The Strategy Guy's Blog
Hot on the heels of a recent hybrid presentation last week to sixty or so startups at Brisbane’s Innovation Hub, I was invited back to speak to forty scale-ups this week.
I shared that scaling is an elusive and dangerous pursuit. During my hour-long keynote, I shared that in my thirty-five years as an early-stage investor, strategic adviser and business educator, I have gained powerful insights from businesses and organisations around the globe. I have met with and listened to some of the most successful founders and CEOs and some of the least successful. This accumulated wisdom allows me to share the strategies I believe every leader must cultivate to excel in business.
Regarding scale-up, I shared the six-step strategic mindset process from my best-selling book, The Strategy Book. At each of the six steps, Sense, See, Connect, Plan, Focus and Move, I interposed ten must include activities to scale successfully.
I. Where you play matters - some industries are more...
As a business grows, the number of decisions needing to be made can grow exponentially! Decision overwhelm is often a reason why many entrepreneurial ventures only grow to a certain size.
Having a strategy helps. Strategy reduces the number of decisions and helps us make them in plenty of time.
Branding helps too! Branding provides focus.
When supporting clients with their strategy, I often look to see if the client’s brand is aligned with their emerging strategy.
There are often one of four messages behind a brand.
North Star brands can be helpful when a business creates its first product or service. A North Star brand is your raison d’être or reason for being. In many ways, Coca-Cola’s North Star was and still is its unique bottle shape and feel.
How to Use and Buy Us
How to Use and Buy Us brands show prospects and clients how to use and buy from a business. They can help attract an early customer base. Coca-Cola’s used...
BULLS AND GOVERNANCE
Our exponentially exploding world of connected technology is driving society faster and faster, creating ubiquitous Bull Markets and Governing our lives in new, unexpected ways.
Faster chips result in reduced learning curves; Hyper connectivity results in more rapid global scaling; AI-enabled just-in-time supply chains mean zero wait times for many goods; There clouds and clouds of vulnerable data we could ultimately lose or have stolen; Data-driven dynamic competitive pricing models are fierce; and millions of crooked cyber actors are popping up all over the place.
Bull markets are everywhere.
Technology brings rapid change. Technology creates bull markets for hosts of things. e.g. AfterPay Apps, Crypto Currencies, Cheaper Trading platforms, Fake News, Viral Videos, Vaccine Passports, etc.
Technology is neither good nor bad. Nor is technology neutral.
Technology also brings rapid and unexpected dislocations to our social order. To mitigate this, we need to...
I am honoured to MC the Queensland Government M4G’s 20th Birthday Celebratory Event at Parliament House in May.
At times mentoring means helping to solve the riddles faced by businesses and their owners. So in line with the mentoring theme, I found a riddler hat and cane to match.
The MC role is often about entertaining and informing the audience. MC's need to set the tone, narrate briefly, control the event, answer back hecklers and announce arrivals in a way that engages the audience and inspires the next speaker to the stage.
Shakespeare wrote that all the world is a stage, and all the men and women merely players.
Once a business connects itself to the information superhighway or Internet, it places itself in plain sight on the world stage. Seven bad actors wait in the wings, ready to play their part in the story of an unsuspecting business. Some bad actors appear early when a business is taking off and cyber awareness is not developed. Others appear later, once a business is mature, and hard-won business assets are visible to all seven actors.
The seven bad actors are identity thieves, foreign intruders, extortionists, blackmailers, terrorists, bad apples and rotten eggs. With the right knowledge and regular investment in cyber-security, a firm can keep all seven bad actors at bay.
Identity thieves are the most common bad actors in our hyper-connected world of login names, passwords, credit cards and bank accounts. Dens of identity thieves aim to obtain your personal or financial...
So who does the work?
Pareto-like Laws also apply to workforces. Half the work in your organisation is usually done by the square root of the workforce total.
So in a team of 9 people, around 3 people will do half the work. The remaining six people will do the other half of the work. This phenomenon has implications for ROI around optimal workforce sizes. e.g. If 10 out of 100 people do half the work, the other 90 do the other half. This means 100 workers out of 10,000 will do half the actual work.
Yesterday, a new client with 1000 employees shared with me that Omicron is knocking out workers in her various outlets, some of which she is considering closing. I asked if customer demand had dropped, and she was not sure. I suggested that if customer demand had also halved, then perhaps a combination of reduced opening hours and new just-in-time task allocation might be a way through.
Winning Against One Competitor
This time next week, I will be sitting with a new client who has enjoyed a Blue Ocean (uncontested market) for some time.
In recent months a new market player has emerged. As the first market mover, my client has educated their market and acquired many early adopters as customers. The early majority of the market is predicted to come on stream in 2022. So, it is time to formulate a pricing strategy, to avoid losing future market share whilst not falling into an unprofitable price war.
Ignoring the activity of the new lower-priced entrant is foolish. Let me explain.
As a proud sailor and Aussie, I will never forget the 1983 America's Cup series.
Back then, America's ''Liberty'' was up 3-1 in the best-of-seven series. On the morning of the fifth race, the American Camp delivered boxes of cold champagne to Liberty's dock. Little did the Americans realise, their 132-year winning streak was about to end.
Liberty enjoyed a 40-second lead when...
With strategy, two phenomena worth considering are:
Whether in life, business or an investment portfolio, capital is said to be ‘barbelled’ if 90% of your money is safe and the remaining 10% is allocated to risky investments.
Young people ask me about their crypto investments. They share that crypto is not safe - crypto is risky. I share I am not a financial advisor. However, they might consider a barbell approach - limit initial crypto investment to 10% of their net worth and when the coin goes up 10x, then sell 90% for a profit and leave 10% in the coin. Once the coin goes up 10x, repeat.
I have a pharmacy client who sells cannabis oil for a tidy profit - many patients use it repeatedly to treat insomnia, depression, anxiety and inflammation. Yesterday my client shared one of the riskiest areas of prescription medicine coming over the hill could be psychedelics to treat trauma and depression. My client imagined a barbell approach with 10% of capital...