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08 July 2009

Doing Business in a New Way

Supportive Notes (for the show notes - click the rutter)

Photo 1: Competitive Advantage of Market Dominators

  • Creation of New Markets - 57% of the fast growth companies made this choice. Examples - eBay, Google, Amgen, Cisco
  • Redefine Existing Markets - 33% of fast growth companies made this choice. Examples - Starbucks, Siebel Systems
  • Optimize the Existing Markets - 10% of fast growth companies made this choice. Examples - Clear Channel Communications, Office Depot, Best Buy
  • Substitution - none of the fast growth companies made this choice. Critical Issue - most startups are under capitalized which makes the other three choices difficult. Most startups begin with substitution - taking business away from existing competitors by taking advantage of being small; easier to do business with, quicker, and at a lower price. The issue is if you start here, what is your next act? If you intend to grow the business beyond just creating a job for yourself and a few employees for support, which of three will be your path to big?

Photo 2: Trends Impacting Customers
  • Mega Trends - what is happening in the economy, with regulations, and technology that will have an impact on your customers?
  • Customer Trends - what is happening that will affect their buying decisions; fewer are profitable?, more diverse needs - fewer with the same need?, customers becoming more powerful and dictatorial of what they buy at what price? old customers leaving - new customers arriving?
  • Distribution Trends - more choices, fewer choices, total collapse - selling direct to end users, expansion of the distribution chain - more steps?
  • Business Trends - greater employee skills, flattening the hierarchy and moving to a network model, moving to digital platforms and away from face to face?
For further information, click here for the MP3, or expanded detail

If you are not listening to our show on blogtalkradio - get with it!

24 June 2009

Profiles in Success - Entrepreneurial Competence Part 2

Given the constraints of time, we couldn't pursue these additional traits with any degree of detail. What follows are the remaining characteristics of successful entrepreneurs. We will weave a more detailed description of each over the next two weeks as we discuss the ownership demands of each growth stage.

Planning Orientation - what are the components?

  • Information Seeking
  • Goal Setting
  • Systematic Planning and Monitoring

Information Seeking - what are the behaviors you would see as evidence?

  • personally seeks information from clients, suppliers, and competitors
  • does personal research on how to provide a product of service
  • consults experts for business or technical data

Goal Setting - what are the behaviors you would see as evidence?

  • sets goals and objectives that are personally meaningful and challenging
  • articulates clear and specific long range goals
  • sets measurable short term objectives

Systematic Planning and Monitoring - what are the behaviors you would see as evidence?

  • plans by breaking large tasks down into time-constrained sub-tasks
  • revises plans in light of feedback on performance or changing circumstances
  • keeps financial records and uses them to make business decisions

Influence Choices - what are the components?

  • Persuasion and Networking
  • Independence and Self-Confidence

Persuasion and Networking - what are the behaviors you would see as evidence?

  • uses deliberate strategies to influence or persuade others
  • uses key people as agents to accomplish own objectives
  • acts to develop and maintain business contacts

Independence and Self-Confidence - what are the behaviors you would see as evidence?

  • seeks autonomy from rules or control of others
  • sticks with own judgment in the face of opposition or early lack of successful
  • expresses confidence in own ability to complete a difficult task or meet a challenge

Given this exercise of digging deep into our knowledge base, we will design a quick survey for anyone interested in assessing where they stand on the competencies. Look for a post on this topic in the next few days.

Profiles in Success - Entrepreneurial Competence

Good Day, this is rutter radio – your guide to fast and sustainable business growth. It is 0600 eastern or -4 GMT on 24JUN09 and the show is about Profiles for Success – Entrepreneurial Competence.

I am William Eastman, your host and Managing Partner for US Operations at Applied KnowledgeLabs, the show is hosted from our Atlantic Regional Office located in Richmond, Virginia.

You can join the conversation by clicking chat now link on our program page or call in at 347.215.7471.

The majority of our focus is on trainable skills because why discuss things you cannot change? However we would be guilty of malpractice if we didn't address the characteristics or traits of successful entrepreneurs.

But first some background. I had the opportunity to work with the United Nations Development Programmes in the 1990's. One of their initiatives was a program called Empretec, helping small business thrive and secure financing for growth. While engaged in one of our business development incubators, I had a blinding flash of the obvious – entrepreneurship is a calling and we have more in common with each other than our own families.

