Any business venture that you plan to embark upon should go through the “3Cs and 4Ps” exercise. You’ll soon realize how incredibly valuable and insightful this exercise is. It may seem simple, but the “3Cs and 4Ps” exercise really allows you to think about a business venture in a structured way. Once you force yourself to really go through this exercise, you’ll realize how much you didn’t know about the business idea you had in mind. This is critical because you want to know that the venture you are about to embark upon is worth giving up a secure job for.
You can read more about it at: https://pezlogic.com/2011/10/20/the-3-cs-and-4-ps-a-critical-first-step-in-business-planning/
Remember that the 3Cs and 4Ps will continually need updating as your business grows and changes. It is what we call a “living exercise” so you need to come back to it often to refine your strategy and approach. The exercise may seem obvious, but once you start thinking about each step in the process, you’ll be amazed at how much more organized your business planning will become.
Please feel free to contact me if you have any follow up questions or want to learn more about business development.
I thought you might find the below useful if you, like me, are coming from corporate.
Coming from a corporate background has a certain advantage; in particular concerning the work discipline, the strategic thinking, and anything related to marketing and process management.
However, having been trained in a corporate environment is also a curse; there is no doubt that the traditionally low-risk level and endless resources of large corporations created a bias in the way I looked at my young bootstrapped startup.
Here are my top 5 mistakes linked to my corporate bias:
- Believing ‘it will all be fine’
It simply won't. Statistics are against us entrepreneurs: 90% of startups fail. I had the pretention to think myself part of the lucky 10%. I wasn’t. The sales I hoped would explode, and on which I built my stock, were much more modest. Instead of placing a champagne bottle in the fridge, I should have focused on planning small milestones on the way to success. I shouldn’t have expected to sell 1,000 products; I should have planned for the first 10 and defined what the next steps were to get to the next 100, 500 and then 1,000.
- Spending big $$$ before qualifying a Minimum Viable Product (MVP) with consumers and trade
Oh gosh, we spent SO much money. Being used to corporate spending levels it didn’t feel like a lot, but it was all my savings. I should have known that spending money before qualifying my product was as risky as marrying a person you have just met. There were so many things I needed to learn before getting to my final product. And in order to learn I should have got to an MVP as soon as possible and started selling – or at least trying to sell.
- Being dependent on long production times or high minimum order quantities
I was dependent on both, and this pushed me to produce A LOT of stock, which I didn't sell at a profit in the end and which more importantly strangled my cash flow. In the corporate world, ‘scale’ is structurally part of the equation. I should have known that in a startup scale usually happens at a very, very, slow pace and I should have built my business based on that.
- Having high production costs
While it might make sense to accept paying a premium behind low volumes, the high production costs I was facing capped the free sampling we could have done not only with key influencers and celebrities to gain PR, but also with consumers to fuel positive reviews online. That was a big hamper to the growth of the business.
- Having a high number of SKUs
We had 120 different SKUs (product shape and color combinations). I know it sounds crazy, but it quickly ramped up as we wanted to offer a ‘collection’. This increased the complexity and once again put pressure on the minimum level of stock we had to have.
These 5 mistakes heavily hit the growth of my first startup despite everything we had done 'right' like Branding, creating a product people wanted, the PR campaign resulting in sales, building an automatic logistic and shipment platform...
Avoiding above 5 mistakes while keeping what we did 'right' at the time is the balance I seek in my current startups and when I advise the startups I mentor.
I hope this will help you too, whether you are still in the corporate world or have left it already.