Archive for the ‘Start a business in Switzerland’ category

What’s your Start-up WHY?

September 10th, 2018

You “why” is key to success

When you start a company, you need to know the answer to your WHY

The following is an excerpt from my preface of a book (in progress) about starting a company in Switzerland:

Starting a company in Switzerland:  8 suggestions and a Question

Congratulations for looking into becoming an entrepreneur in Switzerland!  Switzerland is one of the best countries for the start-up scene, and depending on your business idea and your experience, this might just be the place for you to begin your dream of having your won company.  I have some suggestions that are general about beginning a start-up below.

SUGGESTIONS:

  1. Begin only if you are passionate about your idea

You have to be more passionate about your idea than about earning money with it, otherwise you will not last the first few years of little or no growth.  A client of mine is waiting for his website to go on-line so he can start and it’s already been several months of waiting for him since he had his first idea. But he is passionate about his idea(s) and he will go the distance if he continues in the way he ha begun.

  1. Check your idea for viability, for feasibility, for financial growth and tweak accordingly

Market research, is what I am talking about.  Is there a market for this idea/product?  Will it generate enough income at a price that is reasonable for the target niche? Is the niche big enough to support your product idea in the long term, or is this a fad, which you will have to tweak or even give up in a year or two.  Remember it may take up to two years to generate “real” money.  Also, is your target just Switzerland, or is that just a launching pad for going international?

Finally, do you plan to do this full-time?  If so, how will you live until you start earning money.  In other words, what is your budget and financial plan?

  1. Let others help you, and take their advice very seriously; but leave naysayers out of the picture, at least until you have earned your first million-

You will have lots of people trying to tell you what to do and eventually some will give you wise advice. Ask for advice, but from those who are doing something like this- either on a small, or on a big scale.  Ask for mentors from people who, as Brené Brown says, are “in that arena” too.

Also, if you have little experience in the business world, there are very reasonable courses offered by the government, if you speak the language (mostly in German.

  1. Get a business (start-up) coach

In most cases, you will need an independent, non-involved party that will ask you good questions (and that is what coaches do, ask questions so you can reflect on your choices and decisions). Trust me on this.  You will need someone like this.  It doesn’t have to be me, and my time is limited, but a good start-up coach is worth your money.

  1. Build in time for recreation every day and every week and every quarter, because burnout is easy to catch-

Burnout may even be the reason for you starting your own enterprise.  The temptation is to focus so much on your idea that you don’t think about yourself, your key relationships and then you start to suffer. Build in time for self-care, for a healthy physical and relational life and your start-up will last past the beginning stages.  Switzerland is THE place for outdoor recreation activities of all kinds.  It is lovely for hiking, for biking, for snowshoeing, for Nordic and Alpine skiing, for swimming, and the list goes on and on.  Take advantage of these opportunities.  It will be god for you, body and soul.

  1. Don’t give up; in fact, have a plan for if you feel like giving up-

Ask yourself, when things get tough, what am I going to do.  Ask, when I am running out of money to grow, what will I do.  Ask when I am tired and don’t feel like I can go on, what am I going to do.  Get yourself a few cheerleaders to keep you going.  I can remember some key turning points in my life where I wanted to quit, but a few cheerleaders kept me going and I will be forever thankful to them for that.

Remember to remember.

And then, always remember those first days and your passion.  Remember the joy of starting and of that first sale.  Remember the advice you have received from good mentors.  Then take a (very short) break, tweak, and carry one! Don’t give up!

  1. When it is time, on-board a team, first an outsourced one, and when ready, a salaried team

It could be that your idea is a solo-preneur idea and then this does not apply to you, but still you are going to need people to call on for support and help, people you can also recommend to others when they need help:  a web-person, an accountant (or at least software), possibly a lawyer, and people who do things that help your business in many ways and are not in direct competition with you.  For example, a client who is an interior designer, may want someone specializing in furniture building or interior sewing to be on the team.

Eventually, if your company is meant to have employees, you will need to pick them well.  Depending on if you have a partner (in Switzerland, it seems like the magic number is four partners) or not depends on the company structure.  For example, it could be a pair, one partner is the CEO and the other the CFO.  I have seen this particular situation relatively often.  If you are alone, one of the first people to on-board should be a CFO-type person if you are not money-oriented.  Money is not everything, but for any business it is very important to watch all the numbers. Then there are the marketing and sales types who need to be added, the technology types (both for running and for growth-development, depending on the kind of idea you have), logistics/operations, and the business strategists.  In the beginning, your people may wear quite a few hats, but as your company grows, each person will, hopefully have fewer and be able to focus on their strengths.

