Book Published: soon available through distribution platforms

The Naked Pitcher is now a BOOK!!!

libro copertina

 

thanks to LICOSIA

Here available for pre order.

licosia

 

 

Annunci

For efficient planning startups need to bridge the forecasting gap

 

sfera di cristallo

Business world is experiencing an evident schizophrenia which is causing considerable damage. In Italy (as well as to a greater or lesser extent, in many other countries) about 98 percent of the total amount of active firms have less than 20 employees. A cluster  made up of over 5 million small and micro  business that produce 40% of the annual national value added.

For those who are willing to manage a firm in the right way, first of all is necessary to plan, because nowadays the entrepreneurial intuition without planning and organization skills does not lead anywhere.

Planning of course means a lot of different things:

  • Strategic planning, played around the entrepreneurial vision, with a time horizon ranging between three and five years;
  • Marketing and commercial planning, for conquering new markets for their services and products, with times horizons sometimes short, seasonal or anyway generally between one and three years;
  • Financial and fiscal planning, necessary to ensure the company a sufficient and above all constant cash flow injection;
  • Risk and IT planning more and more necessary to keep up with a fast moving market and with the huge technological progress;
  • Planning of training, increasingly decisive for long-term success on the markets, but which often requires some time to appreciate its impact in terms of value production;
  • The planning par excellence, that is the one concerning research and development, which according to the various product fields, can absorb resources for many years to come;

Challenged with this growing demand for planning skills (and related investments), the reality that entrepreneurs are facing is constantly changing, almost ungraspable.

It is not just the markets that oscillate dangerously between unbridled globalization and a neo-protectionistism that is often illogical and counterproductive, it is the whole society at the global level. As a victim of something very similar to a sort of sociological and political “greenhouse effect”, the social and cultural climate seems to “overheat” everywhere, with phenomena of political instability and local virulence that are equally unpredictable and difficult to read as weather events.

So companies are faced with a clear schizophrenia, if on the one hand the market demands more planning skills (and therefore ultimately an increased forecasting capacity able to lead the investments that these plans always accompany) and on the other hand it always provides less certainty on how and in what direction the needs and aspirations of consumers will move ahead, as well as the socio-economic government policies, the possibilities of supplying resources and raw materials, etc, etc

In this context data are definitely not missing, rather we are submerged of numbers, often lacking the ability to classify, order, analyze this avalanche of data, in an aseptic way, free from prejudices or from ideological strabism deriving from the use and the abuse of theories and economic and entrepreneurial ideas.

There is therefore a need to moderate this evident asymmetry, to bridge this “forecasting gap”, endowing companies with reports that aim to reduce this huge uncertainty back into clear trends and scenarios with which the company can become step by step familiar (if at the same time we can also provide them with the appropriate interpretative keys), reducing at the same time the risk and instead increasing their possibility of success on the markets.

Therefore entrepreneurs and most of all startuppers should select structures, advisors and incubators able to provide these forecasting services too because not only  large companies should benefit from it.

Scenario planning helps reducing risks in many ways:

  • It compensates common and frequent errors in decision making
  • It’ very different from any other plan (f.i. contingency, risk, etc) because it connects all different uncertainties a form daily has to face

The scenarios and trends on the evolution of the international landscape and market that SME’s and startups need to have at their full disposal, in facts help to create that substrate on which the above described planning needs can consistently grow, finding confirmation and inspiration and, above all, the most necessary thing: a concrete reduction of the entrepreneurial risks.

The Naked Pitcher Book available starting September 1st

001.jpg

The Naked Pitcher represents the essence of an approach that proved to be effective with many different startups in the Euro-Mediterranean region.
In my experience with many young entrepreneurs from all over the world, I realized that very often what they really need beforehand are very basical informations on how to manage a consistent, quick and affective approach about strategy, postponing to a different and future stage further and more complete insights.

Just as very often we talk about MVP and any other mean useful to reduce time to market, so there must to be a way to reduce learning time when approaching strategy and the essental concepts of business modeling.

