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Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Startup Blog Insights - 4 Ways agile entrepreneurs use to optimize time





Reference Article:

4 Ways agile entrepreneurs use to optimize time 




Taffy Williams can be found on LinkedIn, Twitter @twilli2861,  ColonialTDC ,  photo
website
,  Google+,   Facebook, and Startup  Group.  He has written more than 300 articles for: Startup Blog and  Examiner Charlotte,  NC- small business.  More on the agile concepts may be found in soon to be released book:  Think Agile

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Agile success generates great feelings


Yes, it is a bit like THIS!

Highs and lows are part of being an entrepreneur.  No matter how hard you try there will be failures and successes.  Finding ways to convert failures to successes generates a great sense of satisfaction.  The process can be arduous and create lots of stress, but it is an essential part of developing a business.

It is easy from the start of the endeavor to believe that the company will be wildly successful.  You go on the road and try to raise funds.  The road trip seems to take much longer than you imagined and the people you meet range from very nice to downright ugly in their interactions.  The deal structures for the financing may follow the same pattern of making you feel ill or bringing a huge smile.

Finding partners and getting deals completed can be a huge energy consuming effort.  You create marketing materials and send notes to businesses that seem to be a fit.  The logic of working together is obvious to you, but they seem to not agree.  They may come around or not, yet you must press on and keep trying to find the best partner for you.

Highs and lows come with the successes and lack thereof.  In fact, you may experience patterns of highs and low that track the stock market. Markets may relate to your financial stability or potential retirement funds.  Even investors have a tendency to change their risk profiles relative to whether markets are up or down.  One investment banker working on a current deal says: “When the ducks quack you feed them.”  He means that investors wax and wane relative to investment opportunity.  The highs and lows may not match your need and timings for obtaining cash investment.  This suggests it may be wise to consider raising cash when the markets are good for financings; even if you may not need it yet.  Trying to raise capital in down markets can generate deals that are much less than attractive to the business.

Keeping a positive attitude is important.  The attitude is needed to ride the wave of highs and lows you will feel as an entrepreneur.  You may become depressed when bad things happen, and elated when great things come your way.  Keep everything in perspective and retain an attitude that allows you to retain your focus and ability to concentrate on business.  Highs and lows can take that focus away or diminish it some. Lost focus can result in errors or less than well thought out actions.  It is great to be excited and it feels horrible when you are devastated, but you must continue to drive the business forward.  Try to keep the emotions in balance with your ability to Think Agile.

 

Taffy Williams can be found on LinkedIn, Twitter @twilli2861,  ColonialTDC ,  photo  website,  Google+,   Facebook, and Startup  Group.  He has written more than 300 articles for: Startup Blog and Examiner Charlotte, NC- small business.  More on the agile concepts may be found in soon to be released book:  Think Agile

Sunday, July 6, 2014

CEOs walk a fine line when using a positive spin



That CEO said WHAT?

One of the many tasks a CEO performs is engaging and explaining the company to the investment community.  They may use a positive spin to present their data in the best manner.  Positive spin is a method were data, while factual, is presented in a manner to highlight the positive and down play any negative.  You may hear this term a great deal in politics as it is a means of trying to get public sentiment on the side of the politician.  Whether one is a CEO or a politician, there is a fine line between positive spin and over doing your story.  It does not take long before the public sees the spin for what is and they become less likely to believe future statements.

Investors expect to know the facts! It is not good practice to present incorrect information and it may even be fraudulent if you stretch the information too much.  Selling your story must be done while retaining your integrity and ensuring the listeners trust you.  It is reasonable to explore all the positives and negatives of an event and try to present them in a more positive light.  However, there is a balancing act required in order to prevent presenting a story that is not believable or seen as dishonest. 

Honesty is the best policy and CEOs must adhere to this when selling to others. Investors must trust the CEO and believe they are receiving the facts regardless of the event.  With this in mind, I am providing a joke found on Facebook because it relates to the topic and may lighten up your day.

DOG FOR SALE:

A guy is driving around the back woods of Montana and he sees a sign in front of a broken down shanty-style house: 'Talking Dog For Sale 'He rings the bell and the owner appears and tells him the dog is in the backyard.

The guy goes into the backyard and sees a nice looking Labrador retriever sitting there.

'You talk?' he asks.                                                                                                                                

'Yep,' the Lab replies.