Also, allow your team to help you grow your company

Leadership is key and so is delegation and respect.  You need to create a culture of positive growth and listening to main team’s ideas and suggestions.  Remember, if you want to grow you will need help.  Let your team do that for you!  Also, be their cheerleader – they will need one, too.

  1. Dream big. Think about the future of your company and your life-

Once you are on your way, you should continue to dream.  What are your three, five, ten-year plans?  What is next?  And after that?  This might be where a coach comes in, again, to help you broaden your horizons. Finally, here are a few more questions for you to chew on:

Is your idea reproducible? Franchise-able? What does the long term look like?  How are you going to scale?  When might it become too large?  How will you know when you want to change?

And:  Do you plan to sell your company?  If so, when?

Now, the BIG QUESTION:

Should you start a business, and should you start in Switzerland?

THE WHYS

So you are thinking of starting a business in Switzerland, and since you are reading this, I am assuming you are an expatriate or immigrant.  The Swiss have their own ways of getting information in German (mostly) and the other languages.  I will be focusing on the “foreigner” start-up, so much of the content of this book goes in that direction.  However, there are some parts that can apply to all start-ups, even those outside of Switzerland.

And it starts here:  the question why is very key.  Why do you want to start your own company and why do you want to start it in Switzerland? Perhaps you know this is a very start-up friendly country.  Perhaps you know that the standard of living is one of the best in the world.  Perhaps you like the climate and the Swiss Alps. Perhaps you have a partner or spouse working here.  The reasons could be very numerous and very personal.  But Switzerland is a very good place to start a business.

FYI

In August 2016, a total of 2,781 new companies were entered in the commercial register. This represents a growth of 6.8% compared to August the year before.

Enjoy your week!

Patricia Jehle www.jehle-coaching.com

patricia@jehle-coaching.com

A Gritty Can-do Attitude

September 3rd, 2018

Are you a quitter?  I bet you aren’t!  But negative assumptions and attitudes can creep into your working life quite easily because negativity is catchy!

When you’re in the flow, you feel like you can do anything

So, have you been thinking any of the following lately:

  • I’m too stressed. Stress is getting me down.
  • There is no way to move forward.
  • I can’t get any new clients, let alone keep the old ones.
  • My products are so-so.
  • I’m so behind (name the company) and so it’s not worth trying to catch up.
  • I can’t do this until I have more (funds, people, etc…)
  • It’s not going to get better until (the economy, my team, or (x) changes.

Of course, there is probably some truth in all of the above, but there are no solutions, when they are put this way.  Your can-do attitudeis lost and negativity sets in like a plague.

You need to change the way you think about these situations- move to a place of self-efficacy; there is always something you can do.  You need a way to feel that you are in control – set some boundaries against helplessness and pessimism.  You don’t want to be a quitter, you want to be one that will find a way!  You can and will find a way!  Research shows that if you believe you will succeed, you will – eventually.

Teams that think of positive ways to deal with problems succeed- the optimists win!

So, first find out what the negative assumption/attitude is (in psychology, you are looking for a cognitive distortion) – write it down. Then examine the evidence to see if it is false, partially true or really totally true (very unlikely, as it may be).  Give yourself the benefit of the doubt when doing this and do not judge yourself too harshly.

Then put the statement into “can-do” language:

  • I’m very stressed and this is hard, but there will be a way through it, when I find it.First, though, I will treat myself to (your favorite nice reward is inserted here) because I have done so well, so far.  Then my plan will be….
  • There seems no way forward, but I’m sure if I sleep on it and ask for help from (mentor or boss or…), there will be a way, somehow.
  • I haven’t been able to get any clients for a while, and some of the present clients show signs of leaving. What are the reasons for this, and how can I change my products or sales to better reach the market and keep people on board?
  • My product is not so-so, but just not as cool sounding as x,so I have to change my product so it is better and at the moment I have to communicate my awesome value proposition to my clients and to the public.
  • I’m behind the competition, so I need to catch up and even surpass them as soon as possible by…
  • Let’s look at how to get (funds, people, etc) by this date so we can go forward as soon as possible; in the meantime, let’s…
  • Even though it’s not an optimal situation, how can I go forward with what I have?

Creativity is a great way of overcoming pessimism

I’m sure you get the point. Work on your thoughts and assumptions, and change them to workable positive assumptions that move you one step forward- not fake a happy-clappy, but gritty can-do attitude.

