Will it Fly? How to Know if Your New Business Idea Has Wings ...Before You Take the Leap

Overview

Will your new business idea fly? Find out upfront, before you invest one dime! Will It Fly? introduces the first intuitive, practical tool for assessing and refining new business ideas. Fast, confidential, and reliable, it addresses 44 key elements of success, distilling experience from more than 200 business launches. Use it to fine-tune your idea... protect yourself and your investors... quickly evaluate multiple options... and dramatically improve your odds of success. Indispensable for every entrepreneur, ...

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Overview

Will your new business idea fly? Find out upfront, before you invest one dime! Will It Fly? introduces the first intuitive, practical tool for assessing and refining new business ideas. Fast, confidential, and reliable, it addresses 44 key elements of success, distilling experience from more than 200 business launches. Use it to fine-tune your idea... protect yourself and your investors... quickly evaluate multiple options... and dramatically improve your odds of success. Indispensable for every entrepreneur, investor, and advisor... even corporate planners and "intrapreneurs"!

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780130462213
  • Publisher: FT Press
  • Publication date: 8/14/2003
  • Pages: 347
  • Sales rank: 234,489
  • Product dimensions: 5.98 (w) x 8.81 (h) x 0.78 (d)

Meet the Author

THOMAS K. McKNIGHT has coached 200+ business launches, helping entrepreneurs develop organizational infrastructure, plan for emerging technologies and intellectual property creation, project cash flow requirements and contingencies, and analyze potential return and valuations. McKnight draws upon 29 years' successful experience as Chairman, CEO, VP, and Consultant in both large companies and start-up/early-stage ventures. At Gannett, he helped to launch USA Today, the largest new venture in the history of print journalism. His background includes time at Smith Barney, the White House, the Federal Communications Commission, and the Marine Corps. He holds a B.S. in Business from Miami University and a J.D. from The Ohio State University.

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Read an Excerpt

PREFACEAll Great Ideas Are Worth TheirWeight in Gold

This book introduces the Innovator's Scorecard. It is a highlyintuitive tool that allows a quick, snapshot evaluation of a businessidea. It is calculated to measure the worthiness of an idea beforecritical resources are tapped or engaged. By scoring your idea withthis index, you will identify its strengths and weaknesses. You willknow whether your business will fly, how to make it fly higher, andhow to add the weight necessary to drive it successfully into themarket so you win your share of the gold.

Over the past seven years, Columbia University, GeorgetownUniversity, the University of Maryland, the University of Denver, theUniversity of North Dakota, and The George Washington Universityhave periodically offered a course in entrepreneurship that requiresstudents to bring their business ideas to class. The essence of thecourse was also taught 16 times in Russia to senior executives ofvarious petroleum companies, all by means of a real-time languagetranslator and all under the aegis of Columbia University. This bookdescribes the distilled synthesis of a key element of those courses: acomprehensive, common-sense tool that can quickly assess the viabilityand feasibility of an idea at the very earliest moments of eachcourse. In each course, the students tried to launch their ideas intoreal live companies. That tool, which became known first as the"Launch Aperture" and later as the "Innovator's Scorecard," is thebasis of this book. We needed an up-front device that wouldinstantly align and screen the ideas for the students to manipulateduring the course. Did it work? Absolutely. Students were bringingin checks for tens of thousands of dollars from customers longbefore the business plans were written. In one case, the studentsclosed on $456 million for the support of their classroom project.

Anyone who uses the Innovator's Scorecard—from a first-timeat-bat owner to a repeat entrepreneur to a lawyer to a seasonedinvestor—can tell immediately whether an idea has the silhouetteof a success story. Using a prelaunch assessment tool is of vitalimportance—each year, there are heavy economic losses attributableto the failure of businesses. For example, Dr. Stephen C.Perry's study of the relationship between business planning (or lackthereof) and the failure of businesses in the United States turned upthis factoid: Each year, 17,000 businesses fail, and the aggregatelosses accrue to $40 billion.1 This is a staggering sum. By acting as a silent advisor at the very beginning of the thought process, theInnovator's Scorecard helps would-be entrepreneurs reasonthrough the facts that are known or that can be surmised up front.The entrepreneur can then predict the success or failure of his orher venture long before any serious money, savings, or resourcesare committed or spent. Will it Fly? is likely to be the best investmentany entrepreneur ever made.