Time is scarce and all they want to know is:

– how to present their idea;
– how to depict an affective business plan;
– why the two above-mentioned points are so important;
– how to pitch communicating their business idea at its best.

 

In the Naked Pitcher Book we try to provide a credible answer to these questions.

What color is your startup?

colori

What color is your startup?

Using colors for your brand, presentations, packaging, web site and corporate fonts never happens by accident.

Every firm has a personality, and founder’s personality reflects on startup style. The same for colors used by entrepreneurs. What is your startup most dominant personality trait? Colors can reveal that.

At the other side, avoid using the wrong colors seems very important because it might turn customers away, and it may damage your corporate image in many other ways because is strictly connected with how people perceive you and your organization.

A few interesting facts:

  • Colors are commonly and widely used to assess personality, ability to work in groups, product and brand impact, customer reaction etc;
  • Blue shows up in 33% of the top 100 brands, while red comes second by showing up in 29% of the brands, followed by black or greyscale and then yellow or gold;
  • 95% of the top 100 brands only use one or two colors;
  • Growing corporate investments on a comprehensive corporate branding project that includes corporate fonts (and therefore colors) on order to enhance corporate identity.

tabella colori startup

Value left ih the shade

cono d'ombra

Sometimes ideas and projects into a startup are so good that we forget about the rest.

What is left in the shade?

  1. Skills and organizational roles: watch out for over specialization into your firm. At least once in a while try to measure/assess the distance between who you were (as a founder) and who you are (as a manager in charge of something into a startup): anything you aren’t completely satisfied about? Is the upskilling process working well enough?
  2. 2. Ideas: not just because one idea was successful you have to kill the others. Always good to have what is actually very often missing: an archive of previously developed ideas (even the unsuccessful ones)
  3. Corporate image: being a brilliant startupper and a kind of ingenious craftsman may be good at the very beginning but then you need a project for building up and consolidating of your brand image as well as for gathering feedback and refine your brand identity.
  4. Investments: the progression of your idea on the market will sooner or later reach a plateau. What’s next for keeping firm alive? Investments in training, company culture, internal communication and management feedback tools (no feedback is even worse of negative feedback), research & development are needed and space should be left for it
  5. Roots: roots are part of your company. No matter how short it can be, but your company story is very important as well as is fully understanding the…roots of your success! How determinant the context was (and is) in your success? Most of the times, fighting for success, this aspect is underestimated and that may lead to wrong evaluation of the next development steps of your startup. Never let that pursuit of success get in the way of your company identity.

Product or service startup dilemma? a real waste of time!

produt vs services

What is best? Starting up a product or a service -based startup? It looks like an interesting question but in reality it’s a waste of time.

When you startup a company there is a business idea, an intuition that slowly and hopefully turns into something more consistent: a business model. And a business model is then represented by the best answer an entrepreneur can find to the eternal question “based on which key competitive advantages and market scenarios my company will get paid?”.  As you can see, no mention of product or service.

In facts there is no dualism, instead there is very often integration. Very few products and services are used in a vacuum, and a firm is most of the times to be considered mature when is able to think in terms of product-services integrated platforms.

Firms are, by definition, a living organism: therefore they are continuously looking for a balance with the external environment and internally between their various parts. How original this equilibrium can be, it depends on the adopted business model. Another thing firms do sometimes is adopting a mimetic behaviour, which aims to imitate some specific entrepreneurial act of established and/or successful target-organizations. This endless search for balance and imitative behaviour sometimes request a change or an integration on firm’s core domain: transition and diversification.  So is most of the times really pointless to say that a service-based model is better than a product-based one or viceversa.  That choice will be instead a natural consequence of a well done and deep analysis of your business model and its various potential alternatives.

However, keep in mind that if you stick to your vision, in the end as an entrepreneur you are selling a way to fix someone’s problems and therefore make the world a better place to be: as long as this in going to happen, your customers can’t care less if according to you they  are purchasing a product of a service. All that they want is a pleasant solution to experience in order to break free from uncertainty and satisfy some of their needs.