After the guy recovers from the shock of hearing a dog talk, he says 'So, what's your story?'

The Lab looks up and says, 'Well, I discovered that I could talk when I was pretty young. I wanted to help the government, so... I told the CIA.

In no time at all they had me jetting from country to country, sitting in rooms with spies and world leaders, because no one figured a dog would be eavesdropping.'

'I was one of their most valuable spies for eight years running...

But the jetting around really tired me out, and I knew I wasn't getting any younger so I decided to settle down. I signed up for a job at the airport to do some undercover security, wandering nearsuspicious characters and listening in.

 I uncovered some incredible dealings and was awarded a batch of medals.'

'I got married, had a mess of puppies, and now I'm just retired.'

The guy is amazed. He goes back in and asks the owner what he wants for the dog.

'Ten dollars,' the guy says.

'Ten dollars? This dog is amazing! Why on earth are you selling him so cheap?'

 'Because he's is a Bullshitter. He's never been out of the yard'

I hope you got the take home message from this story.  I for one have listened to investor pitches that went over the line.  It did not take long before the CEO was considered to be like the talking Labrador throughout the investment community.  Occasionally, there is a fine line between selling to gain investment and stretching a story so far that the investor sees you as not factual and misleading.  So, Think Agile and prepare your presentations to remain positive but also HONEST AND FACTUAL.

Taffy Williams can be found on LinkedIn, Twitter @twilli2861,  ColonialTDC ,  photo  website,  Google+,   Facebook, and Startup  Group.  He has written more than 300 articles for: Startup Blog and Examiner Charlotte, NC- small business.  More on the agile concepts may be found in soon to be released book:  Think Agile


 

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Startup Blog Insights - Thinking Agile is Important to Your Business





Taffy Williams can be found on LinkedIn, Twitter @twilli2861, ColonialTDC ,  photo
website
, Google+,   Facebook, and Startup  Group.  He has written more than 300 articles for: Startup Blog and Examiner Charlotte, NC- small business. More on the agile concepts may be found in soon to be released book:  Think Agile


Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Agile and non-agile entrepreneurs must communicate clearly


It is impossible to know what is being communicated in these!


Some people are able to see a problem and rapidly determine solutions; the problem may be business or non-business.  Clear communication is required when describing a fix to a problem and information provided must be explicit; remember, you see the fix, they may not.

Recently, I was asked to help repair a lamp.  The lamp was missing the knob that rotates when turning on a lamp.  My instructions were, “pick up the complete part from the hardware store. The complete part includes the piece that the bulb screws into and the switch.  If the rotating knob does not fit, we can replace the whole unit.”  A few days later I asked to see what was purchased.  The person that selected the item in the hardware was not told to be careful to purchase a part with a switch that rotates rather than move from side to side.  The individual (a Ph.D.) rarely repairs anything and has limited experience in such matters.   In addition, the individual did not carefully examine the broken lamp prior to purchasing the new part.  The result was that the wrong part was purchased!
People are not always familiar with solving a wide range of problems.  When providing instructions it is important to ensure that the communication you intended to make was clear to the other person.  They may not see the problem and solution the way you do.  Take a look at the photos above.  One has to wonder what problems led to the creation of these signs.  I do not understand what is being communicated and clearly there is a different message the creator intended to convey.
The same is true in marketing products or services.  Some venders will provide a more optimistic scenario. It is easy to believe the information as standard when what was stated was really the maximum result.  For example, being told that a proposal may net as much as $50K, when that amount is rarely given can mislead the recipient. People tend to hear the information that is most beneficial to them and assume their result will be close to that presented. It may require follow up questions to determine a range of what to expect and the likelihood that you will get that result.
Agile thinkers may see the pieces of information come together in a manner to generate a new solution.  Describing that solution to others is nearly as critical as conceiving of the means of solving a problem.  This is because great execution is often needed to reach the end goal.  If the team does not understand your directions, your result may not be what you expect.
In short:  Practice your communication skills and try painting a complete and clear picture to others.  You may find you get more of what is needed and less of what they thought you said!
 

Taffy Williams can be found on Twitter @twilli2861, ColonialTDC ,  photo  website, Google+ Facebook, and Startup  Group on Linkedin.  He writes the Startup Blog and articles for the Examiner: Charlotte, NC- small business. More on the agile concepts may be found in soon to be released book:  ThinkAgile