What’s your next positive assumption – and with that the next smallest step forward?

Have a very successful week!

Patricia Jehle patricia@jehle-coaching.comwww.jehle-coaching.com

How is your plan going?

February 27th, 2018

Plan for Success to plan your business

One of the situations that must be well planned for is, perhaps surprisingly, success and what the next steps will be when that Big Deal comes through.  Scenarios must be worked through and plans made ready to put into action.  If the Offer of a Lifetime comes and you can’t promise to fulfill it because you aren’t ready, all your time and money may be for naught.

 

Plan A B or C – multiple options will be necessary for success

  1. Be prepared for big success

The lesson here is: be prepared to become a big success and make sure you know what you are able to do if the BIG CHANCE comes your way. Make sure you are prepared with a “what if” plan. But don’t have just one; make a few of those kinds of plans, because there will be surprises. Try and be prepared with – and for- various success scenarios.  Do you need access to more production space?  Do you need more people?  Do you need quick response to basic material orders?

  1. But you won’t be able to foresee everything, good or bad.

What is key is that no matter what, something you haven’t thought of will probably happen. Be prepared to change your strategy or your production or whatever in the middle of everything, because you will have to change, and maybe you will have to change fairly often. If you don’t change, you will not survive. Period.

Bob the cat

Here is a funny example:  right now, it’s unseasonably cold outside and our cat, Bob, has been bringing his prey to play with (and eventually eat).  After all, it’s cold outside, so he heads to his owner’s bedroom to do his dirty work.  Luckily, I am not considered his owner.  But my son, is at this very moment trying to find a way to get the trapped mouse out of his bedroom and into nature before everything becomes bloody.  This is a new, and hopefully temporary phenomenon, but until the weather warms up, it is most likely going to happen on a daily basis.  After all, we live in the countryside.  So, we need a plan for tomorrow.  Suggestions are welcome.

  1. Know that there will be losses: Loss happens, so plan for that, too

Even with all the precautions and learning, loss still happens.  I also have discovered that the rabbits can die an untimely death, even if all the health and safety suggestions are followed. Loss happens.

Although you might be very flexible and can tolerate making numerous changes in the midst of the business action, there will still be losses. There are the expected losses but then there are the unexpected ones, too.  In any business losses must expected and be paid for, somehow.

This goes especially for startups.  You need to plan your startup business so that the losses, especially in the first few years, are covered financially, if at all possible. Many people say that if you quit your job to start up a business, you should be able to cover six to twelve months of working before making any income.  The potential losses will also have to be included in this calculation.

In fact, with some ventures, it may take years to break even. Losses are part of start-ups, just as much as any other business. That’s why so many of us start up our business while still working at another job; or we have spouses (or other family) who can be our “angels”; or we have saved and our substantial personal savings is then invested in the business.

But in the end though, there will be no profits if you don’t market your product.  Sales are what saves the business.  Getting sales is the key to success.

  1. Marketing will forever remain “the issue” -, even if it‘s not “in your DNA”

In my own coaching business I have learned to sell the outcomes of my services.  This is necessary for my business.  Also, I am not afraid of asking people if they need some coaching.  The fear of getting a “no” and the fear of new things is something I have  had to overcome.

So, what do you need to overcome to reach success?  Where do you need to grow?  What do you need to prepare?  What plan do you need to make?

Have a great week! I wish you much success!

 

Patricia Jehle     patricia@jehle-coaching.com     www.jehle-coaching.com

 

Passion!

February 20th, 2018

Wow!  They started with a bang, those nineteen-year-olds, setting up their office in an empty “office space” that had no frills, none at all.  They begged and borrowed desks, chairs, a flip chart from family, and got started.  Boom!

When you’re in the flow, you feel like you can do anything

Yesterday they were in a flow, so much so that they stayed at their new office all night.  The five young men are starting their own business, and what they lack in experience they more than make up for in passion, energy, and creativity.

And I get to coach them, what an honor.  I am passionate because they are so passionate.

Bending over backwards to get things done can be difficult, but when you are passionate, it may work out great

They already have a few jobs, and contracts and they have hopes of making money next year.  I haven’t met with them as their startup coach yet, but it seems like they are on their way to success, and that is great!

Over to you

What about you?  What’s getting you excited about your life?  Your work?

You need a passionate why

Where’s your passion?  What do you always have energy for?

Or, where do you always get hung up?  What irritates you?  What can you do about it, or what can someone else do to help you with it?