Here some of the question you can better ask yourself, instead of puzzling on product vs service dilemma:

  1. What is exactly requested by your business model at an early stage?
  2. Will you start selling a product or a service? Which one will be ready for market in the quickest time? Can they be effectively integrated?
  3. Which approach, product or services –like, guaranties to the firm a wider and more various number of potential customers? How can they best be locked –in? (f.i.Microsoft, Apple business model)
  4. Is the product or service approach the most efficient one in order to raise entry barriers against your potential competitors?
  5. What about the profit margins? What’s best for your firm?
  6. Is product or service what makes you unique? In other words, what of the two things really represents the most valuable side of your business model in terms of related competitive advantages
  7. What are exactly the setup costs in both cases?
  8. Which approach offers the best chances of scaling up?
  9. Can you think of a minimum viable product or instead a m.v. service?
  10. What exactly happens all around your customer before, during and after the adoption of your product or service? Is product or service standing at the centre of this cluster of processes and events?
  11. What kind of product and services (f.i. pre and post sales assistance, training and consulting services, etc) can be complemetary and/or integrated with yours?
  12. Is product or service the characteristic of your firm which is harder to imitate?

 

The naked pitcher, strategy unveiled. The book.

cropped-triplo-infinito.pngThe Naked Pitcher will be soon available as a Manual, with a totally new,  easy and ready-to -use approach!!!!

“The Naked Pitcher is a practical blog that is surely to entertain, educate, and challenge our common understanding of what it takes to be an entrepreneur.”
Abdelhamid El-Zoheiry -President of the Euro-Mediterranean University, Slovenia (http://www.emuni.si/).

Are you a circular or straight start up?  And your entrepreneurial style is Kipling or a Parsifal- like? Following the experience of many years of consulting and teaching Prof. Massimiliano Bellavista proves an enjoyable and back –to-basic approach to strategy.  The naked pitcher is a “low cost”, simple and fast approach to strategy that proved to be successful with many different startups in the Euro-Mediterranean region: it is not a manual neither a book about strategy but a ready -to -employ vademecum for your entrepreneurial journey.

  • If you are somebody interested in understanding how strategy can be effectively applied to start up management, this is probably your book.
  • If you are an entrepreneur, and you want to get the basic concepts necessary to have a successful one avoiding the usual pitfalls, this is your book.
  • If you are in a multi-ethnic or in a multicultural team and you want to transform it into a successful firm, this is definitely your book!!!

“Initiatives such as the Naked Pitcher are of great importance, allowing to create a
cradle and an environment where those entrepreneurial gems can grow and prosper locally, without dispersion towards the dominant nations, increasing the intellectual potential of our peoples.”
Willy Burkhardt- founder and CEO of Arcares SPA (https://arcares.lutech. group/), the IT leading company for Factoring and SCF Management Systems in Italy

Copertina

Gli emblemi del futuro

 

Apparso su Eleatiche. Si ringrazia Licosia Editore

 

mondo sole

Il sole che indica il futuro. Di frequente gli emblemi diffusi nei libri del sedicesimo e diciassettesimo secolo hanno questa associazione stretta tra il pensiero illuminante e il sole, la luce, come ciò che simbolicamente può diradare le tenebre (del futuro) e con esse i fumi dei nostri dubbi più neri.

Ma gli emblemi avevano in passato una consolidata funzione virtuosa, assolvevano al compito, ben compreso solo in tempi relativamente recenti anche nel mondo della formazione e della comunicazione, di scolpire nella mente, con l’aiuto di parole combinate con immagini, i comportamenti da tenere e quelli da evitare, le virtù da tenersi strette. Una parola accompagnata da un’immagine ha ben più probabilità di essere da tutti compresa e di rimanere molto a lungo nella mente del lettore.

