a business plan

SaaS Metrics 2.0 – A Guide to Measuring and Improving what Matters- Post By David Skok

Excellent post by David Skok at http://www.forentrepreneurs.com/on using a using analytics to manage a SaaS business. I posted comments also emphasizing need to use analytics to assess changing markets/external factors for #entrepreneurial ventures. Also strongly recommend the site – http://www.forentrepreneurs.com/- excellent resource for entrepreneurs

Below is a copy of my posted comments – you can review the original post at http://www.forentrepreneurs.com/saas-metrics-2/

Here is a copy of my posted comments..

David

Excellent article- thanks.

Several months ago I was invited to do a guest blog post and serve as an Advisor for Funding Profiles, a Santa Clara-based company offering a powerful suite of financial analytic tools that “integrates with existing business applications to continuously translate traditional financial metrics into the language of business strategy”. For companies with thousands of products, infrastructure, and processes spanning the globe, the ability to ‘drill down’, examine ‘what-ifs’, and assess how and if global LOBs meet KPIs and support the strategic plan, is a powerful planning tool. Your post reinforces this point.

But markets and technology are moving quickly, consumer power is increasing, and external global factors will impact all global businesses which creates risk and uncertainty. In fact, one study shows macro-environment, competitive and corporate positioning factors account for about 80 percent of ROA variation among LOBs. So optimizing the company’s internal resources, processes, and KPI’s really address only 20 percent of the planning challenge based on these findings. My post “How Analytics is “Raising the Bar” for Corporate Strategy: Understanding the External Environment” talks about how new analytic tools can provide a competitive edge, creating what Tom Davenport (Author- Competing on Analytics: The New Science of Winning) defines as “analytic competitors”.

Bottom line- while emphasis of the above is larger corporations, my view is entrepreneurs that also understand how to analyze markets, external opportunities and threats, and how to use analytics with Porter’s Five Forces Model, STEEP, and competitive benchmarking tools can achieve a competitive edge. Properly used, external market analytics provide a competitive edge for evaluating, strategy positioning, and managing entrepreneurial ventures. During the past six months, I have looked at ventures in areas of wearable healthcare monitoring devices, clinical analytics, analytics for fraud detection, legal analytics, and solar energy among others. To accurately gauge outlook and opportunity for these and others, venture evaluation must go well beyond the typical “size of market, expected market share” and ‘drill-down’ to understand external market threats and opportunities. We have a way to go yet in educating the entrepreneurial community but I believe today’s “hyper competitive” dynamic global markets will help accelerate the adoption of these new analytics capabilities.

Paul B. Silverman writes about entrepreneurship, healthcare, analytics, and strategy management and serves as Advisor, Speaker, Educator, and Managing Partner of the Gemini Business Group, LLC, a new venture development firm, and author of “8 Building Blocks To Launch, Manage, And Grow A Successful Business.” He also serves as Adjunct Professor in the School of Business at George Mason University. See more at Paul B. Silverman Blog and sign up for Entrepreneurship Today! email updates to track latest new venture developments.

 

 

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PR/Advertising Lessons for Entrepreneurs from P.T. Barnum

Here is wisdom from circus showman P.T. Barnum I have often shared with early stage #entrepreneurs to reinforce the last point- end game here is to create short and long term sales-  the rest is ‘showmanship’ and important not to confuse this point. Also note the need to emphasize benefits to build on adv/promotion and actually close the sale (i.e.,”explain how much fun they’ll have spending money at the booths, answer their questions…”). Good counsel and insights here for early stage entrepreneurs.

“ If the circus is coming to town and you paint a sign saying “Circus Coming to the Fairground Saturday,” that’s advertising. If you put the sign on the back of an elephant and walk it into town, that’s promotion. If the elephant walks thru the mayor’s flower bed, that’s publicity. And if you can get the mayor to laugh about it, that’s public relations. If the town’s citizens go to the circus, you show them the many entertainment booths, explain how much fun they’ll have spending money at the booths, answer their questions and ultimately they spend a lot at the circus, that’s sales.

