In evidenza

Under user control…

bivio

As the robot revolution approaches, companies will increasingly rely on smart machines and robots replacing functions previously performed by humans, looking for continuous optimization for both processes and workflow.

It won’t be possible anymore to simply rely on IT and CIO and considering all this stuff their own problem: assessing to which extension is necessary to introduce robotics into processes and business has far reaching consequences that will request very soon full top management commitment and engagement.

Industry 4.0/5.0 will split the value chain the way we are used to consider it right now into two flows: robot assisted processes on one side, and activities/phase where human factor will be still paramount on the other. Hoping they will converge. A new role on the organization chart is probably about to be defined: a Chief robotic officer, with responsibilities that range from implementation of robotic systems to the handling of the human workforce and the transition of tasks.

Therefore, strategic thinking will be concentrated, beyond and in addiction to the previous and “classic” issues, towards re-engineering the organizational structure and firm’s governance in order to assign to humans the right place. This means just one thing: give to people the roles that add value into the business, give to robots the rest.

But it this task that simple? Clearly not.

The common mantra is value= customer so who makes this statement very often thinks of entrepreneurial landscape ads follows: at one side a black-box, fully-automated factory and automated warehouses so efficient to make business extremely flexible and scalable, and where in future human being won’t even be allowed to get in.

At the other side a plethora of men running and striving in the “real” world, devoted to delight customers, to capture and retain customer attention. (If any customer will be still there to wait for them, because the loss of jobs will be huge, and the supposed, positive relationship between new technology and employment is probably a medium-term effect…..”whereas in the face of increasing divisions in society, with a shrinking middle class, it is important to bear in mind that developing robotics may lead to a high concentration of wealth and influence in the hands of a minority” cfr European Parliament resolution of 16 February 2017 with recommendations to the Commission on Civil Law Rules on Robotics).

Don’t know why, but this scenario makes me think about Welles and the “Time machine” dystopic novella, where the human race has evolved into two species: the ineffectual and childlike Eloi, and the become the brutal light-fearing Morlocks, that feed on the former.

Anyway, this means that we need a strategic and holistic approach, this topic isn’t any more just about technology. Many processes need to be completely re-designed.

robot 1

  • our current methodology of study and work needs to change dramatically: if we really want people to deliver value we can’t accept them being progressively more and more tilted towards mere software usage and less and less focused into understanding topics, fundamentals, briefly the “whole picture”. Otherwise, even the interaction firm/customer will be a passive process between two clusters of glorified software/platforms/social network users (customers and firm’s people) both being absolutely unaware about how those algorithms and software (written by other machines) works; in other words, who in future will be the company’s storyteller? humans or robots?
  • Logistics need to address how humans and robots will interact/get along rethinking workflow, as well as the landscape of the workplace in routinary and emergency-conditions (not to mention the connected liabilities);

robot e uomo

  • IT and compliance should assess how robots can effectively communicate with humans (already happens) and with other robots (actually mostly they don’t);
  • Improvement actions and TQM needs to be imagined in an optic of a self-learning robots ecosystem: who decides and when “robots-suggested –improvement” may be efficiently (and without risks) introduced into processes?;
  • The compliance office will be heavily impacted by a totally new legal framework for the robots that are currently on the market or will become available over the next 10 to 15 years, not to mention the liability landscape. Liabilities could concern the quality of produced software and technology, reliability and ethical/legal issues connected to automated and algorithmic decision-making;
  • Last but not least the importance of ideating measures to help with specific measures small and medium-sized enterprises and start-ups in the robotics sector that create new market segments in this sector or make use of robots.

This is to say that it seems decision makers underestimate the consequences of introducing AI and robotics into industrial processes, missing to analyse the complete picture and all its implications.

Strategic management is a complicated decision-making processes with a lot of deep, long-term and risky implications. It is a delicate matter and a very sensitive process and what is looming on the horizon is somehow similar to the discussion on the role of robotics in the field of procedural rights. What is clear in that field is that the critical processes and the final decision/judgment can be algorithms -assisted but must remain strictly under user (the human judge) control and the use of AI must be transparent.

The same should happen in the field of a strategic decision. Of course if we don’t want to end like the Eloi.