Un primo accenno al futuro lo troviamo in questa immagine che ci richiama al concetto di lasciare al futuro il tempo dovuto per maturare e irrobustire idee, teorie, chiavi interpretative: “TEMPORE DURESCIT”, recita il motto, ovvero il tempo fortifica e consolida. L’immagine raffigura un uccello con un corno sopra il becco; se un corno tanto duro può nascere da una materia molle e delicata, asserisce l’emblema,

IL TEMPO RAFFORZA

allora anche Il tempo ci rafforza perché attraverso il lavoro assiduo ogni virtù si conferma e si fortifica.

Del resto, si sa, le cose migliori maturano con calma. Ce ne avverte questa immagine che ci ricorda come che le cose più affermate e apprezzate nel nostro mondo “un tiempo no lo fueron” e per questo non devono essere disprezzate le cose più umili che stanno crescendo, anche da umili fondamenta, perché ”pues no me dareys arbol tan crecido que muy pequena vara no aya sido” : ovvero non esiste un albero per quanto grande che non sia stato prima un piccola e indifesa piantina (tempore virga fui).

tempore virga fui

Ma il tempo è prezioso e attendere, essere prudenti, non vuol dire affatto oziare. Il tempo è la trama del futuro e questa trama preziosa può andare sprecata, come rimprovera questo emblema a chi, uomo ormai maturo, passa la giornata a giocare a palla traviando i giovani perché non insegna loro un buon uso del tempo.

temporis iactura

 

Se si lavora alacremente a migliorare l’uso del tempo e la visione del proprio futuro, lo si fa anche per non cadere in un pessimismo senza sbocco, come il topo di questa immagine che si avvicina inesorabilmente alla trappola, mentre un gatto lo guarda beffardo, nascosto in attesa degli eventi.

il male mi preme

 

“IL MALE MI PREME E MI SPAVENTA IL PEGGIO“, recita il motto che accompagna l’immagine.

Il pessimismo infatti, non serve a niente. E poi si sa, un futuro strategicamente impostato non è affatto sinonimo di un futuro tutto rose e fiori, ma solo (e non è poco) di uno dove si possa lottare per conquistare ed inverare il migliore scenario, sapendo contemporaneamente come arginarne gli inevitabili rischi. Nel futuro come nel presente il male è infatti indissolubilmente unito al bene (SUNT MALA MIXTA BONIS) ed è proprio la melagrana, frutto assai popolare negli emblemi, a ricordarcelo se “ainsi qu’une grenade, honneur de beaux jardins, ne laisse pas d’avoir de vicieux pepins”: sarà pure l’”onore dei giardini” ma non può fare a meno dei suoi fastidiosissimi semi.

granatapfle

Comunque è forse proprio questo che ci affascina nel futuro: la sua limitabile ma mai eliminabile inconoscibilità.  Quale sarebbe poi l’alternativa? Qualora conoscessimo tutto finiremmo come l’alienato astrologo protagonista di questo emblema. Costui andava predicendo a tutti la sorte e alla domanda che qualcuno alla fine gli pose su quando sarebbe venuta anche la sua ora la risposta fu che sarebbe stato il pasto di feroci cani randagi: per questo teneva costantemente acceso un fuoco dove bruciava qualunque cane vedesse nei paraggi.  Venne la pioggia che spense il fuoco e il suo destino si compì in un attimo. Per cui l’emblema non può che chiosare che “MALLEM NESCISSE FUTURA”. Come è ormai universalmente condiviso che non può esistere un rischio pari a zero (ma sono un rischio ben gestito) e che i sistemi perfetti non sono di questo mondo (ma lo sono quelli efficaci ed efficienti nonostante le imperfezioni che li rendono migliorabili) è bene che ci mettiamo in testa anche questo: è preferibile non conoscere il futuro. Alla fine, basterebbe possederne il sentimento, il senso del possibile.

nescisse futura

 

 

 

 

Recensione de L’ombra del Caso

direfarescrivere agosto 2018

 