A wise man once wrote that there is a time for everything– in Switzerland this is the time to go skiing, at least for some.  For these men, it’s time to start a business. This can also be a time for you to reflect on what’s happened so far in 2018, to reflect, refocus and redirect, and then move.  Maybe you’ve lost your passion.  Maybe you are stuck.  Or maybe you are doing a good thing, but not the right thing.

Time to reflect, refocus, redirect and move on your goals

The PROCESS-

Reflect:  What’s been accomplished, so far.  What still needs to be done?  What am I feeling about this?  What do I need to do to become more efficient?  The questions are myriad.  I love this stage.  I get to do this at my first meeting with this new company.

Refocus and Redirect:  If you are not going in the right direction, or if you are focusing too much on one thing to the detriment of the best thing, it’s time to redirect and refocus.  Make a plan to get your priorities in your activities.

Finally, move.  When you have a plan, whether it be for the week, month, quarter or year, you have to move on that plan.  Sometimes it is easy, because you are so passionate and have the energy of a nineteen-year-old.  But sometimes you are scared, or tired, or burnt out.  What then?

Weeeell, then maybe the reflection time needs a different lens, maybe a different viewpoint would be needed.  Maybe help would be in order.  But for today, I want to stick with the passion and the energy that I gain vicariously from those young men.  It’s catchy!

Have a week full of passion and energy!

Patricia Jehle   patricia@jehle-coaching.com             www.jehle-coaching.com

 

 

Work-life, a balance?

May 2nd, 2017
How can I maintain a healthy work-life balance? How do I fit family in when I run a business?

Are you working from home a lot?

Do Two things

Maybe it’s not all about balance, but more about priorities.   The famous happiness study says we need to do two things: manage stress and have good relationships.

 

What are your values?

Therefore, when we look at the work-life balance question, it is important for us to remember that first contemplating our personal and professional values can help us by setting us up for success. This first step will help us to decide on what is important, and then it will help us to set reachable goals on how to spend our time. This reflection process will make it easier to set and keep time boundaries in our ministry. First let’s look at our values.

 

Some questions

Here are some questions to consider. Where’s your passion? What’s most important for you and what’s second most important? Then, what are your personal and professional development priorities? Finally, how are all these priorities shown in how you spend your daily time, your weekly time, and your monthly time? Before you can really answer these questions, though, your values need to be clearly defined.
 
Family as a help and not a problem

I personally believe that prioritizing your family and home life is vital for your personal well-being. Your family members, at least the ones you live with, are the people you are hopefully the most genuine with, so they see your human cracks and faults, and yet they still love and support you and your work. Also, if you put family and home-life first, your family members will sense this and they will support you even more. And, you will become a strong working unit, a tool for reaching all your goals. Your family then can aid your work rather than being seen as energy taking and taking time away from it. Also, this putting your primary relationships first is one of the “happiness study rules”.   Just saying.

 

Talk about it

Say what you want and need. Also, when we are thinking about our work and life priorities you should speak out your expectations and welcome talks about expectations from family members and working colleagues. When it comes to juggling values and goals, real life is not that easy. There are many expectations that need to be brought out into the open and to be discussed in a healthy manner. It is often where hidden expectations are found that stress and relationships, both personal and professional, abound.

 

Some more questions

What are your expectations regarding your work and your family? What are your work’s expectations? What are your spouse’s and your children’s expectations? All of these, spoken and unspoken expectations, need to be addressed. You need to sit down with all of your people and take time to explore their and your expectations. It is often true that we don’t even know our expectations until they are fully explored. This could take some time to get through and will more likely have to be repeated on a regular basis, say at least two or three times a year, and then of course before any major changes.

 

Boundaries!

Set your boundaries. Then let me ask you, where are your work and home boundaries? Do you work from home, either full-time, or, like many entrepreneurs I know, part of the time? Then, you will need to set some boundaries for yourself and for your family if you are to succeed. These boundaries would at least include the working rules, the space, the hours, and the exceptions.

 

Suggestions

·       Here are some ideas: use your agenda (calendar). That means first you have to schedule unscheduled time. You need to have space in your agenda for blocks of time with God and for reflective space.

Set boundaries when you need to that fit all parties involved

·       Second, you need to schedule time with your family and most important relationships, of course. You need to take your agenda and schedule real time with your family, preferably daily, but at least weekly, and a few longer blocks monthly. You also need to know when important things are happening with your family and schedule to be there. For example, an important doctor’s appointment, a concert or recital, a ceremony, a visitor’s day at school. The list goes on and on.

