I’ve Got A Great Idea! "lessons learned"


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I’ve Got A Great Idea! "lessons learned"

  1. 1. Huh?<br />What if I . . . . <br />Do you really think that . . .<br />I know. We should . . . <br />Some Stories About Starting Business, Chasing Dreams, and Learning Along The Way<br />I’ve Got A Great Idea!”<br />
  2. 2. Where Does “It” Start?<br />You Have A Great Idea<br />You Think You Have A Great Idea<br />Someone Tells You That You Have A Great Idea<br />You Convince Yourself You Have A Great Idea<br />You Fall In Love With Your Great Idea<br />You Read Your Own Press Clippings<br />Then . . . “Something Happens.”<br />And then . . . You Find Out Just How Great Your Idea Is!<br />Henry Doss, EIR, T2VC<br />2<br />
  3. 3. Great Idea # 1“Image Network”<br />Founded July, 1985<br />Folded, February 1986<br />“Computerized Imaging for the Built Environment”<br />Very early adaptation of imaging software.<br />Very “cool” and “novel.”<br />Left everyone impressed and excited.<br />But “why”?<br />Henry Doss, EIR, T2VC<br />3<br />
  4. 4. Image Network: The “Strategy”<br />What Could We Do With It?<br />Make Cool Images<br />Use to Sell Zoning Changes, Etc<br />Architect Sales Pitches<br />Animate and “Reveal” Structures<br />How Could We Make Money?<br />IP?<br />Franchise?<br />Guess.<br />Henry Doss, EIR, T2VC<br />4<br />
  5. 5. Image Network: What We Did<br />Raised $100K; then we stopped. (Mistake!)<br />Developed a “Center Franchise” Model<br />Built Demo Center<br />Opened Offices: Charlotte, NC; Coral Gables and Miami, FL<br />Hired Sales Staff<br />Started “Doing Stuff.”<br />Henry Doss, EIR, T2VC<br />5<br />
  6. 6. Image Network: What Happened<br />Business Model Floundered<br />Legal Expense<br />No Sales to Potential Franchisees<br />No Selling<br />No Clear Product To Sell<br />Revenue Limited to Our Own Consulting<br />Team Dynamics Poor<br />No “Alignment” to Outcomes<br />Poor Communication<br />Unfocused “Accountability”<br />Constantly In Search of “Who Are We?”<br />Henry Doss, EIR, T2VC<br />6<br />
  7. 7. Image Network: The Fallout<br />Ran Out of Capital: Quickly<br />No Plan for Low/No Capital Situation<br />Total Collapse of Business<br />Months of “Digging Out”<br />“Car Sale”<br />A Total “Failure”<br />Henry Doss, EIR, T2VC<br />7<br />
  8. 8. Lessons Learned<br />Plan for Capital, and Raise Capital to Plan<br />You Do Not Have Enough Capital. Period.<br />“Tech Stuff” = Baubles: Don’t Get Distracted by “Cool Things.”<br />It’s about what the customers want, not what you think they need.<br />Focus on people: Alignment; Conversation.<br />EVERYTHING is About People<br />Henry Doss, EIR, T2VC<br />8<br />
  9. 9. Great Idea #2: SOLDSales Force Automation<br />Intrepreneurship: 1989 -1996<br />Internal Build at First Union National Bank<br />The Idea: Build internal SFA (SalesForce) <br />The Bigger Idea: Link SFA Platform to Data Mining<br />User Friendly<br />Function Across thousands of locations, dozens of job groups, hundreds of products, millions of customers <br />Build w/out “authorization.”<br />Henry Doss, EIR, T2VC<br />9<br />
  10. 10. SOLD: What We Did<br />One person, build one screen, test.<br />Add one functionality, sell to small group.<br />RCT; Constant Revision; Constant Feedback.<br />Simultaneously:<br />Build Platform<br />Build Data Mining<br />Build “Culture”<br />Sell<br />Henry Doss, EIR, T2VC<br />10<br />
  11. 11. SOLD: What Happened<br />World Class SFA/CRM<br />World Class Data Mining<br />Broad/Deep Adoption; “Real Results”<br />Paine Webber: “The best sales force automation system of any bank in the world.”<br />Still the core platform at Successor Entity.<br />“Sold” Consulting Services: Banco Santander, et alia<br />Henry Doss, EIR, T2VC<br />11<br />