Si ringrazia Bottega editoriale e la redazione di “Dire Fare Scrivere

Un’indagine ad altissimo rischio  per un acuto e brillante detective sulle tracce di un feroce assassino
Da Il Seme Bianco, un thriller appassionante  di Massimiliano Bellavista sulla nostra società
di Guglielmo Colombero
«La gente non capiva che la morte non si fa. Si subisce. Non si crea né si distrugge, passa solo di mano in mano, come un cerino acceso».
Questo passaggio estrapolato dal romanzo L’ombra del caso (Il Seme Bianco, pp. 272, € 22,90) illumina la filosofia disincantata, sfumata di cinismo, che caratterizza il protagonista, il commissario M. L’autore, Massimiliano Bellavista, usa solo l’iniziale del nome per questo personaggio che racchiude molteplici echi dei classici del giallo: da Gadda a Simenon fino a Camilleri.
Senese, classe 1964, ingegnere e docente di Management strategico, Bellavista si può definire poliedrico sotto il profilo letterario: vi invitiamo a conoscerlo meglio anche attraverso le pagine del suo blog: massimilianobellavista.wordpress.com/.
Accanto a questa sua prima opera narrativa, infatti, troviamo saggi in materia amministrativa e diverse raccolte poetiche. Catalogare sbrigativamente il suo romanzo come thriller potrebbe apparire riduttivo, anche se ripercorre il solco di quella tradizione: un serial killer che colpisce apparentemente a caso; un contesto sociale in cui l’autore innesta «dolore, malvagità, dubbio, pericolo, sadismo, pazzia»; un investigatore solitario che, scavando sempre più a fondo, finisce per portare alla luce un intrico perverso di marciume, corruzione, tangenti, prostituzione e reti di pedofili. La trama appartiene sicuramente alla letteratura gialla, ma da tale contesto Bellavista distilla umori corrosivi per tracciare l’affresco desolante di un tessuto sociale ormai irrimediabilmente contaminato da loschi traffici e deliranti pulsioni delittuose.

Un sentiero di enigmi come in un libro di Borges
Di sapore quasi pirandelliano, poi, alcuni sprazzi densi di dolenti metafore sul tormento esistenziale del protagonista: «A M. in sostanza, pareva di leggere un libro in cui era scritta la sua vita, ma che lui non aveva diritto a sovrascrivere e nemmeno ad annotare. Da qui due conseguenze logiche per la mente analitica di un investigatore: primo, era qualcun altro a decidere il copione, secondo, questo qualcuno il copione l’aveva già scritto in tutto o in parte, quindi nella migliore delle ipotesi lui era indietro rispetto alla sua vita di qualche pagina nella peggiore si trattava di un libro già bello che finito, magari anche di seconda mano. E quindi la logica conseguenza era che nelle cose della vita non occorreva sempre impegnarsi: tanto il libro avrebbe comunque girato pagina da sé».
Caparbio, metodico e tenace, il commissario M. è anche guidato, nel suo tortuoso itinerario investigativo, da alcuni sogni premonitori: l’orribile realtà che egli è destinato a scoperchiare assume via via i contorni rarefatti di un incubo a occhi aperti, che lentamente si dischiude davanti al suo sguardo indagatore. Non è assolutamente casuale, a questo proposito, la citazione che l’autore dedica alla struttura angosciante e labirintica di uno dei racconti più celebri di Jorge Luis Borges, La lotteria di Babilonia. Sul versante più propriamente poliziesco, prevale invece la visuale asettica e lucidamente razionale dell’investigatore navigato: «Gli omicidi tra familiari erano casi intensi, dotati di un’elettricità particolare, ma in genere procedevano spediti nella loro soluzione. Quando la vittima non aveva uno straccio di relazione o, se le aveva, erano sporadiche o peggio solo virtuali, erano grandissime rogne anche solo per stabilire un decente perimetro di indagine».
Attento rifinitore nel descrivere la fisicità dei personaggi di contorno (come le «ballerine attempate e straripanti di cellulite» che affollano certi idioti programmi televisivi), Bellavista ci offre lo spaccato inquietante di una società deteriorata: il commissario M. prende a calci un vespaio e sprofonda le mani in un immenso verminaio generato dalla putrefazione degli ideali e dal trionfo dell’avidità e della sete di potere.

