Cheating a bit with the post date on this article, as I read this book quite a while ago now, so want to put it in context. Actually, the book’s very good, so there are a couple of us who have had a look.
Only time for the binary review at this stage:
What we thought
“Ready Fire Aim”
by Michael Masterton
Read it quick!
|Full Disclosure – yes, that’s a tracked link to Amazon shown above.
We buy quite a large number of books on a wide range of topics, all relevant to our business in some way. If you did happen to purchase the book from Amazon, they’d throw a few shekels our way, which would help us to buy (and hence publish reviews of) even more books. Hence, Karma would return the benefits to you…
This is an excellent book, in how it summarises the challenges that most business owners face (at least in the author’s personal experience) at various stages in their journey. A core part of the value is that it points out where the entrepreneurial owner should be focusing their attention, each step of the way.
Certainly aligned with our experience (though the numbers are a little different).
This book contains loads of great content, which has been all logically arranged around what the book calls the “4 stages of Business Development”.
I’ve listed these below, but would strongly suggest you read the whole book in order that you can understand the framework, and benefit from the detail tactics suggested for use in all 4 stages.
Stage 1 = Infancy
During this stage, you (as an owner) take your business from an idea to actively running and generating a reasonable cash flow.
Main Problem = you don’t really know what you are doing
Main Challenge = making the first profitable sale
Main Opportunity = obtaining a critical mass of customers
During this idea, the core focus of the founder must be:
1) Getting things done (whatever it takes)
At the end of this stage, you might have saturated the market with your initial product idea.
You may (or may not) be profitable, and your revenues might be something like $1 million.
Stage 2 = Childhood
During this stage, your business should go through a rapid growth spurt, as you conceptualise and implement other product ideas, using the cash flow generated by the initial product as leverage.
Main Problem = you may be break even, or making a loss
Main Challenge = creating additional valuable products quickly, to generate profits
Main Opportunity = increasing cash flow and becoming profitable
During this idea, the core focus of the founder must be in generating (and testing) new product ideas.
At the end of this stage, your team will have grown to the stage where you have new staff working with you who are 2 steps removed from the initial ideas from which the company was founded (in other words, they have no memory of why things are done the way they are).
In the book, it is predicted your revenues will have rapidly grown to something like $10 million (and perhaps 10% profit margin).
Stage 3 = Adolescence
During this stage, you find that you (shudder as you) need to implement systems and processes in order that you can cope with the added complexities your business has presented itself with.
The book notes that this is difficult for most entrepreneurs, who probably started their own business as they were sick of “rules and regulations” in the first place.
Main Problem = your systems are strained, and customers are noticing
Main Challenge = turning the chaos into order
Main Opportunity = learning how to establish useful protocols and manage processes and procedures
During this idea, the core focus of the founder must be on getting the business to run with just 3 or 4 simple management reports.
At the end of this period, the author notes that revenues might be approaching $50 million (again, with a 10% profit margin).
Stage 4 = Maturity
During this stage, it may be that the systems that were put in place during the preceding are strangling the creativity of the business (e,g, you see an opportunity, and your Risk Manager says no)
Main Problem = sales slow down and may even stall
Main Challenge = becoming entrepreneurial again
Main Opportunity = getting the business to run itself
During this idea, the core focus of the founder must be working our where he/she fits.
Might come later, when I have the time (but probably not).
You’re welcome to check back, though!