Annunci
In evidenza

A momentary lapse of …vision?

 vasi comunicanti

What exactly today “assessing the landscape” means?

For every landscape there is a (sometimes hidden) firm’s inscape.

Firm’s perception of the environment affects stakeholders and the external ecosystem as firm models the landscape to match its inner vision.

Inscape represents a cluster of different but complementary concepts such as: company’s culture, it’s peculiar organization, its myths and legends, but also groups policies, procedures, the engine able to produce and keep company’s uniqueness.

Landscape groups the concepts of interest, stakeholder, pressure, competition, opportunity, unknown.

Inscape is instead about having roots, origin, thoughts, feelings, deep knowledge, sometimes places art and aesthetics.

vasi comunicanti 2

But where inscape ends? Where instead landscape begins?

There’s no end in reality, if a company works.

In biology, homeostasis is the state of steady internal physical and chemical conditions maintained by living systems.

This dynamic state of equilibrium applies for firms too. The conditions of optimal functioning for the organism and includes many variables, such as body temperature and fluid balance, being kept within certain pre-set limits. Each of these variables is controlled by one or more regulators or homeostatic mechanisms, which together maintain life.

So between the inscape of a well -functioning firm and its landscape there should be the same relationship we may find among communicating vessels.

In facts, communicating vessels are an inspiring metaphor for understanding the functional link between the aspiration and the goals that a firm is trying to set and realize in the landscape, and the limits and constraints of its inscape. One aspect cannot be separated from the other.

The principle of communicating vessels states that the liquid contained in two containers communicating with each other (no matter how different they are) is, in normal conditions, at the same level.  So the way a company acts in its inscape is immediately reflecting on the landscape, and the other way around like in a mirror tunnel.

From this assumption two consequences are deriving:  a healthy company is one able to keep a dynamic equilibrium between landscape and inscape, no matter its size, no matter how big the landscape may be.

Second, there’s no place for compartmentalization of strategic thoughts: if firm’s action is not about “we, if inscape and landscape are just seen as watertight compartments, that would certainly represent a huge problem. Hopefully, this could represent for some companies just a momentary lapse of vision.

Future is about staying in balance and connecting with creativity and culture both inside and outside of firm’s borders through interaction and not with an on demand and intermittent (and sometimes one -way) communication.

 

 

 

In evidenza

Between Scylla and Charybdis: finance generating (only) other finance.

scilla e cariddi

It’s time for some clear statement about future investments and, above all, about the picture of the future startupper/entrepreneur we want to deal with.

Scylla and Charybdis were mythical sea monsters noted by Homer. Sited on the opposite sides of the Strait of Messina between Sicily and the Italian mainland, they were regarded as maritime hazards. Scylla was on the Italian side of the strait and Charybdis was a whirlpool off the coast of Sicily. Trying to avoid Charybdis meant passing too close to Scylla and vice versa.

At the moment, starting up is synonymous of innovation, enthusiasm and risk.

Well, this point of view is seriously endangered by two factors, two major risks surrounding startups.

With Uber shares sinking more than 15 percent below the stock’s initial price, in an article recently published in the NY Times the author hoped that the possible flop of UBER’s listing could represent an epitaph or at least a global warning for supporters of the “winner – take-all” venture capital style model. This distortive investment model, instead of focusing on finding good investment opportunities, aims to create an exclusive “super-unicorns club” (the unicorn is a startup company with an estimated value around 1 billion). This means that VC should only look for companies to be funded with checks between 500 million and 5 billion dollars, basically on the basis of some generic promises of future earnings.

Mainly we are talking about some self-fulfilling prophecies, where, by investing huge amounts in startups regardless of their economic results, many other investors are pushed to do the same. At the same time, these companies, including Uber, are given the opportunity to implement the strategy that was already Amazon’s one, such as benefiting their consumers with very affordable rates and products, simply because, thanks to the enormous funding received, their pockets are deeper than others. Being part of the club then allows this unicorn to do business, on paper very advantageous, with other companies like them, incidentally belonging to the same club.

In other words, we are definitely facing finance that generates finance, without many ties to the real economy and even less with innovation that should instead characterize startups.