                                                                                                                                                                                P.T.Barnum

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Healthcare Monitoring – Fast Company Market Perspectives

Healthcare Monitoring – Fast Company -“Why We Don’t Talk About “Wearable Software”

Revolution is coming in the wearable healthcare monitoring arena as we move from devices to software/ ecosystems and new predictive analytics are fully embraced. Excellent Fast Company Labs article by Tina Amirtha summarizing directions. I see significant opportunity here not covered in the article  – why pharmas will play a key role, role of wearables in telemonitoring/Telehealth, tracking medication compliance,adverse drug reactions. And wearable healthcare monitoring coupled with analytics is spawning many exciting entrepreneurial ventures

Check out the Fast Company article at http://tinyurl.com/klzncnl. My comments shown are shortened due to space – here is a complete copy:

Tina- great article. As former CEO of a public predictive analytics company pleased to share comments. First, analytics is indeed the “Holy Grail” but my view is the real opportunity drivers here are not individuals but pharmas who have the incentive to establish and grow ongoing patient relationships. Healthcare monitoring/analytics is ideal strategy to help pharmas achieve this objective. Last time I looked the 3 to 4 major pharma chains represent about $200 billion or 75 percent of the market and about 24,000 locations- independent pharmas account for the rest of the locations and market. Secondly, health monitoring devices can make a substantive contribution to Telehealth/ telemedicine – I have done work in this area and telemonitoring proponents have not fully embraced these technologies- in my view and they are missing a real opportunity. We are seeing new entrepreneurial ventures addressing this market- my experience is creating sustainable business models addressing hardware, software, analytics dimensions is a real challenge for some of the reasons you noted.

Finally, in a late 2012 blog post “Buy Health Monitoring Devices Off The Clothing Rack      http://tinyurl.com/nhyp9uy 
I suggested we may be buying health care monitors in Lands End, and discussed how this will impact traditional retailer strategies. Sales staff questions may move from “What size and color jacket would you like to see?” to “Can I show you our blood pressure-only monitoring jacket or our top of the line full featured model tracking glucose, oxygenation and includes a USB port?”And what about health care coverage. Expect to see some interesting issues emerge here- are you buying a jacket or a medical device; where do you draw the line? Clothing may also be an external driver to grow this market

Bottom line here- the real opportunity, which translates into hard dollar cost savings and improved healthcare quality, is using wearables and the software ecosystem to track medication compliance, adverse drug reactions, drug efficacies, and similar data. My vision is coupling wearable healthcare monitors with predictive analytics will dramatically reshape today’s healthcare system- refocusing the emphasis of today ‘ s wearable discussion and educating industry players on the possibilities here are the challenges and next steps needed to make this happen

Paul B. Silverman

 

Paul B. Silverman writes about entrepreneurship, healthcare, analytics, and strategy management and serves as Advisor, Speaker, Educator, and Managing Partner of the Gemini Business Group, LLC, a new venture development firm, and author of “8 Building Blocks To Launch, Manage, And Grow A Successful Business.” He also serves as Adjunct Professor in the School of Business at George Mason University. See more at Paul B. Silverman Blog and sign up for Entrepreneurship Today! email updates to track latest new venture developments.

 

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Annie Oakley Wisdom for Entrepreneurs…

Annie Oakley Wisdom for Entrepreneurs

Annie Oakley lived in the late 1800’s, was a sharpshooter and exhibition shooter, and had a starring role in Buffalo Bill’s Wild West show.

But Annie Oakley faced many obstacles- the fifth of seven children, mother widowed twice, poverty, raised in the county poor farm, and sent to an adoptive family for several years. Suffered more mental and physical abuse, often locked outside when snowing. After she returned to the county poor farm, reunited with her family and her mother had married a third time and had more children.

Annie Oakley succeeded despite a most challenging childhood. That is why her quotation is even more powerful when you understand her path to success and the many obstacles she had to overcome:

 “Aim at a high mark and you will hit it. No, not the first time, not the second time and maybe not the third. But keep on aiming and keep on shooting for only practice will make you perfect. Finally you’ll hit the bull’s-eye of success.”

 Good counsel here for entrepreneurs and worth sharing …

                                                                     Paul B. Silverman

Paul B. Silverman writes about entrepreneurship, healthcare, analytics, and strategy management and serves as Advisor, Speaker, Educator, and Managing Partner of the Gemini Business Group, LLC, a new venture development firm, and author of “8 Building Blocks To Launch, Manage, And Grow A Successful Business.” He also serves as Adjunct Professor in the School of Business at George Mason University. See more at Paul B. Silverman Blog and sign up for Entrepreneurship Today! email updates to track latest new venture developments.

