

This might be frustrating for those in a rush, but adds value in terms of customer engagement.

What’s your take?

Businesses Spend Too Much Time in Alpha/Beta

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Are You tired of hearing about and meeting people with businesses that are in alpha/beta “testing” phases for an indefinitely long amount of time?

Many entrepreneurs insist on shipping a perfect product. The problem with that is they usually set out building the perfect product as they see it in their minds, not the perfect product as in their customers’ minds (which is infinitely more important because customers that love your product pays the bills).

So what should entrepreneurs do? I am not saying give up your dreams and build a product that you don’t believe in but that customers want; I am saying that you should ship your product as soon as possible and opt for doing revisions based on feedback from people that matter the most – the users.

It’s great if your team thinks a mechanical arm that helps you paint walls is an amazing product… But if your customers think their own arms do a pretty good job of painting the walls I doubt you would generate much revenue.

So the takeaways:

1. Make sure there’s a large enough customer need (and one that customers are willing to pay for) by talking to the market, not just amongst you and your team.
2. Launch your product ASAP.
3. Revise/tweak your product. You are allowed to update it, so stop dreaming about launching the perfect product.

Down Time is Important

Ever wonder why your best ideas come to you when you are in a relaxed state?

Staring at the same problem for 24 hours isn’t going to help solve it; try taking a break – I can’t tell you how many times I’ve done that and had an ah-ha moment while looking at something entirely different.

My best ideas came to me when I wake up, before I go to bed, while I’m driving or even when I’m in the shower.

So when you’re facing a problem that you think is near impossible to solve, down time will help you come up with more creative solutions.

Now, time for me to enjoy some sun on Whistler!

I’m Starting a Business Today

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…because the clock is ticking and I’m a person who can’t sit still. I also made the conscious decision to buy a book and read that book yesterday; it in turn inspired me to get up and do something with my “free time”. Those who know me know I love staying busy and that I love shaking things up and starting new projects. Here’s to another one. Details to come if it actually works (it is still Day 1 of my business model creation process).

What are YOU doing on a Friday?

Does Anyone Still Read Books?

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I went to Chapters and bought a book off Amazon.com yesterday – oh the irony. Mobile shopping is officially taking over, even for an online shopping laggard like me. 

I bought 3 books in total and the only 1 I bought in store from Chapters was one that wasn’t available on the Kindle store (come’on Kindle!) Here are the 3 I picked up and are hoping will be good reads:

  1. Antifragile: Things That Gain From Disorder – Nassim Taleb (Kindle)
  2. Dollars and Sex: How Economics Influence Sex and Love – Marina Adshade (Kindle)
  3. What You Gonna Do With That Duck – Seth Godin (in-store)

With the proliferation of blog posts where readers consume our thoughts in short blurbs, it seems like rarely is anyone investing the time to read a full book. It’s a sad reality, since I have seen writing skills deteriorate with my students (I do some teaching at a university). 

So go out, pick up a book and start reading!

“This is Our Conservative Revenue/Cost Projection” – If I hear this ONE more time…

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The past 2 weeks I have been judging marketing plan presentations at UBC (The University of British Columbia) and the one phrase that I heard in over 80% of the presentations is that the financial projections are “a conservative estimate”. Frustrating. Here’s why.

Anyone who has been an entrepreneur or ever tried starting a valid business project knows, it costs 3 times as much compared to what you had originally budgeted. What did we tell our investors at the time? “This is a conservative estimate of our projected spending and revenue”. The actual scenario that plays out is usually where costs are 3X more and you are lucky if your revenue turns out to be 10% of what you projected.

When we are starry-eyed about a project we often become overly optimistic; not that this is bad, but we definitely need to spend energy detailing our PLAN B/C/D. Be aware of the fact that things WILL (not may) not turn out as planned, and that you will have to adapt. Here were my few thoughts:

  1. What if a large competitor with no financial barriers came into the industry after seeing your success? How do you protect yourself? (Competitive Barriers)
  2. I know your break-even point is 2-3 years, but does your cashflow fall into the red at any point in time during these 2-3 years? No cash means you are OUT of business.
  3. You know that conservative estimate of yours? Investors will take that unbelievable number and discount that by another 3X (at least).