This, in addition to diverting capital from really promising startups, and that’s too bad, would also send some wrong and distortive message to young entrepreneurs, something like “it is much better to be a showman than a entrepreneur“, and that’s even worse. a fundamental disconnect between public and private valuations. Not to mention the risks of domino effect an of massive loss of money that this huge disconnect between public and private valuations represents.

In other words finance that generates other finance

So much for factor nr.1

tra il martello e l'incudine

What about factor nr. 2?

Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs) have gained a lot of attention over the past months as an ideal crowdfunding solution but the floor fell out due to the lack of proper regulation putting the investor at risk that also paved the way for fraud. This represented a major economic loss for focusing for investors focusing on blockchain and cryptocurrency-related opportunities.

Despite this major problem, somebody say there is a new turning point, able to represent in a few years a real tsunami for crowfunding and, in general, for venture capitalist. This solution is called STO (security token offering). An STO is a token offering that is similar to an ICO but its main difference is that STOs are regulated, because whereas ICO tokens are sold just on the promise of future utility, security tokens are instead bought for the explicit purpose of making a return on investment.

And here is the new magic spell: tokenization of venture capital. It seems fantastic: in the end tokenization of VC portfolios happens on the blockchain, which offers some additional layer of security, investors can be safer and much more because you are going to invest on tokenized VC portfolio, which means security of investment through diversification, traceability of investments through the blockchain. And on this way, somebody says, we can solve the problems VC are facing: the way-out on their investments, and most of all, the lack of liquidity due to the relatively small percentage of their financed startups having a consistent market success.

Yes, fine, but in future we also would like to have real companies and not with zombies just kept alive with the help of finance.

If you look at pitching material of such tokenization platforms, their mantra is always the same: distributing risk, making the VC job looking like another widespread investment product. But what has this to do with financing “the bold and the brave” startupper? Not much.

Again, the impression is that we are dealing with finance generating other finance

Hope that VC will continue to play “traditionally” their fundamental role on the industrial system, certainly using also the opportunities deriving from technology and evolution of financial world, but always staying grounded on having with their choices an impact on  “real” economy. And good luck to all startuppers having, in addition to their heavy tasks, to navigate between such two hazards, being therefore between a rock and a hard place.

In evidenza

Some key additional pitching hints

picthing 1.PNG

A few general hints on pitching (whatever are you going to pitch/communicate), useful for anyone, as emerging from today’s session. Thanks for the very high quality of your presentations and for your effort.

-beforehand, tell who you are and, briefly, how did you come with the idea.;

product (or service) is king: don’t grasp on details if you don’t show it enough through the use of photos and other illustration;

mission is how to win the battle, vision is about winning the war: they cannot look like each other and/or looking like program. They should represent an inspiring and memorable ideal (try to reading it to your audience while you are testing your presentation: now move to the next slide and try to ask if they remember it. If at least 50% pf people does, you probably did a rather good job;

Canvas is not a concept-fastfood, but instead a place for gourmet, interested in tasting good ideas: therefore you shouldn’t write either too few or too much words, but just the necessary to let people understand and make the right connections …and, by the way, very good if you do it with the help of graphics;

Customer segments: try to describe in a profile what makes that segment homogeneous …if you write down a profile of each category with 80 to 120 words, is perfect. And you may soon realize that a described segment is very often made of slightly different sub-categories…;

Revenues streams: that’s definitely not a secondary subject…try always to be specific on this subject…your potential investors will be happy with it!!!;

Partners, suppliers, or (even) customers? Especially when business model is sketchy it may happen one of the following things: 1. The role of a supplier is underestimated: is not simple to replace, the quality of your stuff is literally depending on it…maybe we are talking about a partner? 2. At the very beginning, there is no way to pay for the purchased service: that supplier MUST be involved as a partner, sharing (if possible) its future success/revenues 3. Sure that what you are indicating as a partner is not instead the real customer of your service? If it controls the necessary facilities, the business relationship and maybe some distribution channel…maybe you should change your mind…;

pitching 2

-always indicate at least 3 possible competitors, and instead 3 companies belonging to your business area that you consider very different from your model and/or having a somehow “old-fashioned” model comparing to yours. That would help you to reaffirm your identity and competitive advantage, and your public understanding clearly what makes you special and different;

Take time for your conclusions: try to give at least try key takeaways to your public, possibly as memorable as your vision.