 

I, for example, took the three-day weekend off, as yesterday was Labor Day (in Switzerland). But what about the unexpected? We need to expect and even prepare for interruptions. We need to be able to say no and yes at the right times by keeping in mind our priorities. When we expect and prepare for interruptions in our schedule, we can act accordingly. It will help us to act and not react because we have already thought of the possibility of being interrupted. This preparation will also keep us calmer and more in control of our daily schedule.

 

I hope this blog has helped you to consider the why your family in whatever form it takes needs to be a priority, and then find some solutions as to how to make time for them. Don’t give up. Keep trying new solutions and you will find what works best for you and your family with your work’s situation.

 

Have a great week!

Patricia Jehle

patricia@jehle-coaching.com

www.jehle-coaching.com

 

 

Passion and you next smallest step

March 13th, 2017

Passion is a Business’ Perseverance’s Power

 

“Don’t ever Give up!”

 

Services Jehle Coaching Offers

Recently I met up with an entrepreneur friend who has had her ups and downs since starting her business in Switzerland a few years ago; but she continues to follow her dream. “Don’t ever give up, just keep pushing towards your goal. There will be a break through; you will see the signs and then you just head towards those little lights.” She is right about following her dream, and her passion is the energy that gives her the perseverance needed to reach her goals.

 

When I think of start-ups and all the people who have managed to bring their ideas to fruition, I think of people who are passionate about their product, passionate about their clients and customers who will enjoy that product, and about their passion regarding their stakeholders who will also benefit from the product. These entrepreneurs are really on fire about what they are doing; they really have a dream. Here are some of my ideas about passion and how to use it for your advantage when starting a business.

 

You must be passionate about your idea to succeed

 

When writing your business plan, ask yourself if your idea really speaks to you as someone who might be a potential investor or stakeholder. How excited are you about it, because if you are not energized, how are you going to get potential investors and stakeholders on board? How is this product special and why are you the one that is the best person to do it? Finally, can you tell others about your product in a way that is clear and really gets that person excited, too? Can you create a buzz about it?

 

When the hard times come your passion will be your battery and recharge you and your anchor to keep you on track

 

Even with a passionate “elevator pitch”, there will often be days where the “no”s come. The passion that you have about your product and how (and why) it is fantastic is your energy supply when you have hard days. You must take it for granted that there will be hard days, but what keeps you, the start-up entrepreneur, going will be the energy found in the passion for your business idea, for your product. You should use that energy for the hard days so that you can reach the day when the ball gets rolling and the profits start coming in. Then there will be reserve energy and you can use that extra energy for a new idea to move you upward and onward without too much waste as you will be already moving instead of starting from zero. There will be less resistance o movement, then.

 

Your passion might be what separates you from the “losers”

 

In some cases, there may be others doing the same thing as you do. But your passion about your product might be the key to setting you apart from all the others. If you shine when it comes to passion and produce a great quality product, you will stand out, even if there are a hundred – or a thousand – doing just the same thing as you. You will find that people notice how you talk about what you do, and they will be happy to try your product.

 

Your business idea doesn’t have to be very original to be passionate about it. I have a niece living in Oregon who owns her own bookkeeping company. She works hard and is very passionate about what she does, and she is proud of her quality services to her clients. Because of this passion, and because she is very competent, she is excelling and business is booming. Passion is vital for a start-up.

 

So, what wakes you up in the morning and gets you out of bed? Use that energy to move onward and upward.

 

The SMALLEST Next Step to reach your goal is what to do TODAY

 

Today take the first smallest next step towards your goal. Thus I ask you, “What’s the next smallest step you can take? Is it the very smallest one?” Well, then take it and figure out the next smallest step and take that, too. And so on. Pretty soon you will be 1,000 steps farther than where you are today, but it starts with an action: a very small step. As my friend said, “Never give up” and I add just keep on taking those little steps!

 

Have a great week!

 

Patricia Jehle

 

ps: For those of you interested in what I do, I am a business coach focusing on SMEs and start-ups, but also on expat coaching. I have added OQM® (Organic Quality Management) Consulting to my pallet and would love to talk to you about how OQM® can help you move onward and upward with your team, division and company.

 

patricia@jehle-coaching.com

www.jehle-coaching.com

 

blog: www.jehle-coachingexpat.com

When working at home, set up boundaries

March 6th, 2017

Here are some ideas about setting up healthy boundaries for working at home

 

Do you work from home- either full-time, or like many of the people I know, part of the time? Then you need to set some boundaries for yourself and for your family/roommates if you are to succeed. They include the working “rules”, the space, the hours and the exceptions.

