Each journey is unique. Distinct market segments require different strategies. Each type of client requires a type of sales channel. Different problems require their own solutions. Each team has its own personality.
Nevertheless, there are “shortcuts” that can accelerate your journey. By using tried and tested patterns, entrepreneurs can make better use of talents, relationships, and financial resources.
Due to this, we are always learning and searching for the best practices, strategies, tactics and hacks. This list of resources and tools is part of our daily life and forms the basis of our knowledge. Use it to develop and enhance your own skills and abilities, as well as those of your team, and be inspired by the best of the world of entrepreneurship.
The pillars of our philosophy are founded upon the heroes’ journey throughout human history as described in The Hero with a Thousand Faces, from the lifecycle of companies as explained in The Founder’s Dilemmas and Startup Genome, and from the story of what is risk as defined in Against the Gods The Remarkable Story of Risk.
The first stage of the journey, composed of discovery and validation, is best represented by mastering the Product/Market Fit. The preparation for this achievement is described in (i)The Four Steps to the Epiphany, (ii)The Lean Startup, (iii)Business Model Generation and (iv)Crossing the Chasm.
Once this phase has been conquered, the journey becomes steeper and more complex—these are the efficiency and scale phases. To understand and overcome the challenges of these stages see Growing Pains and The Execution Premium.
Marketing & Sales
The success of a journey depends on perfection in several activities. However, none is more important than Marketing & Sales. To completely understand the struggles, learn where to find potential customers, and convert them into loyal ones is equivalent to physical progress (foot-by-foot, mile-by-mile) during an adventure.
The journey of companies that sell to other businesses (B2B) is complex. It requires a lot of discipline to find potential customers with the budget necessary to purchase, identify, and interact with various decision-makers, discover their true needs as well as the right time to address them. Entrepreneurs and investors like David Skok, Jason Lemkin, and Joel York constantly inspire us.
Companies seeking consumers (B2C) have an arduous journey. Unravelling the Map of Experience to understand the motivations and triggers of consumption and to explore the best channel and manner of interacting with potential customers is both a science and an art. We seek inspiration in growth hackers such as Sean Ellis (Lean Marketing for Startups) and Brian Balfour
The journey for companies looking to connect with multiple markets (Marketplace) is twice as challenging. Known as the two-sided (sometimes three, even four) market, this kind of adventure carries with it the additional challenge of mandatorily attracting two or more distinct types of audience. Our reference guide for this type of adventure is Sangeet Paul Choudary.
The tools that enable the journey include capturing the desires, needs, and wishes of potential customers and synthesizing them so they are actually addressed (Product design – Inspired: How To Create Products Customers Love), turning them into a code that can serve millions (Product development and operations – The Art of Scalability: Scalable Web Architecture, Processes, and Organizations…), and managing the many distractions that appear in the constant evolution of the product (Product management: The Role of the Product Manager).
At a certain point of the journey that small expedition turns into a group of dozens hundreds of employees who need the infrastructure required to support the next conquest efficiently. The structural elements that turn a journey into an expedition, are i) strategy, ii) culture, iii) organizational structure, iv) talent development, v) organizational control, vi) leadership.
The strategy is the translation of the dream (the goal of the journey) into a clear vision for all those who will participate in it, providing a sense of direction and specific objectives. Our starting points are (i) Michael Porter’s Competitive Advantage (ii) Jim Collins’ Good to Great and (iii) Clayton Christensen’s The Innovator’s Solution.
The culture of a company can take different formats. It consists of the standards and values guiding us daily, and creates the anticipation of what is required of people and how they expect to be rewarded for joining us on this journey. Some readings that can inspire the shaping of your company’s culture: Delivering Happiness by Tony Hsieh and Execution: The Discipline of Getting Things Done by Larry Bossidy.
The organizational structure consists of a set of functions or coordinated roles organized in a certain pattern in order to achieve a goal. Different journeys require different organizational structures, which can have a significant impact on the speed with which these goals are conquered. One of the guides we use is Organization Design: A Guide to Building Effective Organizations by Patricia Cichocki.
Talent development is a constant search for attracting gifted people and improving their skills, abilities, and attitudes. One of our biggest inspirations comes from the world of sports, in particular from the greatest American basketball coach of all time: Wooden: A Lifetime of Observations and Reflections On and Off the Court by John Wooden.
Organizational control, both operational and financial, ensures, with some degree of accuracy, that the goals will be achieved; therefore, influencing our behavior as well as that of the people who accompany us. The Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) help control the pulse of the expedition. The Lean Analytics Use Data to Build a Better Startup Faster and Google OKRs are excellent references. Moreover, financial statements and financial planning are equivalent to a company’s gas gauges. An excellent way to maintain the proper fuel level is to review the accounting and finance principles from this course at Udemy.
The leadership style of heroes reflects how they understand the nature of each challenge along the way and creates ways to overcome it, motivating people inside and outside of the organization to do what is right. The CEO of a journey such as this one requires a great deal of self-knowledge and an arsenal of motivational tools. A good starting point: Emotional Intelligence: 10th Anniversary Edition; Why It Can Matter More Than IQ.
Finance & M & A
Financing your expedition will be an ongoing activity throughout the entire span of your journey. There are several favorable options for each situation and stage. To introduce you to some of them, Endeavor has prepared an eBook: Finance Your Dream – Quick Access to Capital, which should always be within reach. To take advantage of these options, you have to be ready to sell your product. An excellent guide for your sales pitch can be found in the Entrepreneur Pitch Workbook, and to be prepared for negotiations with investors you need to understand the legal details: Term Sheets & Valuations.
Finally, in addition to all of this, they must be prepared for any opportunities that may arise. Many journeys culminate in a merger, acquisition, or even an IPO. To accompany these events, we follow http://www.cbinsights.com/blog/, http://fusoesaquisicoes.blogspot.com.br and http://www.retailroadshow.com.
To keep us focused and determined along the way, we turn to the fascinating mechanics of human behavior (Hooked How to Build Habit-Forming Products by Nir Eyal), the power of the desire to make it happen (The Hungry Spirit by Charles Handy), the examples of how much blood, sweat and tears are needed to succeed (Outliers The Story of Success by Malcolm Gladwell), the importance of finding peace of mind along the way (Finding Flow The Psychology of Engagement with Everyday Life by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi), and the inevitability of mistakes, failure, and the desire to quit during the journey (The Dip by Seth Godin).
One of the most striking features of the current situation of entrepreneurship is the volume of data, cases, and tools available on investor and entrepreneur blogs. Some of the best curators of these sources are:
Our journey is inspired by what the role of technology in the history of humankind is as described in Technological Revolutions and Financial Capital, what it can still provide our society as defined in Revolutionary Wealth, and what the genesis of the ideas that can change the destiny of our world is, as in Where Good Ideas Come From.
Our role in this journey, however, that of the investor, requires a discipline in decision-making that seeks constant improvement through the teachings of Think Twice: Harnessing the Power of Counterintuition, of The Essays of Warren Buffett, and The Dark Side of Valuation Valuing Old Tech, New Tech, and New Economy Companies, among others.