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The 7 Biggest Founder Mistakes

Good counsel here for all entrepreneurs … Mistakes to avoid when starting new entrepreneurial ventures

http://www.inc.com/dana-severson/the-7-biggest-founder-mistakes-that-you-can-learn-from.html?cid=sf01001

Paul B. Silverman

Paul B. Silverman writes about entrepreneurship, healthcare, analytics, and strategy management and serves as Advisor, Speaker, Educator, and Managing Partner of the Gemini Business Group, LLC, a new venture development firm, and author of “8 Building Blocks To Launch, Manage, And Grow A Successful Business.” He also serves as Adjunct Professor in the School of Business at George Mason University. See more at Paul B. Silverman Blog and sign up for Entrepreneurship Today! email updates to track latest new venture developments.

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How to Create a Killer Business Plan- Martha Stewart Perspective

Good counsel on creating a ‘killer’ business plan from Martha Stewart who many may not know offers excellent resources for entrepreneurs.

Note the recommendations to “… be concise, compelling, complete” – the “3 C’s”. While good points here, the article missed one critical point- the need to emphasize and show a winning management team. I shared the following comments:

Good counsel here and I like the ” 3 C’s ” recommendations. Article emphasizes business plan essentials but we know investors often invest in management more than plans. Reinforcing the depth of management experience in the venture; creating a strong Management Advisory Board; structuring a Product Advisory Council- these are low cost, smart steps that add great value to business plans based on my experience .

Check out article at

 http://www.marthastewart.com/266952/how-to-create-a-killer-business-plan

Paul B Silverman

 

Paul B. Silverman writes about entrepreneurship, healthcare, analytics, and strategy management and serves as Advisor, Speaker, Educator, and Managing Partner of the Gemini Business Group, LLC, a new venture development firm, and author of “8 Building Blocks To Launch, Manage, And Grow A Successful Business.” He also serves as Adjunct Professor in the School of Business at George Mason University. See more at Paul B. Silverman Blog and sign up for Entrepreneurship Today! email updates to track latest new venture developments.

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How To Be A Startup CEO– Interview with Bing Gordon Kleiner Perkins

I am reviewing materials for an upcoming entrepreneurship book and found an excellent interview on how to be a startup CEO with Bing Gordon, partner at VC firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, a leading Silicon Valley venture capital firm. While posted in December 2011, Bing Gordon’s counsel for startup CEO’s is right on target today, particularly his points about the need to Quantify Objectives with Trackable Milestones”. Gordon describes Intel’s ‘OKR’ or ‘Objectives and Key Results’ management approach – managers set objectives and identify and track 2 to 3 results, and managers are expected to achieve 70 percent of results. Very important discipline which helps companies grow and send messages to Boards and investors. Gordon also makes excellent points about “The CEO’s Need to Balance Management and Entrepreneurial Responsibilities”, emphasizing the need to nuture and balance entrepreneurial culture with clear focus on tightly managing results. Not an easy tightrope to walk as we all know, but a “build it and they will come” philosophy clearly doesn’t work in today’s rapidly changing global entrepreneurial market.

 You can view Bing Gordon’s presentation at http://tinyurl.com/6vc5hy8 . The 28 minute video is well worth watching. At the time, I also posted comments on the video which you may find helpful- you can see these at       http://tinyurl.com/l7nfuzo.   

                                                                                          Paul B. Silverman   July 2014

Paul B. Silverman writes about entrepreneurship, healthcare, analytics, and strategy management and serves as Advisor, Speaker, Educator, and Managing Partner of the Gemini Business Group, LLC, a new venture development firm, and author of “8 Building Blocks To Launch, Manage, And Grow A Successful Business.” He also serves as Adjunct Professor in the School of Business at George Mason University. See more at Paul B. Silverman Blog and sign up for Entrepreneurship Today! email updates to track latest new venture developments.

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Comments on Article- “Predictive Analytics Showing the Shape of Things to Come”- The Australian June 25, 2013

The Australian newspaper had an interesting article on June 25, 2013 (http://tinyurl.com/mtah9ju) describing a number of successful predictive analytics applications, but also making the point that market penetration has been slow noting “… despite the numerous uses of predictive analytics, uptake is limited. According to Gartner, only 13 per cent of organisations report extensive use, while fewer than 3 per cent use prescriptive capabilities such as decision/mathematical modelling, simulation and optimisation market”. I posted brief summary comments today in response to the article and am pleased to share a complete copy of my comments:

Excellent article and clearly summarizes the challenges we face in educating management on how PA solutions can help companies improve performance and mitigate risk. I am pleased to share the following 3 observations. My comments are based on my position as former CEO of InferX Corporation, a publicly traded predictive analytics company, and serving as adjunct professor teaching MBA strategy courses in the RH Smith School of Business at the University of Maryland.