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Table of Contents

Preface.

I. Overview.

II. Elements Of The Scorecard.

Element 1. Compelling Unserved Need.

Element 2. Explainable Uniqueness.

Element 3. Sustainable Differentiation.

Element 4. Demonstrable Now.

Element 5. Good Competition.

Element 6. Bad Competition.

Element 7. Compelling Pricing Possible.

Element 8. Closable Customers.

Element 9. Quality of Evidence of Demand.

Element 10. Ahead of the Market.

Element 11. Ambush Exposure.

Element 12. “Hot Market”.

PERSONAL.

Element 13. Attitude of Confidence and Fearlessness.

Element 14. Commitment.

Element 15. Staying Power.

Element 16. Passion.

Element 17. Management Competence.

Element 18. Honesty and Integrity.

Element 19. Success Ethic.

Element 20. Looking Good in the Lobby.

OPERATIONS.

Element 21. Cash Flowing Now.

Element 22. Revenue Model That Swamps Costs.

Element 23. Delivery Advantages.

Element 24. Resources Available.

Element 25. Preemption and Domination.

Element 26. Strategy to Penetrate Market.

Element 27. Strategy for Breaching the Chasm.

Element 28. Proprietary Ownership.

Element 29. Partnering Candidates.

Element 30. Appropriateness of Location.

Element 31. Quality of the Backup Plan.

Element 32. Unfair Advantages.

FINANCE.

Element 33. Manageable Capital Requirements.

Element 34. Low Cash Required Before Launch.

Element 35. Visible Capital.

HARVEST.

Element 36. High Potential Value.

Element 37. Foreseeable Harvest.

DAUNTING NEGATIVES.

Element 38. Taboo.

Element 39. Lack of Showstoppers.

Element 40. Pretending Not To Know.

THE STORY.

Element 41. High Profile Persons Available.

Element 42. Punchy, Compelling Story.

CARPE DIEM.

Element 43. Government Relevance.

Element 44. Low Hanging Fruit.

Conclusion of the Coin-Operated Laundry.

@PARTHEAD = III. The Scorecard and Beyond.

Game Caution.

Conclusion.

Appendix I. Orion Satellite Corporation.

Appendix II. PTAT System, Inc..

Appendix III. Creative Destruction.

Appendix IV. Innovators Scorecard.

Appendix V. Coin-Operated Laundry Example.

About the Author.

Index.

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Preface

PREFACE

All Great Ideas Are Worth TheirWeight in Gold

This book introduces the Innovator's Scorecard. It is a highlyintuitive tool that allows a quick, snapshot evaluation of a businessidea. It is calculated to measure the worthiness of an idea beforecritical resources are tapped or engaged. By scoring your idea withthis index, you will identify its strengths and weaknesses. You willknow whether your business will fly, how to make it fly higher, andhow to add the weight necessary to drive it successfully into themarket so you win your share of the gold.

Over the past seven years, Columbia University, GeorgetownUniversity, the University of Maryland, the University of Denver, theUniversity of North Dakota, and The George Washington Universityhave periodically offered a course in entrepreneurship that requiresstudents to bring their business ideas to class. The essence of thecourse was also taught 16 times in Russia to senior executives ofvarious petroleum companies, all by means of a real-time languagetranslator and all under the aegis of Columbia University. This bookdescribes the distilled synthesis of a key element of those courses: acomprehensive, common-sense tool that can quickly assess the viabilityand feasibility of an idea at the very earliest moments of eachcourse. In each course, the students tried to launch their ideas intoreal live companies. That tool, which became known first as the"Launch Aperture" and later as the "Innovator's Scorecard," is thebasis of this book. We needed an up-front device that wouldinstantly align and screen the ideas for the students to manipulateduring the course. Did it work? Absolutely. Students were bringingin checks for tens of thousands of dollars from customers longbefore the business plans were written. In one case, the studentsclosed on $456 million for the support of their classroom project.