-…and by the way…is there a possibility for shortening time to market and giving a try for an MVP? I know, easier if you are planning to sell a software, less feasible if your goal is opening a restaurant…but anyway always try to assess the feasibility of this point…

In evidenza

Corporate diplomacy: yet another (and not useful) attempt to label something that in facts companies don’t need.

corporate diplomacy

The business of writing books and papers about the subject labelled as “Corporate Diplomacy” is growing. Mainly they consist in a collection of generic and sometimes chaotic indications in order to grasp the new role that brands should play facing the challenges of changes, sometimes defined as catastrophic, imposed by globalization.

The standard topic is that companies, of every order and size, cannot avoid confronting themselves with international diplomacy and that they must take a sort of diplomatic standing in the social, environmental, and even political fields. In short, corporate diplomacy is exalted as a sort of cure-all for the social and environmental issues of the world, a breath of fresh air able to revitalize the archaic and inefficient diplomacy of the national states.

The general impression that is derived from the reading of such articles/books is that one is faced with the usual crude and repetitive ritual aimed, from time to time, at repainting/refreshing the conceptual facade of the strategic management “building” of a different color without however proposing any consistent or structural change or even suggesting new ideas.  It looks like corporate diplomacy is no more that some intriguing words, highlighting their uncertain conceptual consistency.

And yet there would be a need for new ideas, certainly, especially in the case of of the imminent and unspecified “cultural apocalypses” that await us.

Instead the well-known cases sometimes highlighted as examples of good/bed application of corporate diplomacy, and that concern f.i.companies like Starbucks, Dolce and Gabbana (f.i. the China-issue) etc, narrate situations of corporates in troubles with relationship with some of their stakeholders where in all probability it would have been much better to leverage existing categories, rather than blurring the minds of managers any further.

What indeed would differentiate the so called corporate diplomacy from the already existing (and still little used/adopted by so many companies) corporate social responsibility?

In this field, yes, there would be a need of some choral international action, aimed at defining some truly pervasive standards, unitary and in some cases even mandatory, of “non-financial reporting”, thanks to which the social/environmental balance sheets of companies could be improved, clearer, comparable and communicable outside. But this requires a real and sometimes unpopular commitment, as we know, where the effort lies not in imposing the “thinking of the brand” but to deeply discuss ethical problems and environmental issues with a common global approach between companies belonging to different geopolitical and social contexts, and with non-homogeneous and sometimes conflicting values and cultural paradigms.

The same is true for the evanescent proposed difference between corporate “diplomacy” and the already existing (and effective) techniques and themes of lobbying and public affairs, that can rely on a much more consistent and scientific framework, from all points of view, both practical and theoretical.

What need is there for other concepts?

corporare diplomacy 2

The behaviour of a company in a crisis situation is, or should be, regulated by communication techniques, crisis management and business continuity management: that these techniques and processes are currently well known and / or well applied by all companies is certainly an issue, but there is no particular need for adopting new categories.

On the other hand, there is a slight taste of ethical relativism that blows through the pages dedicated to corporate diplomacy.

Assumptions like:

  • Facts are no longer relevant, the paradigm of objective reality is over”: according to this vision, the pure verifiable facts count less than nothing, the only important thing is the prompt and sometimes opportunistic interpretation that company gives, leveraging stakeholder feelings not necessarily their rationality. What about the effort, this is what would be nowadays of even greater help and socio-cultural value, that some great companies of the past did to provide education, cultural preparation and argumentative skills to the communities with which they interacted? Nowadays the problem is to provide interpretative keys and reliable “certified” information sources based on facts, to foster people’s ability to build their own ideas and point of view, not the opposite.
  • Let’s move from stakeholder engagement to issue management“. That means in facts that instead of (wisely) paying attention to their stakeholders, of any kind, companies should now just “focus on those issues aimed to cause the greatest influence and impact on the business of the company itself “. It sounds a bit like providing companies with the perfect boy scout camping recipe, such as:

 a) concentrate (temporarily) on an issue (whatever you want, as long as it sounds interesting and it suits the business and is connected to your mission;

 ​b) influence on the same theme as much people you can on the globe regardless of the consistence of facts, but only on the basis of consumer’s emotionality, experience and perception: stakeholders, according to this vision, in the end do not exist, there is only a global audience there at firm’s disposal to be passively influenced by its communication techniques

c)when you have finished/you are satisfied with the results leave the topic and move on to something else.