As part of the process, we had screen hundreds of applicants for just 30 positions. That was my introduction into the research on the traits and personal characteristics of successful entrepreneurs. What follows are those traits of success.

  • Achievement Motivated
  • Planning Orientation
  • Influence Choices

Our show is only 30 minutes in duration, so I will cover just the Achievement Cluster and check out our Chief Growth Officer blog for the remainder of the information.

Achievement Motivated – what are the components?

  • Opportunity Seeking & Initiative
  • Risk Taking
  • Demand for Efficiency and Quality
  • Persistence
  • Commitment to the Work Contract

Opportunity Seeking & Initiative – what are the behaviors you would see as evidence?

  • does things before being asked or forced by events
  • acts to extend the business into new areas, products, and/or services
  • seizes unusual opportunities to start a new business, obtain financing, equipment, land, work space or assistance

Risk Taking – what are the behaviors you would see as evidence?

  • deliberately calculates risks and evaluates alternatives
  • takes action to reduce risks or control outcomes
  • places self in situations involving a challenge or moderate risk

Demand for Efficiency and Quality – what are the behaviors you would see as evidence?

  • finds ways to do things better, faster, different, or cheaper
  • acts to do things that meet or exceed standards of excellence
  • develops or uses procedures to ensure work is completed on time or that work meets agreed upon standards of quality

Persistence – what are the behaviors you would see as evidence?

  • takes action in the face of a significant obstacle
  • takes repeated actions or switches to an alternative approach to meet a challenge or overcome an obstacle
  • takes personal responsibility for the performance necessary to achieve goals and objectives

Commitment to the Work Contract – what are the behaviors you would see as evidence?

  • strives to keep customers satisfied and places long term good will over short term gain
  • pitches in with workers or in their place to get the job done
  • makes a personal sacrifice or expands extraordinary effort to complete a job

Well, we have just a few minutes left, so lets review.

Go to our blog and review the list. Be honest with yourself, how many of these behaviors do you exhibit daily? over the space of a week? and how well do you perform it?

We will loop back around on this list over the next week when we discuss the demands of ownership/leadership by each growth stage.

Thanx for listening, check out our support materials. The transcript of today's show will be available in the afternoon.

This is William Eastman, your host at rutter radio, have a great business day.

Laws of Business and Gravity

the rutter Program Notes – 23JUN09 0600 (-4UTC)

This is the rutter radio live on BlogTalkRadio, I am William Eastman, Managing Partner for US Operations at Applied KnowledgeLabs.

Today's show is the first in a series of 8 shows based upon our upcoming book - the code4growth – the revolution of business ownership.

You talk with us directly by clicking “chat now” or dial in at 347.215.7471.

Yesterday we briefly covered today's agenda, the Laws of Business. Like the Laws of Physics, there are business rules that are universal and violated at your own risk.

3 major Laws of Business

  • Systems
  • Cycles
  • Control

Systems: treating/improving one part of the business doesn't mean a fix for all, a company's performance is the sum of the parts – a sum of it's processes.

Cycles: all living objects are influenced by the cycle of birth, growth, decline, and death; companies are nothing more than social networks organized for economic purposes and live under the same rules.

Control: the issue is not whether to control or not control, it is about what to control; all systems require methods of control to survive and thrive.

Systems (and Processes)

  • Financial – end of period measures used to evaluate past performance, and real-time measures that link decisions to current performance.
  • Strategy – creation and enhancement of brand through a yearly plan, and aligning the organization to achieve the plan objectives.
  • Sales – acquisition of new accounts, and growth within existing accounts and reestablishing relationships with former customers.
  • Production – production of products and/or execution of services, and development of new products and services.
  • Relationships – bringing in new players (employees, partners, suppliers), and managing the performance of existing relationships.


  • Dream2Plan – identification of competitive advantage in a targeted market, selection of a business model to exploit competitive advantage, creation of brand identity, build first product/service, quick to market.
  • Go-Live – create brand identity, reduce risks of purchasing from new company through executive selling, find marquee accounts, create sufficient and predictable cash flow.
  • Next Act – reevaluate competitive advantage, business model, and brand identity; create growth plan, determine capacity improvements, allocate budget, upgrade operations.
  • Big Fast – scrutinize costs, accounts receivable, quality defects, and service complaints; focus on maximizing efficiencies.
  • Stable – eliminate unnecessary costs, upgrade policies and procedures, maximize all margins; decide on the future – sell, reinvent, or decline?
  • Reinvent – unlock innovation within the company; team employees with customers, suppliers, and subject matter experts to upgrade/create new products and services and/or upgrade internal processes.

