For those of you who don’t have the time and money to go to business school, don’t worry! You can learn Strategy by reading books and putting the lessons learned into practice.
Three business school professors have travelled through the USA visiting SMEs and small business owners to uncover how they run their business and put strategy into action (http://www.roadside-mba.com/).
Roadside MBA: Back Road Lessons for Entrepreneurs, Executive, and Small Business Owners
written by Michael Mazzeo (Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management), Paul Oyer (Stanford University’s Graduate School of Business) and Scott Schaefer (University of Utah’s David Eccles School of Business). The book covers the following contents:
Scaling a business
Establishing barriers to entry
Managing your brand
Incentive for employees
Battling the big boys
Strategy is a continuous process
You will also discover a new law of business, called ‘Mazzeo’s law’:
Mazzeor’s law : The answer to every strategic question is “It depends”.
Corollary 1: The trick is knowing what it depends on.
Corollary 2: If the answer to a question isn’t “It depends”, then it’s not a strategic question.
You’ll find the book on Amazon UK, as well as many other bookshops.
When you pitch to VCs, the primarily product that you are selling is: YOU!
Even more important than the business idea, VCs are investing in people: YOU and your team. So in a very short period of time, YOU have to make them like YOU. They have to be confident that YOU bring the following characteristics:
Integrity (‘Can we trust you with our money?’)
Passion (‘Are you ready to leave what you currently do? put your days, nights and week-ends into the new business?’)
Experience (‘Have you done something similar before?’)
Knowledge (‘Do you have domain expertise?’)
Skills (‘Do you have the skill to run the business, technically, commercially etc?’)
Leadership (‘Do you have a team? If you don’t have the skills, can you find people who are ready to follow you?’)
Commitment (‘Will you be there until the end?’)
Vision (‘How will you change the world?’)
Realism (‘Do you understand how tough it is to change the world?’)
Coachability (‘Can you listen and learn from the experience of others?’)