This is probably the perfect recipe for a disaster.

Hopefully, companies would need just the opposite, f.i. studies and ideas aimed at characterizing organizations on the basis of a long-term, sustainable and consistent value system, deeply connected with real social and environmental needs of their communities and on a solid stakeholder dialogue.

This dialogue, as the principles of social responsibility clearly indicate, should always begin and end with people, however aggregated/represented.

This means that stakeholder should always come first and not the problems, as those are always defined in close relationship with the necessities/priorities and values of the former ones.

In evidenza

Are startups a way to avoid taking risks for large corporates?

piccolo e grande 1

We all know right now. Entrepreneurship is a mission where the only real mitigating effect is applying a consistent strategy.

But let’s consider the whole thing from another perspective.

The drawbacks of working at any startup projects, are mainly related to short term risks. It’s clear, everybody says, an entrepreneur’s job is to innovate and disrupt. The startupper is there to explore, to fail if necessary, whereas large corporate fear risk: they are there, ready to jump on the bandwagon if things are going to work.

Large corporates have a huge infrastructure, and an extreme complicated organizational profile.

They protect an history and the reputation of their brand (and therefore their value), where these categories represent nothing special for startups, because they are just focused on future,

They have too much to lose and their response time is long. Moreover, we may say that they can play a much more important role in assisting the second and third phase of development of a successful company. Once something has been proven out in fact they can acquire one of these companies offering investments, creating a new powerful business unit into their structure, providing know how, huge chances of economies of scale and scope and so on.

But at the other side large companies are constantly taking less risk, keeping cash on hands. That quantity of cash is unparalleled in history. As well as the incredible number of startups created in recent years. Are the two things connected?

Somehow, it seems so.  Uncertainty, the feeling we are about to see the next big thing on market/technology (but nobody knows what exactly it might be), the load of taxes and financial regulations, may be all good justifications. But still, that strange impression is there.

It looks like some of these large companies behave as senior citizens, that need to safely invest their savings, progressively losing touch with adopting some aggressive strategy. That means, slowing rhythms believing less in growth and more in status quo, and mitigating risks. At the other side, somebody say they just keep cash to be ready to fight with competitors in order to grab on the market the best startups, behaving towards them as football teams do when they bid for some new promising players.

So, from one side, startups became for someone more a more a way to avoid risks, to transfer that load to somebody else and at the same time, sometimes an inappropriate way of outsourcing their R & D and other processes.  From the other side, the risk is overestimating startups value (already extremely difficult to evaluate) and over-allocating financial resources in order to acquire them.

Could this lead to a system cahacterised by too many financial distortions and inequalities?

In other words, large companies should take their risks too, if not directly on business at least in investing much more on global training, cultural development and welfare of young generations and in business infrastructures.  In the end taking some risk is a mission for them too. Entrepreneurship without risks has no reason to exist.

Sharing risks between small and large companies and between generations is extremely important for a real sustainable growth.

piccolo e grande 2

Moreover, risk need definitely to be shared, not entirely delegated.

For instance entrepreneurial risk cannot be all left in the hands of new generations of entrepreneurs, having, by the way, more and more difficulties in getting/paying for the right education and for their student debts.

 

In evidenza

Mismanagement

virus

Mismanagement is a virus affecting all kind of organizations, in every state of their growth. Mismanagement is a real plague of entrepreneurship,

Mismanagement can be seen as a degeneration of leadership, when leaders stop producing added value for their firms and literally feed on their own organizations, sometimes causing its death.

Why is that?  There isn’t probably a specific reason, but a combination of many causes.

Bringing competition inside the organization instead that concentrating outside is one of them; excess of self-confidence is another: just because once you were  successful, that doesn’t make you all of a sudden a world’s expert on everything. (Know one’s limit is the key for success: as a manager and leader you should know that is exactly there, reaching the limits of your abilities, where you should find partners and teammates ready to help you integrating your skills)

Mismanagement is often connected with the trend of over-simplifying problems; not considering possible alternatives and assuming that compromise in necessarily negative.