Control by Stage

  1. Direct Supervision – only the owner can transform the dream/business idea into reality, owner as the hub of a wheel, active engagement in all aspects of the startup.
  2. Direct Supervision – owner directly supervises core processes – sales and financials, owner is engaged in the sales process either as lead salesperson or used strategically by sales force to build relationships.
  3. Process – owner creates intermediate management/supervision, focuses this group on creating best practices for all processes to optimize resources.
  4. Results – owner focuses on metrics identified in strategic plan and manages next level through results against goal.
  5. Team Work – bringing together subject matter experts and stakeholders to innovate all essential aspects of the business.

This seems like allot of information, but it really isn't. If you read between the lines, each growth stage has it's own situational and specific demands on the business owner and executives. That is why our approach is take it one at a time and simply a winning Growth2Capacity plan.

Remember to checkout tomorrows broadcast on the characteristics of successful entrepreneurship. I will recount our experiences with building businesses around the world.

22 June 2009


AKLabs is happy to announce it's latest knowledge service to our readers, clients, and partners - BlogTalkRadio. We are adding to audio our media platform, click on the link above and check it out. Currently we broadcasting live @0600 USEastern (-4 UCT) to test out the service and our platform. You can tune in live or download the mp3 for listening at your convenience.

Here is our scheduled programming for the next two weeks:

  1. 22JUN09 - Intro to the rutter: rutter: likely from French routier and Dutch ruiter, meaning "something that finds a way", A guide who leads the way through a difficult or unknown course. Bring onboard your own CGO4Hire (Chief Growth Officer), gain the insights to grow your business from zero to a billion.
  2. 23JUN09 - Laws of Business and Gravity: This is first in a series of 8 shows based upon eastman's upcoming book - the code - on how you can manage business growth; what are the laws of business that operate with the effectiveness of gravity.
  3. 24JUN09 - Profiles of Success - Entrepreneurial Competence: This is second in a series of 8 shows based upon eastman's upcoming book - the code - on how you can manage business growth; the characteristics of successful entrepreneurs.
  4. 25JUN09 - Turning Your Dream Into a Winning Plan: This is third in a series of 8 shows based upon eastman's upcoming book - the code - on how you can manage business growth; Growth Stage I - Dream2Plan.
  5. 26JUN09 - Cash is King: This is fourth in a series of 8 shows based upon eastman's upcoming book - the code - on how you can manage business growth; go-live - starting fast and making money, sell-sell-sell.
  6. 29JUN09 - After Catching Your Breath, What Now? What Next? This is fifth in a series of 8 shows based on eastman's upcoming book - the code - on how you can manage business growth; stage III - you have survived and proved both the business idea and your ability to manage the chaos, what is next beside catching your breath.
  7. 30JUN09 - Big Fast - Growing2Capacity: This is sixth in a series of 8 shows based upon eastman's upcoming book - the code - on how you can manage business growth; stage IV, time to repay your investment - making the business finally produce results for customers, employees, and yourself.
  8. 1JUL09 - Your Future - Sell, Decline, or Reinvent: This is seventh in a series of 8 shows based upon eastman's upcoming book - the code - on how you can manage business growth; stage V - reaching your first plateau and rethinking the end game - do you sell, sit on your laurels, or go for it again?
  9. 2JUL09 - Path to Market Dominance: This is last in a series of 8 shows based upon eastman's upcoming book - the code - on how you can manage business growth; stage VI - reinvention of the business and taking the path to market leadership or domination.
  10. 3JUL09 - Rules of the Road - Fast Growth and Your Business: What are the best practices of fast and sustainable growth companies? How did they defy the odds? Most business experts conform to a theory of "thirds": Of all the new business startups, 1/3 eventually turn a profit, 1/3 break even, and 1/3 never leave a negative earnings scenario. Only 2/3 of all small business startups survive the first two years and less than half make it to four years. Only 1 in 400 make it from their first reinvention to a billion in revenue.

Bring onboard your own CGO4Hire (Chief Growth Officer), gain the insights to grow your business from zero to a billion.