No. 1   Analytics complements ‘traditional management’

Define your mission; assess external environment and competition using PEST, Porter’s 5 Forces model, other tools; assess internal resources and capabilities; develop detailed value chain analysis; analyze product life cycles; develop cost leader/differentiation global strategies based on product, market, competition and other factors. Analytics can make a major contribution throughout the ‘traditional’ management process. Yet market analysis shows about 85% of the total PA market today addresses the CRM sector. We need to view PA within the context of traditional management rather than a separate ‘big data/analytics’ sector. Integrating PA into traditional management processes is a challenge and the real opportunity with high upside

No. 2   Analytics costs more

True. When the e-commerce revolution emerged years ago, we had major push back from companies who preferred to continue to process orders manually, work with suppliers using ad hoc systems, and avoid ‘costly’ new systems implementation and industry standards. Systems costs did increase, but we created process and performance efficiencies that improved profitability and reduced risk. Today’s analytics solutions demand understanding ROI (and how to measure) and clearly communicating this message.

No. 3    “Analytics Drives Strategy and Strategy Drives Analytics”

Properly executed and integrated into a company’s management processes, I see great opportunity to use analytics to drive strategy, particularly in shaping new product and market innovations to increase ROI. Look at Capital One, an analytics driven competitor reportedly doing 300+ analytic scenarios daily to optimize financial offerings. Or Progressive, capturing motorcycle rider clients using analytics to define a segment with both claims and expense ratios providing strong returns. Amazon, Netflix and many others are using analytics to drive ‘micro-marketing segmentation’ which is where we are heading. And these new strategies create new analytics, enabling analytics- savvy companies such as Amazon to continue to excel.

Clearly all ‘analytics solutions’ providers, a term I prefer to emphasize PA’s broader role, have a challenge ahead- to educate clients, particularly at the ‘C’ level, on the opportunities embracing these solutions and the challenges they will face if they do not. Exciting times lie ahead in the global analytics solutions business for both solutions providers and all companies in all sectors.

Paul B. Silverman

 

Paul B. Silverman writes about entrepreneurship, healthcare, analytics, and strategy management and serves as Advisor, Speaker, Educator, and Managing Partner of the Gemini Business Group, LLC, a new venture development firm, and author of “8 Building Blocks To Launch, Manage, And Grow A Successful Business.” He also serves as Adjunct Professor in the School of Business at George Mason University. See more at Paul B. Silverman Blog and sign up for Entrepreneurship Today! email updates to track latest new venture developments.

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Comments on Article- “Predictive analytics showing the shape of things to come”- The Australian June 25, 2013

The Australian newspaper had an interesting article on June 25, 2013 (http://tinyurl.com/mtah9ju) describing a number of successful predictive analytics applications, but also making the point that market penetration has been slow noting “… despite the numerous uses of predictive analytics, uptake is limited. According to Gartner, only 13 per cent of organisations report extensive use, while fewer than 3 per cent use prescriptive capabilities such as decision/mathematical modelling, simulation and optimisation market”. I posted brief summary comments today in response to the article and am pleased to share a complete copy of my comments:

Excellent article and clearly summarizes the challenges we face in educating management on how PA solutions can help companies improve performance and mitigate risk. I am pleased to share the following 3 observations. My comments are based on my position as CEO of InferX Corporation, a publicly traded predictive analytics company, and serving as adjunct professor teaching MBA strategy courses in the RH Smith School of Business at the University of Maryland.

No. 1   Analytics complements ‘traditional management’

Define your mission; assess external environment and competition using PEST, Porter’s 5 Forces model, other tools; assess internal resources and capabilities; develop detailed value chain analysis; analyze product life cycles; develop cost leader/differentiation global strategies based on product, market, competition and other factors. Analytics can make a major contribution throughout the ‘traditional’ management process. Yet market analysis shows about 85% of the total PA market today addresses the CRM sector. We need to view PA within the context of traditional management rather than a separate ‘big data/analytics’ sector. Integrating PA into traditional management processes is a challenge and the real opportunity with high upside

No. 2   Analytics costs more

True. When the e-commerce revolution emerged years ago, we had major push back from companies who preferred to continue to process orders manually, work with suppliers using ad hoc systems, and avoid ‘costly’ new systems implementation and industry standards. Systems costs did increase, but we created process and performance efficiencies that improved profitability and reduced risk. Today’s analytics solutions demand understanding ROI (and how to measure) and clearly communicating this message.