Guglielmo Colombero

Il presente testo rappresenta la sintesi della presentazione del libro, opportunatamente riadattata, effettuata dal medesimo autore presso l’edizione 2018 Salone internazionale del libro di Torino.

(direfarescrivere, anno XIV, n. 151, agosto 2018)

 

Take an A-Team with a B-idea over a B-team with an A-idea

Doriot

High Impact Initiatives for Creating an Organizational Culture by William J Rossi

William Rossi is Professor Emeritus of Entrepreneurship at the University of Florida, having taught at both in the undergraduate and graduate Entrepreneurship Program there for 15 years.  Prior to teaching, Professor Rossi initially held several senior level positions with Ford, Goodrich and Picker International.  After relocating to Florida in 1986, Rossi worked in executive management positions in smaller entrepreneurial companies and was a principal in several.  Rossi holds a Master of Science degree in Operations Research from the University of Massachusetts and an undergraduate degree in mechanical and industrial engineering from Ohio University

A famous quote by George Doriot, who started one of the first venture capital funds in 1946, still resonates very strongly with me today.  He said: any day of the week I’ll take an A-Team with a B-idea over a B-team with an A-idea.  Doriot essentially was saying that a strong A-type team can take a mediocre idea and make it successful.  A less strong B-type team can take an absolutely sterling opportunity and end up with nothing.  Great companies don’t just happen; they are created by great people.  In the end, it’s people that make a business happen … or not.

How do you create that great team?  While there are many tools to build and nurture a strong team, it all starts by hiring well.  Hiring well is a process, and that process is framed by four key notions.

Hire up.  Surround yourself with winners.  A-type leaders, confident in their abilities, strive to find and hire A+ people.  B-type leaders, frequently less confident in their abilities, look for C+ people so that their subordinates don’t overshadow them.  Hiring managers often operate with a misperception of how they are viewed, measured and compensated by their superiors.   Remember that your performance as a leader has little to do with how your superiors perceive you relative to your subordinates, and much more to do with the results produced for the enterprise by your organization.

Add thinking diversity.  Hiring managers often make the mistake of concluding that an organization’s cultural fabric is compromised by diversity of thinking within the organization.  Quite the opposite is, in fact, true.  Psychologically mixing and matching thinking types within the group, linear thinkers with creative thinkers with visionaries, actually enhances a culture where team members challenge, complement and respect each other.  To do otherwise will likely lead to a monolithic organization where group-think is the norm, few new ideas ever are challenged and the prospect for creative, new solutions to problems seldom ever is the result.

Hire rebels.  When considering a new hire, too many managers shy away from prospects that have a propensity to either push-back on or question the traditional way things are done, particularly the way they are done in the hiring organization.  As a species, hiring managers tend to prefer prospects that agree with, and don’t question, them.  We typically call these yes people.  While it may be comfortable for the manager to have all subordinates agree with him and his ideas and approaches, it’s very unhealthy for the overall organization.  In fact, it’s rather incestuous.  It is much more productive to populate your organization with people who tend to challenge the status quo, challenge you as the manager, and who suggest and work hard to make the case for alternative solutions.  It is simply not possible that the boss is the only one who has all the good ideas, the right ideas, and the most effective way of solving problems.  The best managers want people in their organizations who challenge them, challenge each other and precipitate dialog within the group oriented to producing the best solution.  When I left grad school and started my first job, my manager had a sign on his door that read: Always Look for the Other Right Answer.  I’ve remembered that quote and emulated its meaning throughout my life.  He didn’t want people who agreed with him; he wanted people who disagreed with him.

Aim high, but reasonably.  Turnover in any organization is expensive.  The hiring and training expense is lost.  People within the organization can become complacent, and the culture can be jeopardized.  A weak team hire that has to be changed is by far worse than an open position.  So, aim high while being reasonable when considering the hire of a new team member, and don’t compromise.