The Seven Steps
Idea – Visualization – Thought – Action – Method | Friends – Circumstances
How we work with you depends on where you are. We don’t have a template, cookie-cutter way of working with you. Your situation is unique and we tailor our skills and experience to meet your exact situation.
You do not pass through the seven steps one time, but rather they repeat as you visualize your business and learn more about the things you need to do. Up until the step, ‘Friends’, everything is under your control, because you are preparing the information and methods to describe your idea, to gather the friends you need, to bring you the circumstances of success.
Why this works is very simple. People follow people who know where they are going. People invest in people who know what they are doing.
Too often people have an idea, think about it just enough to realize they need friends and they immediately set out to recruit them. What we know is that, when you ask for help, you have to tell people what you would like them to do.
When approaching people to support your idea, they will have questions. If you don’t have answers, by the time you develop them, the possible friend has become disinterested. The energy seeps out of the relationship, until people stop returning your calls and the prospective help is lost.
You will pass through the first five steps we detail below multiple times until you have a complete vision you can communicate along with the methods you need to make it work.
All Go / No Dough
Where is my Life?!
We use workshops and work sessions to pull your idea out of your head and into the world. Because of our extensive experience across many different types of businesses, we may add new dimensions to the your idea that you haven’t thought of. Along with this, we will add value by extending the capability of your idea and outlining the three most important things you can know at this point:
- What you know
- What you have
- …and what you don’t
You’ll be looking to expand what you know. For example, if you’ve chosen your business, you’ll focus on visualizing the entire business in detail so that can lead you to the answers to other questions.
The visualization process will also lead you to take an inventory of what you have. Capital, experience, contacts. Are they enough, will you need more or how you will apply the resources you have
The most valuable thing that will come out of the workshop process is understanding where you have gaps and blind spots. These thoughts will lead you to focus on the areas of your business you haven’t thought about and need to design.
We can do this work in person, via Skype or Zoom.us or via telephone. We have clients all over the country, so we know how to make this work regardless of how we connect.
Once you’ve identified what you know, what you have and what you don’t, you will start having thoughts about what to do, these will take the form, mostly of questions.
These thoughts ultimately will become knowledge that you’re sure of and questions that you need to research:
- Who is my customer?
- How do I reach them?
- Have I taken the customer’s desires into account in my service or product design?
- What is my message?
- How much capital will I need?
And dozens of other questions. The workshop process is designed to drive out these questions.
Your visualization workshop and the inventory of assets and questions will lead you to take action. The actions you take are specific to the business you are trying to start, expand or make more profitable. A sample of actions that you might undertake to start a business include:
- In depth customer research including demographics and psychographics
- Designing your business / operational model
- Developing financial projections
- Researching your industry
- Surveying possible locations
- Identifying your competition
…and many more items. Having helped launch hundreds or businesses, we can help you develop any, or all, of the associated items you’ll need to make your idea a reality, from business model design, to financial projections, to marketing strategies to full business plans.
When you’ve answered most of the questions that have come out of your workshop and can clearly see how your business can operate, you will set the information you’ve learned into methods. Methods are how you get things done:
- What the customer experience will be like and how you will achieve it
- How you make your product and get it to your customer
- How you get paid for your work
- When you hire help and how you do it
- Specifically how you will use bank or investor money
- What kind of space you will need and how you will decorate it
How you record this information is dependent on how you want to use it:
- If you are seeking funding, you will need a business plan or summary and maybe a pitch deck
- For use in operating your business, a set of processes and procedures
- To locate and attract your customer, a detailed marketing plan and schedule
- If you want to be financially sound, a detailed monthly cash flow to track your performance against estimates
The exact way your knowledge base is captured is up to you and how you will use it. We provide all of our customers an online repository in Basecamp for them to keep and expand their information as they move forward.
We have extensive experience developing over 500 business plans that have raised over $140,000,000. We have also developed policies, processes and procedures for businesses ranging from the Fortune 100 to small retail and service businesses. We stand ready to prepare any documents or models you may need, based on your objectives.
Friends Bring Circumstances
The circumstances you need to succeed in business will be brought by friends and no one else. Who are friends?
- Investors and banks
The list goes on and on. A friend is someone who will themselves benefit by your success so they want to help you achieve it. The circumstances can be:
- Good reviews and press
- Partnership opportunities
- Financial support
Anything that you can imagine that will bring you what you want, sales, money and peace of mind.
The first five steps are about planning, so when you are approaching possible friends looking for the circumstances you need, you will know who to approach and exactly the help to ask for.
What is the alternative?
You shoot from the hip with limited planning and research. Your result?
- Signing unprofitable contracts
- Hiring unreliable vendors and suppliers
- Overpaying for your product
- Undercharging for your product
- Signing a lease on a location that may not permit your kind of business
- Paying to market to the wrong customer
- Not seeing the possible problems in advance, so you don’t have enough money to survive them
The list goes on…
We’ve seen it dozens of times. People trying to short cut the steps. Can it work? Sure. People win the lottery too, it just doesn’t happen often enough. People cannot help you unless you tell them specifically what you need.
For example: Which pitch would make you more likely to write a check:
- I’ve got a toy business that is already making a million dollars. If you give me a million, I’ll hire someone with contacts to help me sell to more places. -or-
- My toy business is already making a million dollars a year, but i’ve identified three different channel managers with deep contacts and significant experience that will open up enough new outlets that I will be at $5 million within 18 months. I need $300,000 to hire one of the people I’ve identified, $200,000 for travel and marketing materials and $500,000 for inventory when the orders materialize, but we won’t spend this money until we know the orders are in hand.
Obviously, it’s the second pitch, but why? Because I’m asking specifically for the help I need, and I’m telling the person investing exactly what’s going to happen to their money.
The Seven Step method ensures that you will be prepared to ask clearly for the help you need so your friends will be more likely provide it to you.