 

First, you need to set up working rules that everyone agrees to.

This can be difficult, if you have smaller children at home, or if your partner is home most of the time, too. You will have to be strict, especially at the beginning. You may have to work when most people are out of the house, or find a way to signal “Do NOT disturb” to the others. You will have to choose the what and the how. Mostly, you will have to make your rules follow-able for all. That also includes you! Watch out, or you will not get as much done as you need.

 

Second, you need to define your working space(s).

Where is your “work stuff”? Will it be a private office where you can shut the door, if necessary? I have a colleague who is in transition and he has a to the three room apartment, including the kitchen. When a client comes, his wife goes to the bedroom and waits. This is not ideal, but until they move, it is what has to be done. I have a winter garden that works as a coaching and conference room and my own office. For me this works. Also, I have a few places I can rent when it is necessary to be in or closer to Zürich. But mostly I like sitting on my sofa and working in a cushy comfortable environment. You get to choose.

Working hours are important to set, otherwise you can while away your time.

When I am not teaching I try to keep 9-5:30 as my work day with lunch and a dog walk break. I try and keep these hours with phone calls, with (work) emails, and such. This does not include my reading, which I usually do in the evening and at the weekend, neither does it include social media presence, which is done at breaks or “off-hours”. What it DOES include is writing and thinking and reflecting and all the normal work needed to be done. Today, for instance it includes writing this blog, sketching out a podcast, working on my new vision board, and many other things.

Make sure you have grace in your rules for exceptions.

There will be seasons, breaks, and ups and downs. You will get sick, have funerals to attend, and people who are not just “work” people to see. Allow for them as you plan your week. Otherwise you may miss out on what you REALLY need to be doing. I usually look at my next week on Friday and on Monday and CUT out things.

 

So, what does your working at home boundaries consist of?

Have a productive and fulfilling week!

 

Patricia Jehle

patricia@jehle-coaching.com

www.jehle-coaching.com

 

Ps- I invite you to my LinkedIn group, SMEs Grow Together, here: https://www.linkedin.com/groups/7041402

Shake it up! Robots, Business Ideas, and Relational Thinking

December 12th, 2016

Going places and Meeting People

The past week or so has seen some interesting developments in my activities. They have to do with Robots, Business Ideas at the FHNW and attending a talk and a book launch of “The Relational Lens” in Geneva.

 

Business ideas: gin and the Internet of Things

I was honored to have been invited to an event called “Business Ideas” at school last Thursday night- sponsored by Swiss Upstart, CTI Entrepreneurs and IFJ AG

 

We were invited to hear about CTI courses (http://www.cti-entrepreneurship.ch/en/ ) and the start-up contests the school supports, of course but also to hear two different stories of very different business ideas and the lessons they have learned on their way as entrepreneurs.

 

One company works as a service company with big data and other web support services. The other company distills and sells its own liquor. Having two such entrepreneurs in the room who had varied experiences and ideas was helpful for those of us in the room: FHNW students, business owners and leaders, and others.

 

BIG DATA

Alterlis is a service company dealing with The Internet of Things. The CEO suggested that start-ups focus on customers and sales and do not for get that, ever. He gave a very good list of what to do when starting up and in what order: idea (meaning and use), name, logo, motivation (of all involved), responsibilities, taxes and legal issues, ethics (for all- clarified), how to deal with numbers and cash (notary and bookkeeping)UT the same VISION). In a fifteen-minute presentation the basics were given clearly.

 

Gin and Vodka from Zürich

Better Taste distills and sells liquor and has done very well since starting up. The group of four started with an idea and worked on a (secret) gin recipe until it was just right. Then they began producing and selling their product, Turicum Gin. It helped that they had contacts into the Zürich night-club scene and that they knew the market as well as the product. All their marketing has been of the boot-strapping kind and yet they are doing quite well, having moved into black figures just after 9 months of production. One of their best marketing methods is sponsoring their own events with their products being available.

 

Personal Robots

Last Tuesday I and a few others spent the afternoon at a plant where personal robots are being designed, developed, and made for use (www.fp-robotics.com ).   That afternoon was a personal dream come true because I have always been a fan of science fiction and I felt like I was inside one of those books I have read.

 

Personal robots can be maids, cooks and butlers, but also medical providers and home health givers. They can be personal assistants of any kind. And they can learn. The recognize faces and voices, and can be run via an app. Wow. I am still digesting all of this. I have friends who could really use this kind of help– and I would like one, myself, one day.