  12. 12. Lessons Learned<br />Have A Clear, Clear Vision.<br />Align People and Teams – One At A Time.<br />Constantly Sell and Re-Sell Your Vision.<br />Be Ready to Change/Adapt At A Moment’s Notice.<br />Listen. Bring In People Smarter/Better Than You.<br />Henry Doss, EIR, T2VC<br />12<br />
  13. 13. Great Idea #3: Telecom<br />Well, not really a “great idea.” (Current)<br />Take “mediocre” existing telecom entity.<br />Re-engineer business model.<br />Grow company from X to 3X for sale.<br />Leverage existing tech, but migrate where necessary to newer/innovative tech. <br />Take business components and leverage.<br />Henry Doss, EIR, T2VC<br />13<br />
  14. 14. Telecom: What We Did (Do)<br />Transform from “retail” to “business” provider.<br />Transform from “phone company” to “communications provider.”<br />Attrite and harvest retail customer base.<br />Build business products.<br />Build out B2B sales force.<br />Optimize call center, service provision.<br />Financial discipline.<br />Henry Doss, EIR, T2VC<br />14<br />
  15. 15. Telecom: What Happened<br />Third year revenue up significantly. (Post second year dive.)<br />ARPU trending upward.<br />CAPEX increased and “strategically managed.”<br />EBITDA from “seriously negative” to positive.<br />Two small accretive acquisitions.<br />Leadership team expanded with new talent.<br />Beginning valuation discussions.<br />Henry Doss, EIR, T2VC<br />15<br />
  16. 16. Lessons Learned<br />Starting with small existing company, same as starting from scratch – strategically.<br />Again, what is the “vision”? (Retail to Business.)<br />Frame your vision inside clear numbers.<br />Lead “from” people; manage “to” numbers.<br />Its not about the technology; it’s about what the customers do with the technology.<br />Henry Doss, EIR, T2VC<br />16<br />
  17. 17. Great Idea # 4: Galaxy Digital<br />Marketing and Data Mining for “The Masses”<br />Bring “Big Guy” Tools and Capabilities to SME.<br />Hit the “Sweet Spot”: (Intersection of mobile, data and “the cloud”)<br />Focus on “insight” delivery and practical value- add.<br />“Be The Customer.” “Think Like The Customer.”<br />Henry Doss, EIR, T2VC<br />17<br />
  18. 18. Galaxy Digital: What We Are Doing<br />Have a clear, differentiating vision.<br />“Insight”<br />Mass Customization<br />Ease<br />Broad, But Clear Road Map for Development. <br />Three Years<br />Three Major Releases<br />Platform<br />“Management”<br />“Insight”<br />Sales Discipline, from Day One<br />Manage the Numbers as if Life Depends on Them; It Does.<br />Align, Align, Align.<br />Henry Doss, EIR, T2VC<br />18<br />
  19. 19. Galaxy Digital: What (Will) Happen<br />Slog Through Tight Times; Inspire; Lead<br />Manage Dollars<br />Prep for Series A<br />Exit in 3 – 5 years<br />Henry Doss, EIR, T2VC<br />19<br />But, really, who knows? Isn’t that half the fun!?!?<br />
  20. 20. Lessons Learned<br />Spend the majority of your time with and forpeople.<br />Whatever you give away comes back. Power. Money. Time. Everything. Give away freely.<br />Really: “Failure is a badge of honor.”<br />If you think of business as a zero sum game, every conversation is about “who’s going to lose.” This is not inspiring.<br />There’s a difference between “quitting” and folding a losing hand.<br />All business is conversation. <br />Most of your success will be about luck, as will “non-success.” So when you lose, be less hard on yourself. And when you win, be appropriately humble. After all, you probably got lucky!<br />Henry Doss, EIR, T2VC<br />20<br />
  21. 21. Thank You!<br />Henry Doss, EIR, T2VC<br />21<br />Henry H. Doss, Executive-in-Residence<br />henry@t2vc.com<br />henrydoss@mac.com<br />1+ 336 489 0053<br />Once-upon-a-time retired, former banker, oftentimes rock guitarist/composer, sort-of data geek, serial “attempter” at multiple adventures, master meeting/conversation facilitator, won-some/lost-some, been there/done that, community leader/volunteer, idea-generator.<br />