As a matter of fact, a good manager, a leader, is one able to recognize a mistake, and transform it into an opportunity of improvement: sometimes instead is easier to blame someone else for your problems, bring into play “external factors” for misfortune (Yes, Napoleon used to ask, before promoting someone at his service “I know he’s a good general, but is he lucky?”, but I think that a manager should mainly be architects of their company’s fortune).  This is very often associated with ambiguous internal communication/talking company’s jargon: then communication within the company is meant only for initiated members, excluding the rest of the world.

Finding/inventing an (imaginary) enemy” is a common strategy adopted when motivation or enthusiasm is on the wane, but this is good only if we are discussing about healthy competition. Healthy competition provides motivation but this is not the case if a leader is constantly managing the firm against something or someone looking for destruction rather than construction.

Somehow this is about self-deception; mismanagement uses information asymmetry inside the organization to focus the attention of middle management and human resources towards fake targets; it’s always easier to deceive ourselves than someone else.

But the “find an enemy” syndrome attacks the organization too: mismanagement brings into the organization the culture of suspicion, an overall and contagious lack of confidence in each other’s skills, and this is sometimes able to jeopardise company’s ability to take decisions; Due to this general feeling of mistrust is easier:

  • Taking too quick decision, trusting only your own faction opinion;
  • Deciding not to decide, when in doubt that a certain decision might be favourable to “internal enemies” (the other faction);
  • Looping the decision process

When an organization breaks up into factions, you are missing the big picture: instead always act (professionaly) local but feel global: give the best highly specialized contribute to your company, but never miss the big picture. Just because you’ve got done properly your piece of the puzzle it doesn’t mean your job is over. Final success depends also on how conscious and respectful you are of the colleague who’s in charge of putting the last piece.

Let’s put this way: “Don’t ask what your company can do for you, ask what you can do for your company”!!!

Mismanagement has sometimes huge consequences:

  1. Improper use of resources;
  2. Bad (or even impossible) strategic planning;
  3. improper use of datas;
  4. Loss of company’s identity .

Here a test to perform in order to avoid mismanagement practice and discover its early symptoms:

  1. Is internal training efficient? There are enough investments on this process? And in measuring effectiveness of delivered training?
  2. Management invest and improves internal communication? How long it takes for bottom-up communication? Hoe many “filters” there are? (f.i. is possible that a message/suggestion form the base reaches the attention of CEO?)
  3. Is company investing in R& D as it happened before? What happens next to projects? Is the time to market of relevant ones in line with the past?
  4. Is management conducting routine company’s organizational climate surveys?
  5. Is company measuring (when possible in many active and alternative ways) customer satisfaction and listening to the “voice of the customer”?
  6. How you will define overall company’s transparency?
  7. Is turnover trend under control in your company?
  8. From time to time, is company performing surveys on suppliers/evaluating possible new ones?
  9. Concerning communication and decisional processes: is possible to define and to keep under control an overall “crossing time”, expressed as time needed for an information to be delivered crossing all company’s organizational and decisional levels or for an authorization to be given to someone into the company? Is this time proportional to the importance of a certain decision?
  10. Is your organization feeling comfortable with the concept of recognizing a mistake? F.i. is taking care of internal and external claims? There is space for submitting complaints or simple suggestions? Is internal communication using only words like “success”/“challenge”/ or also words like the concepts of “issue”; “difficulties”, “experience”; “challenge”? Sometimes apologize is an act of courage and true leadership.

Is every entrepreneur a storyteller?

CANTASTORIE

Is startupping a mission or a call?

For some aspect, is probably both.

Whatever are your company’s values and vision/mission and your point of view about entrepreneurship there’s  little doubt about the fact that being an entrepreneur has some relevant impact on society and not just within the business world and that an entrepreneur can create many different startups keeping for all his carrier distinguishing characteristics related to his personality, approach, personal values and so on.

So probably, being an entrepreneur is a call that may be characterised from time to time by different, sometimes highly connected missions.

In my personal experience, there is something that connects all startuppers I’ve ever met.

Is not necessarily the attitude to take a risk, because not all entrepreneurs know how to handle risk or have a clear perception of it; but is not necessarily dynamism, or the leadership, because sometimes entrepreneurs do not display excellent qualities in this field.

