Step 7: Resources/Investments

Step 7: What were the budgets, people, skills, constraints committed by us?

What were the budgets, people, skills, constraints

Budgets are great. I love them and encourage you to have one. But you need to decide what you can afford and the investment you want to make. Many people fail because they start their marketing with looking at each individual event, opportunity and determine the value of it individually. Since most marketing has a certain delay it results in very short-term and failed thinking. A better way of doing it is to establish a budget, a benchmark based on what is affordable to you at the moment. One, that allows you to go to sleep at night. Then we start looking at channels and which ones we believe are the most attractive to test. We pick 3 within our budget parameters and start. As we develop them, we become more efficient and effective at them reducing cost and enabling us to do more with the budget. What does not work we discard, replacing with another marketing experiment. It is difficult to put a cost on exploration. You just need to set number and stay within it. And you should always have a little exploration going on.

Deliverables are something else we address. Most entrepreneurs will set them on some number that they pull out of their hat. I am very precise in the idea of setting objectives: From what to what by when, then setting several strategies to use to gain there within the budget constraints and then setting the action/tasks to make it all happen. The problem is that most do not even have the first what and the strategies are not proven; they are a hypothesis that needs to be proved. I mean do we really know 20 cold calls = 1 client? In real estate, the rule of thumb is for a Realtor to always have 5 people in the car in a given week. This results in 1 sale a week. But the process is known and is adjusted according to markets. It could be 4 in one area and 8 in another. Once a repeatable process is in place, deliverables become clear.

Processes are something I live by. I build an adaptive plan and as we capture knowledge we can standardize, or create best practice. This is what makes our sales and marketing more effective. However, we need first to develop our adaptive process unless you have a method of acquiring customers already in place. If you do, we use that method and repeat a few times, standardize along the way. I sort of follow the USA principle: Understand-Simplify-Automate. If you reverse the order, for example, build an auto-responder first you will spend a whole bunch of time and money figuring our target clients. You will build a company without core capabilities and sort of a job-shop type structure. And something very, very difficult to scale.

budgets, people, skills, constraints

A review of the Lean Scale-Up book is recommended:

One of the best books I have read and certainly the one that has influenced me the most on Agile Project Management is Jim Highsmith’s book of the same name. I have referenced his material for many years on this blog. We are not short of Project Management books and Agile books, in general, but I have found Jim’s material standing out from the rest offering a straightforward approach and with referenced material sprinkled throughout in case anyone wants to take a deeper dive in a particular area.

In this book, Jim demonstrates what iterative project management is all about. I especially like the terminology he uses moving from Plan-do, which just about always results in a linear, waterfall approach and the more traditional names of Initiate, Plan, Define, Design Build, and Test.  Instead, he uses Envision, Speculate, Explore, Adapt, and Close (ESEAC).   The outline is further explained below:

  1. Envision: Determine your marketing vision and objectives and constraints, your community, and how your team will work together.
  2. Speculate: develop the capability and/or feature based launch to deliver on the vision.
  3. Explore: plan and deliver running tested stories in the short iteration, constantly seeking to reduce risk and uncertainty.
  4. Adapt: review the delivered results, the current situation, and the team’s performance, and adapt as necessary.
  5. Close: conclude the launch, pass along key learning, and celebrate.

Highsmith uses Envision to form the structure or better yet the skeleton for the project and then the Speculate-Explore-Act (S-E-A) as an overall cycle with Explore-Act being smaller iterations within SEA till the project is Closed. You will have multiple iterations using E-A within S-E-A, and your larger iteration of S-E-A may even be adjusted as we learn more through the project. I will also add that individual E-A may close at different times and that you could even have separate S-E-A path in larger projects. The point is that there are a lot of iterations happening. If you were going to use the A3 below, I would run a few copies and cut the individual blocks apart so that I could mount them to the wall as needed. It really is not as complicated as I made it be.

The left side of the Highsmith A3 or the Speculate card might prove the most difficult. We will go over it more and to leave that open at this time is fine. Highsmith A3:

In this area you would use the A3 to ask and answer these questions:

  1. What is the Vision – Who do we want our customer to be?
  2. What is the business Objective- The Job to be Done?
  3. What is the Total Scope: Guidelines, Objectives, Constraints?
  4. What is the internal plumbing, archictecture?
  5. Prioritize Trade-offs -What is fixed, flexible, acceptable?

List the resources that you currently have to support your program. Identify the major resource categories for your program and be specific about these resources, but do not spend a lot of time developing a detailed list of all actual or anticipated program expenditures. This is best done in the Team Engagement group that will be part of this Value Stream.

Whitepaper Download Funnel of Opportunity Part 6:

Beginning: Funnel of Opportunity Introduction

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