No. 3    “Analytics Drives Strategy and Strategy Drives Analytics”

Properly executed and integrated into a company’s management processes, I see great opportunity to use analytics to drive strategy, particularly in shaping new product and market innovations to increase ROI. Look at Capital One, an analytics driven competitor reportedly doing 300+ analytic scenarios daily to optimize financial offerings. Or Progressive, capturing motorcycle rider clients using analytics to define a segment with both claims and expense ratios providing strong returns. Amazon, Netflix and many others are using analytics to drive ‘micro-marketing segmentation’ which is where we are heading. And these new strategies create new analytics, enabling analytics- savvy companies such as Amazon to continue to excel.

Clearly all ‘analytics solutions’ providers, a term I prefer to emphasize PA’s broader role, have a challenge ahead- to educate clients, particularly at the ‘C’ level, on the opportunities embracing these solutions and the challenges they will face if they do not. Exciting times lie ahead in the global analytics solutions business for both solutions providers and all companies in all sectors.

Paul B. Silverman

President and CEO

InferX Corporation (OTC/PK: NFRX)

 

Paul B. Silverman writes about entrepreneurship, healthcare, analytics, and strategy management and serves as Advisor, Speaker, Educator, and Managing Partner of the Gemini Business Group, LLC, a new venture development firm, and author of “8 Building Blocks To Launch, Manage, And Grow A Successful Business.” He also serves as Adjunct Professor in the School of Business at George Mason University. See more at Paul B. Silverman Blog and sign up for Entrepreneurship Today! email updates to track latest new venture developments.

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HOW BOOK MARKETING/PROMOTION DRIVES CLIENT BUSINESS AND SELLS PRINT BOOKS

BOOK SIGNING AND MEET THE AUTHOR AND  EVENT AT  EXPO EAST CONFERENCE  ATLANTIC CITY : HOW BOOK  MARKETING/PROMOTION DRIVES CLIENT BUSINESS AND SELLS PRINT BOOKS

I was invited to do a book signing and “Meet the Author” event June 5th at the Expo East promotions expo in Atlantic City, NJ. for my first book in the   “Worm on a Chopstick” series,   Understanding Today’s Entrepreneurial Age: Directions, Strategies, Management Perspectives, and discuss my second book planned for release in late 2012.

One of the largest promotions/marketing conferences, the trade-only event attracts major corporate buyers, sales reps, promotion/marketing companies, ad agencies, and others.  Today we see explosive growth of  e-books which is driving market demand, and also see the demise of traditional ‘brick and mortar’ bookstores.

However, before we writeoff the traditional print book market, it is clear to me based on discussions at this event and elsewhere, that print books are supporting many creative marketing and promotion initiatives to create new markets, promote major lines of business, and sell books in large quantities. While we may typically think about print books sold in bookstores, airport kiosks, via Amazon or other mail order channels, the following are some of the marketing and promotion channels I have discussed now being used to support business and sell books:

  • Major bank develops a “Small Business Corporate Library’ to offer selected clients to strengthen their relationship with small business customers and reinforce their brand
  • Pharmaceutical firms integrate nutritional health and wellness programs with one or more selected books
  • Insurance companies use selected ‘branded’ planning/lifestyle texts to create new educational programs for their clients
  • Emergency services (local police and fire) ‘private label’ educational publications for children to provide safety education
  • State governors add ‘tip-in’ pages in a customized version of a business/entrepreneurship or other book to support economic development and attract businesses to the region (“tip-in” pages are custom pages inserted upfront into print books)

All of the above are driven by a basic need – companies want to attract, educate and strengthen relationships with customers. Traditionally, you may have received an imprinted calendar, pen or notepad from your favorite bank, and probably still will, but the above are some of the many new creative and exciting marketing/promotion activities we see emerging now. Given today’s intense global competition, I expect these initiatives to accelerate and others to emerge also linking social media, print books, and e books- we are seeing major new, exciting market opportunities developing here.

Paul B. Silverman writes about entrepreneurship, healthcare, analytics, and strategy management and serves as Advisor, Speaker, Educator, and Managing Partner of the Gemini Business Group, LLC, a new venture development firm, and author of “8 Building Blocks To Launch, Manage, And Grow A Successful Business.” He also serves as Adjunct Professor in the School of Business at George Mason University. See more at Paul B. Silverman Blog and sign up for Entrepreneurship Today! email updates to track latest new venture developments.

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