The quality that connects them all is the ability to tell a story. They are entrepreneurs because they are willing to tell something about their experience and concerning their vision of the future. They love to tell stories because when you tell a story to somebody else, suddenly your relationship with the audience changes forever and so does your mutual understanding of the world. That experience is not anymore just yours, ma is immediately belonging to a whole community.

Teling is sharing.They know how to tell stories because they are trained by the endless meeting they have to face with stakeholders, clients, investors.

And most of the times, they tell a story into another story: their personal story, in facts, is most of the times the necessary prologue for effectively telling their company’s story.

So if telling a story is the unifying quality, in how many ways it can help you developing a startup?

STORYTELLING

HELPS BECAUSE
YOU AS ENTREPRENEUR IT ESTABLISHES PERSONAL CREDIBILITY
YOU AS ENTREPRENEUR IT MAKES CLEAR BOTH YOUR CALL AND YOUR MISSION AS ENTREPRENEUR
YOU AS ENTREPRENEUR OFTEN A STORY REPRESENTS THE SOURCE OF THE FOUNDER’S CALL/PASSION
YOU AS ENTREPRENEUR IT TELLS TO EVERYBODY NOT JUST WHY YOUR COMPANY IS SPECIAL BUT WHY YOU ARE UNIQUE.
EXPLAINING YOUR COMPANY’S MISSION IT MAKES CLEAR ITS UNIQUENESS
DESCRIBING YOUR COMPANY’S ROOTS IT MAKES POSSIBLE FOR AUDIENCE UNDESTANDING NON JUST YOUR ORGANIZATIONAL CHART (F.I. ROLES AND RESPONSIBILITIES) BUT THE WAY YOU ARE, THE PLACE WHERE YOU WORK, THE ATMOSPHERE ETC
FULLY DESCRIBING YOUR BRANDING POLICY EVERY BRAND NEEDS/HAS A STORY BEHING, SOMETIMES A GREAT STORY TO TELL
DESCRIBING YOUR BUSINESS PLAN IN A FEW WORDS BECAUSE BY DEFINITION EVERY STORY, NO MATTER HOW SHORT, IF IT’S A GREAT STORY HAS A BEGINNING, A MIDDLE AND AN END …EXACTLY LIKE YOU BP!
CREATING COMPETITIVE ADVANTAGE IN PITCHING, IT MAY HAS THE SAME VALUE THAT A SIGNATURE SONG HAS FOR A SINGER.  EVERYBODY, RECEINVING THE PROPER TRAINING CAN TALK ABOUT ECONOMICS AND/OR TECHNICAL DETAILS…BUT NOBODY CAN TELLA YOUR STORY THE WAY YOU DO IT. IF IT HAPPENS…THE SONG NEVER SOUNDS THE SAME!
INVESTORS DECIDING A STORY IS NOT JUST DESCRIBING YOUR IDEA (LIKE EVERY GOOD BP ALREADY DOES QUITE EFFICIENTLY) BUT WHY YOU FIRST CHOSE FOR IT. BECAUSE YOU ARE, AS ENTREPRENEUR, THE VERY FIRST CUSTOMER OF YOUR OWN COMPANY!!
COMMUNICATION TELLING A STORY IS THE MOST VALUED AND LONG TERM (AND DIFFICULT!)  WAY OF COMMUNICATING WITH COMPANY’S STAKEHOLDERS
GIVING CUSTOMERS SOMETHING NICE TO PLAY WITH
IF THE STORY IS GOOD THEY WILL SPREAD IT ALL AROUND, MAKING YOUR COMPANY POPULAR FAR BEYOND YOUR WILDEST DREAMS. ABOUT THIS SPECIFIC POINT, REMEMBER THAT, WHETHER YOU WANT OR NOT, THAT WILL HAPPEN ANYWAY. WE ALL CREATE CONTINUOSLY STORIES AND RITUALS ABOUT EVERY ASPECT OF OUR DAILY LIVES. SO  CUSTOMER NEED TO CREATE A STORY AROUND YOUR COMPANY, AND THAT CAN EITHER POSITIVE OR NEGATIVE, BUT DEFINTELY NOT UNDER YOUR CONTROL, SO WHY NOT  TO USE IT TO YOUR OWN ADVANTAGE?

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, 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