 

The Relational Lens – Book Launch and Seminar

Soon I will be on the train to Geneva to a Relational Thinking Network event. This is what is written about today’s talk: “Launched in London on 24 October 2016, ‘The Relational Lens: Understanding, measuring and managing stakeholder relationships’ will be introduced by Dr. Michael Schluter, CBE, the founder of the Relational Thinking Network and one of the book’s co-authors. The Relational Lens explores the crucial role of relationships in social capital, risk management, value creation and competitive advantage. It describes the Relational Proximity framework® – an analytic tool which has been used in a variety of contexts to understand, measure, strengthen and repair relationships, positively influencing outcomes.” Of course, I expect I will buy that book.

 

And you?

What are you doing this week or month to shake up your life and to think outside of your box? Look around and you will find some thing(s), I am sure. Have a successful week!

 

Patricia Jehle

 

Should you want to visit my site: www.jehle-coaching.com –Or join my group on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/groups/7041402 write me at:

patricia@jehle-coaching.com

Check your idea

November 14th, 2016

 

Scaling Lean

amleancanvas

 

A week ago I had the opportunity to go hear Ash Mauyra (AM) speak on scaling businesses and trying out new business ideas. I have had a week to digest his talk and have read some of his new book, Scaling Lean, so I have some questions for you if you are working on new – or old – business ideas, especially with respect to marketing and getting those customers. Much of this blog is based on his talk and on the book. The quotes are from his book.

 

Who are your key customers and which of their problems do you plan to solve? Are those problems painful enough for them to want them solved? What are they already spending on that pain?

 

That pain is your gold mine, but you have to remember that for your potential customer to spend on your solution they have to give up something else, and the question is not whether your solution is better than that of the competitive solutions, but that the customer thinks it’s a better solution. Thus, you have to love (and live) that pain more than your solution. With that your solution can get tested on customer validation.

 

What is your MVP?

By that I don’t mean most valuable player, but the minimum viable product, in other words, what is your lowest amount of sales your company can live with in a period of time.

 

How are you creating your marketing experiments?

How can you shorten your feedback loop to find out where your customers are buying and most importantly, why? Are you looking at the correct numbers to keep those customers coming? Do not fixate on a fictitious/unrealistic business plan – remember that according to AM, “traditional measures of progress are unhelpful” because in start-ups:

 

  1. “Because revenue is near zero during the early stages, we settle for building velocity as a measure of progress. But measuring progress as execution of untested plan is no better.

 

  1. Investing heavily in quantitative metrics doesn’t automatically give you solutions. Metrics can only tell you what’s going wrong, not why. The more you invest in quantitative metrics, the more you end up drowning in a seat of non-actionable data.

 

  1. Even when you are generating revenue, unless you can connect cause and effect, you can’t leverage the elements that are bring you success, and you can easily be led down the wrong path.”

 

The AM Solution: GOLEAN: Goal, Observe and Orient, Learn-Leverage-Lift, Experiment, Analyze and , Next Actions

 

Think and act like a scientist- they do not run experiments, but create models (and check them with experiments). The key idea is that there needs to be one single measure of progress for all people involved, for the entrepreneurs and business leaders and the stakeholders, and that is GOLEAN.

 

The model has three parts: Defining progress (set your Goal), prioritizing waste (Observe and Orient) , and achieving breakthrough (Learn-Leverage-Lift, Experiment, Analyze, and Next steps) .

 

 

But remember, “No methodology can guarantee success. But a good methodology can provide a feedback loop for continual improvement and learning.”

 

Part of the solution is lies in trying to avoid our “innovator’s bias”, the bias that knows our idea is the best. Your potential customer and your investors may not believe that, and more importantly, they don’t necessarily care about your solution. They have a different perspective, which is usually for the customer found in their problem(s).

 

What your potential investors want to know is what the market opportunity is (how big is the market). They want to know how you will generate revenue and what your margins are. Finally, they will want to know how you will keep your competitive edge. Are you a blue ocean kind of idea? Do you have patent(s) pending? Is there a secret sauce that can’t be easily discovered?

 

So, what is your metric for indicating reliable (and not fake or vanity) measurement? How do you create, deliver and capture value? What is your unique value proposition (value creation)? What is your cost structure (value delivery)? And, what are your revenue streams (where you capture your value for the company)?

