Monday, June 16, 2008

Project V - The Ethos

A very simple management philosophy has served me very well in the past, to succeed in business you need three things: the right strategy, the right implementation (or operational) plan and the right resources.

The strategy of Project V needs to remain somewhat under wraps for a while longer, but suffice it to say that the aim is to provide a low cost alternative in a market that is full of either free or very expensive products. I always details this, and the next point, in a written business plan, even if it’s for my own consumption.

The operational plans are being revealed in this blog, but they involve outsourcing product development and support, reselling rather than selling direct, automating billing and aiming for profitability rather than growth. Writing an operational plan and revisiting it over and over again before starting work is a great way of ironing out problems and roadblocks.

The resources are reasonably straightforward – using the best suppliers is the absolute key since this is a virtual company and there’s no need to worry about hiring the right staff (one of the biggest problems with staffing a startup is that the staff that are right for a startup, by their very nature, are rarely right for the company once it grows). The most difficult thing for a startup to do is to go from one employee to two; it’s usually easier to raise finance and start with five or ten.

But above and beyond this is one thing that is key to any creation process – you need to know what the final product – or company – will look like. It’s very difficult to muck along and achieve success.

It was interesting re-reading the original business plan for a couple of previous companies I formed. The honest analysis was that the implementation was almost to the letter in both cases, but the financial projections were, inevitably, I suppose, somewhat optimistic.

This time there is a plan, but no financial projections. Since the project is being funded totally out of my own pocket I am operating with simpler metrics, looking at how many sales are needed before I see my money back, and the measure here is therefore a case of time. In this instance I will need around x sales before turning a profit and this may take two months or two years. It would nice for it to be sooner rather than later, but my day job at TV Everywhere allows me to get by in the meantime.

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