Anyone who uses the Innovator's Scorecard--from a first-timeat-bat owner to a repeat entrepreneur to a lawyer to a seasonedinvestor--can tell immediately whether an idea has the silhouetteof a success story. Using a prelaunch assessment tool is of vitalimportance--each year, there are heavy economic losses attributableto the failure of businesses. For example, Dr. Stephen C.Perry's study of the relationship between business planning (or lackthereof) and the failure of businesses in the United States turned upthis factoid: Each year, 17,000 businesses fail, and the aggregatelosses accrue to $40 billion.1 This is a staggering sum. By acting as a silent advisor at the very beginning of the thought process, theInnovator's Scorecard helps would-be entrepreneurs reasonthrough the facts that are known or that can be surmised up front.The entrepreneur can then predict the success or failure of his orher venture long before any serious money, savings, or resourcesare committed or spent. Will it Fly? is likely to be the best investmentany entrepreneur ever made.

Read More Show Less

Introduction

PREFACE

All Great Ideas Are Worth TheirWeight in Gold

This book introduces the Innovator's Scorecard. It is a highlyintuitive tool that allows a quick, snapshot evaluation of a businessidea. It is calculated to measure the worthiness of an idea beforecritical resources are tapped or engaged. By scoring your idea withthis index, you will identify its strengths and weaknesses. You willknow whether your business will fly, how to make it fly higher, andhow to add the weight necessary to drive it successfully into themarket so you win your share of the gold.

Over the past seven years, Columbia University, GeorgetownUniversity, the University of Maryland, the University of Denver, theUniversity of North Dakota, and The George Washington Universityhave periodically offered a course in entrepreneurship that requiresstudents to bring their business ideas to class. The essence of thecourse was also taught 16 times in Russia to senior executives ofvarious petroleum companies, all by means of a real-time languagetranslator and all under the aegis of Columbia University. This bookdescribes the distilled synthesis of a key element of those courses: acomprehensive, common-sense tool that can quickly assess the viabilityand feasibility of an idea at the very earliest moments of eachcourse. In each course, the students tried to launch their ideas intoreal live companies. That tool, which became known first as the"Launch Aperture" and later as the "Innovator's Scorecard," is thebasis of this book. We needed an up-front device that wouldinstantly align and screen the ideas for the students to manipulateduring the course. Did it work? Absolutely. Students werebringingin checks for tens of thousands of dollars from customers longbefore the business plans were written. In one case, the studentsclosed on $456 million for the support of their classroom project.

Anyone who uses the Innovator's Scorecard--from a first-timeat-bat owner to a repeat entrepreneur to a lawyer to a seasonedinvestor--can tell immediately whether an idea has the silhouetteof a success story. Using a prelaunch assessment tool is of vitalimportance--each year, there are heavy economic losses attributableto the failure of businesses. For example, Dr. Stephen C.Perry's study of the relationship between business planning (or lackthereof) and the failure of businesses in the United States turned upthis factoid: Each year, 17,000 businesses fail, and the aggregatelosses accrue to $40 billion.1 This is a staggering sum. By acting as a silent advisor at the very beginning of the thought process, theInnovator's Scorecard helps would-be entrepreneurs reasonthrough the facts that are known or that can be surmised up front.The entrepreneur can then predict the success or failure of his orher venture long before any serious money, savings, or resourcesare committed or spent. Will it Fly? is likely to be the best investmentany entrepreneur ever made.

Read More Show Less

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