 

And the (AM) value creation formula looks like this:

 

Created Value > Captured Value > = Cost (Value Delivery)

 

In the end, the issue is generating revenues and as Ash Maurya says, “There is no business in your business model without revenue.” The idea is to maximize the difference between the value captured and the cost of delivering the value (your margins). But even not-for-profits have a need for revenue, although their model aims to keep the difference between those two (cost and value) as close to zero as possible.

 

Final questions

 

What is your product value? What does it cost you to deliver this value? How much do you receive for that delivery and does it reach your MVP goals?

 

Maybe I will blog next about traction and how you get customers, but for today, this is enough.

 

Have a very successful week!

 

8 start-up suggestions

October 17th, 2016

Starting a company: 8 suggestions and some Questions

  1. Begin only if you are passionate about your idea

You have to be more passionate about your idea than about earning money with it, otherwise you will not last the first few years of little or no growth. A client of mine is waiting for his website to go on-line so he can start and it’s already been six months of waiting for him. But he is passionate about his idea(s) and he will go the distance if he continues in the way he ha begun.

2. Check your idea for viability, for feasibility, for financial growth and tweak accordingly

Is there a market for this idea/product? Will it generate enough income at a price that is reasonable for the target niche? Is the niche big enough to support your product idea in the long term, or is this a fad, which you will have to tweak or even give up in a year or two. Remember it may take up to two years to generate “real” money.

ALSO:  Do you plan to do this full-time? If so, how will you live until you start earning money. In other words, what is your budget and financial plan?

  1. Let others help you, and take advice; but leave naysayers out of the picture, at least until you have earned your first million-

You will have lots of people trying to tell you what to do and eventually some will give you wise advice. Ask for advice, but from those who are doing something like this- either on a small, or on a big scale. Ask for mentors from people who, as Brené Brown says, are “in that arena” too.

  1. Get a coach

For most cases, you will need an independent, non-involved party that will ask you good questions (and that is what coaches do, ask questions so you can reflect on your choices and decisions).  You will need this kind of help; trust me.

  1. Build in time for recreation every day and every week and every quarter, because burnout is easy to catch-

Burnout may even be the reason for you starting your own enterprise. The temptation is to focus so much on your idea that you don’t think about yourself, your key relationships and then you start to suffer. Build in time for self-care, for a healthy physical and relational life and your start-up will last past the beginning stages.

  1. Don’t give up; in fact, have a plan for if you feel like giving up-

Ask yourself, when things get tough, what am I going to do. Ask, when I am running out of money to grow, what will I do. Ask when I am tired and don’t feel like I can go on, what am I going to do.

Remember:

And then remember those first days and the passion. Remember the joy of starting and of that first sale. Remember the advice you have received from good mentors. Then take a (short) break, tweak, and carry one! Don’t give up!

 

  1. When it is time, on-board a team, first an outsourced on, and when ready, a salaried team

It could be that your idea is a solo-preneur idea, but you are going to need people to call on for support and help, people you can also recommend to others when they need help: a web-person, an accountant (or at least software), possibly a lawyer, people who do things that help your business and are not in direct competition with you. For example, a client who is an interior designer, may want someone specializing in furniture building or interior sewing to be on the team.

Eventually, if your company is meant to have employees, you need to pick them well. Depending on if you have a partner or not, depends on the company structure. For example, one partner is the CEO and the other the CFO. I have seen this particular situation relatively often. If you are alone, one of the first people to on-board should be a CFO-type person. Money is not everything, but in a company, it is very important to watch all the numbers. Then there are the marketing and sales types, the technology types (both for running and for growth-development, depending on the kind of idea you have), logistics/operations, and strategy. In the beginning, people may wear quite a few hats, but as your company grows, the person will, hopefully have fewer and be able to focus on their strengths.

Allow your team to help you grow your company

Leadership is key and so is delegation and respect. You need to create a culture of positive growth and listening to you main team’s ideas and suggestions. Remember, if you want to grow you will need help. Let your team do that for you!

 

  1. Dream big. Think about the future of your company and your life-

Once you are on your way, you should continue to dream. What are your three, five, ten-year plans? What is next? And after that? This might be where a coach comes in, again, to help you broaden your horizons. Finally, here are a few more questions for you to chew on:

Is your idea reproducible? Franchise-able? What does the long term look like?

Do you plan to sell your company? If so, when?

–I wish you much success!

This is the preface to my upcoming book: “Swiss start-up: What do you need to know and do.” Look for it soon!

 — and should you want to visit my site: www.jehle-coaching.com –Or join my group on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/groups/7041402

Patricia Jehle

patricia@jehle-coaching.com

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