By k | February 29, 2008 - 6:00 am - Posted in New Business Development

The story of Anne Boleyn and King Henry VIII
has been told numerous times.

So why was The Other Boleyn Girl
a run away bestseller?
Because telling it from the perspective
of her sister Mary
made it fresh and new.

In contrast,
The Other Boleyn Girl, the movie,
is about Anne.
Mary is pushed back into
a secondary character role.
The story is no longer unique.
It is a me-too.

Classic product development,
a twist on a tried and true product
and then
a classic brand extension mistake,
forgetting what the brand stands for.

By k | February 28, 2008 - 6:00 am - Posted in Corporate Games

I watched a documentary on The Battle Of Stalingrad
a few days ago. 

This turning point of World War Two
is a clear example of the power of focus
(and also of staying nimble,
the old way of fighting losing out
to the new street fighting style). 

Wanting to conquer both Stalingrad and the Caucasus,
Hitler split his highly trained Sixth Army into two. 
The troops were spread too thin over enemy terrain,
resulting in disaster. 

Are your troops spread too thin? 
Are you trying to launch too many products at once? 
If so, stop, regroup and live to launch another day.     

By k | February 27, 2008 - 6:00 am - Posted in Sales

Sampling is not just for new customers. 
Companies use it effectively
to upsell current customers. 

For example: 
Schick included two “free” Xtreme3 razors
in a 10 pack of their value priced SlimTwin.
  The Xtreme3 is one price point up
but it is enough of a difference in quality
that users will feel the difference.  

Schick also packaged the two “free” razors
in the bottom of the bag. 
That way, that quality will be the last experience
the purchaser will have before buying a new set. 

How can you upsell your current customers? 

By k | February 26, 2008 - 6:00 am - Posted in Corporate Games

A study of interviewers and interviewees
by Development Dimensions International Inc.
and Monster.com
reveals the secret to a great interview…
mutual respect. 

The number one complaint (77%) from hiring managers
was about job candidates being late for interviews,
being poorly dressed or unkempt. 
The number one complaint (68%) from candidates
was about hiring managers acting like
they had no time to meet with them. 

Two contract gigs ago,
I cooled my heels in a hallway for an hour. 
When the CEO finally saw me,
I didn’t receive a hint of an apology. 
Did I end up working there? 
After an initial refusal, yes,
but at more than my usual fees. 

There is a cost to lack of respect.

By k | February 25, 2008 - 6:00 am - Posted in Corporate Games

When doing competitive analysis,
a business analyst’s best friend
is the public reporting requirements.

Private companies don’t have to report details
such as store openings or revenue growth to the public.
Subsidiaries of public companies
can also hide under the mother company’s umbrella.
Public companies, however, are required
to expose much of their normally proprietary information
to anyone with access to the financial reports.
In the internet age,
that means everyone,
including the competition.

Paul House,
outgoing CEO of doughnut company Tim Hortons,
talks about the challenges
with no longer being a subsidiary of a larger company
(Wendy’s).

“There’s more disclosure,
your competition knows more about you and
that’s certainly a disadvantage.”

By k | February 24, 2008 - 6:00 am - Posted in New Business Development

Everyone is NOT cut out to be an entrepreneur.

Ryan P. Allis,
entrepreneur and author of Zero To One Million
puts it bluntly
“Would you work 70-hour-plus weeks
for months on end,
sleep at the office when you get backed up,
and put your own money on the line
when payroll is dues
and the bank has yet to approve a loan?”

If the answer is yes,
you just might have what it takes
to be successful entrepreneur.

By k | February 23, 2008 - 6:00 am - Posted in New Business Development

An editor once told me that
no matter how big a piece of sh**
I thought whatever manuscript
I was working on was,
to finish it. 

Why? 
Because there are lessons in finishing
that quitting early doesn’t teach. 

Now, I don’t finish every project. 
Many die an early death
for a number of reasons
from lack of a marketable idea
to lack of funding, etc. 
But I do finish more tasks than I don’t. 

We only truly get credit
for the products we launch,
not the ideas in our heads.

By k | February 22, 2008 - 6:00 am - Posted in New Business Development

Business evaluator Jeremy Webster
while discussing the Yahoo!/Microsoft proposition,
reviewed points to be considered when pricing a business. 

They are; 
Expected Future Cash Flow,
Comparable Deals,
Comparable Stock Market Prices,
and
Intrinsics Unique To That Company Or Situation. 

Expected future cash flow is the toughest. 
Assumptions have to be made on
big inputs such as growth rates, 
realized efficiency ratios, and synergies.
These assumptions come easier with experience.

So the closer to your existing business a buy is,
the higher your chances of evaluating it properly. 

By k | February 21, 2008 - 6:00 am - Posted in New Business Development

Duct Tape Marketing has a brilliant post
on synergies.

Properly utilizing synergies is a key to success. 
If you have to do something,
make that something stretch
as far as possible. 

Some people ask me
why I have a travel blog
The reason is synergy. 
I found myself retyping travel advice
again and again. 
I was also emailing my travel photos to buddies.  
It made sense to put both online in a blog.  
Saves me time,
expands my circle of influence, and
the advertising pays for the domain name. 

Look at what you’re currently doing. 
Can you stretch it painlessly into more?

By k | February 20, 2008 - 6:00 am - Posted in New Business Development

The “official” call in the High Def format wars
has been made. 
Blu-ray is the winner

The turning point, I believe,
was the alliance with Disney
(alliances can make or break a product launch). 
It is very challenging to justify this “family” purchase
without access to family films. 

Me? 
I bet on HD DVD. 
A reminder that if I make enough decisions,
some will be wrong. 
Yes, if you make a stand,
sometimes you’re left standing
on the wrong side of the fence.