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Gearing Up Next Gen - built on a firm belief

Dear entrepreneurs,

I am forever grateful for the collective wisdom that I have gotten from you during all the interactions I have had with so many of you working with you over the years. In different forms (on-line, off-line, hybrid), different market spaces, different parts of the world I have shared your passion, your energy, your frustration – through laughs and cries, through successes and drawbacks. Sometimes I don’t think you have tried hard and long enough. Sometimes you have been too early – the customers were not ready for you. Sometimes the entrepreneurial ecosystem hasn´t been up to the task of supporting you in the way you needed. However, most of the time I have left the interactions with big admiration and new insights.

I have now decided to manifest the collective wisdom gained in these interactions in “Gearing Up Next Gen”. This is my contribution in supporting the next generation of entrepreneurs to build resilient and impactful companies. To the best of my ability, this is where I am synthesizing what I have learned with what I am ready to bet on will be the future for entrepreneurs.

Gearing Up Next Gen will be put to work in many different contexts, like in programs, when I coach individual entrepreneurs, my blog Lena in the Trenches, lectures, etc. If you are on the verge of applying to one of my programs, subscribe to my blog, etc., but still want to be sure that this is time worth spending or if you are just curious about what is different with what I propose; here are a few lines of thinking that will be recognized in “GearUp Next Gen”.

 

Let’s start with the four questions upon which “Gear Up Next Gen” is based. These are questions that any entrepreneur should be able to answer, either as an integrated part when writing their business plan or keeping in mind when growing their company. These four questions should be seen as guiding lights on a path that leads the entrepreneur to a clearer understanding of her business idea and what needs to be done to make use of its full potential. There is nothing innovative with the questions as such, my contribution is rather in the sequencing of them and how I attach concepts, tools, and exercises to the questions and thereby turn them into useful content to drive your business forward.

 

1. Is there a gap in the market for your business?
The purpose of this question is for you to chisel out whether there is a need in the market for what you are suggesting and if someone is willing to pay you for “closing” that gap.
Key concepts to answer this question: Pain, Customers, End-users, Impact.

2. Do you have a business potential?
In this step, the focus lies on challenging you on what you will offer to the customers, end-users, and other stakeholders that is truly unique in the eyes of the stakeholders, i.e., the different stakeholders’ delight. Instead of paying too much attention to the unique selling proposition, the focus should be on what the stakeholder appreciates with what is offered. There is too often a large discrepancy between the two. Customers buy and use for a reason not acknowledged by you, the entrepreneur.

Key concepts: Painkiller, Delight, Impact.

3. Can you execute on it?
It is all good to conclude that you have business potential, but the set of challenges connected to the execution of it is different because here is when the “rubber hits the road”, i.e., where the business proposition is put to the reality test. Many ideas fall short in execution; this step will help you get on the right path. 
Key concepts: Customer Acquisition, Business Model, Partners, Worthy Rivals, Team, Impact.

4. Do you know the Next Step(s)?
Last but not at all least, with all the appropriate answers in the first three steps, in this fourth one I want to give you guidance on planning and implementing what comes next. It probably sounds like a platitude but taking the next step and implementing is imminent, therefore a sense of urgency should recognize the work with answering this question.
Key concepts: Plan of Action, Goals, Projections, Risks, Cash Flow, Impact.

Alongside these four questions, I also would like to highlight four concepts and ideas that are our constant companions on the journey.

 

Any discovery on the road is an accomplishment for you!

Gearing Up Next Gen is where you and your business idea are on a journey together. The path is pretty much set but what you will experience is “in the cards”, don’t shy away from that, instead embrace the unexpected answers, the new line of thinking, and the surprising twist and turns that you will encounter.  The four questions will move you from an embryo, an idea, to something that might fly, or not. That is for you to discover when applying the questions to your business. To me, it is important to give anyone using the questions a sense of accomplishment. It doesn’t matter if that comes from going through all levels or from gracefully exiting because you need to rethink your idea altogether.  Anything that moves you is an accomplishment.

 

Befriend your numbers!

It is my firm conviction that number-crunching shouldn´t be moved into a separate chapter, module, or “handled by someone else”. Numbers are such a crucial part of understanding and launching a business that sometimes they even need to lead. Therefore, every step on the path is recognized by collecting, assessing, and making the decision on simultaneously considering qualitative and quantitative information for decisions to be made. Trust me, you will become friends with your numbers, you might even start having a true appreciation for them.

 

Impact is part of your core!

In 10 years all successful companies must consider the impact – positive and negative - of everything they are doing. Customers, partners, employees, investors – all of them will demand to know the impact that you and your business will have, not only on profit but also on the welfare of people and of the world. The UN SDGs are an excellent starting point. Impact is therefore one of the cornerstones in Gearing Up Next Gen, but not as an afterthought, not as a “make-up” to please stakeholders for whom impact has become important and/or fashionable. I want impact to be at the core of your business, an integrated part when you think about your top-line growth.

 

Your Success is in building Resiliency and Impact!

How do you define business success? I have a background in the core of the core of high-tech business geography in the world, in Silicon Valley. This has given me tremendous opportunities to learn, work, and understand a business environment that in so many aspects was – and still is – recognized by “high” as in high tech, high speed, high growth, etc., all of them encompassing the term success.

 

Many of the entrepreneurs that I have the honor of working with are not into the hype of “high”. My view of success has largely shifted through my interactions with you entrepreneurs. Success is not only short-term fast growth, but there is also so much more to it. I want all the entrepreneurs I work with to launch and grow companies that are successful because at their core they are recognized for their resiliency and making an impact. If I can assist you in achieving that, I would be more than happy.

 

I wish you all the best and sincerely hope to hear from you!

Lena

Lena_in_the_woods_c1.jpg

Lena Ramfelt, close to her home outside Stockholm, Sweden

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