As I write this 2018 has come to a close. The stock market surges and falls on a daily basis because of China, Apple, the Government Shut down. Chance are, the issues that keep you up at night as a business or real estate owner have less to do with those issues and more to do with growth, human resources, problems with product or property and process.
- Hire Slow and Fire Fast. Regardless of what happens in the world, this adage appears to remain true. If you’re in love with your potential new business partner, one of the first questions I will ask you is how you will manage the time when your relationship ends. This is true also for employees and vendors, so I expect that conversations about qualifying prospects will remain a top issue in 2019.
- Getting A No. Choose your customers wisely. This is a follow-on to the first note above but, I have always found that no one is a fit for everyone. Come up with your minimum, non-negotiables or requirements for working with partners, vendors, employees. Let them know up front. The clearer you are to them and to yourself, the less likely you will waste time on working with someone where there is not a fit.
- Expect the Best, Due Diligence. I continue to be amazed that folks plan a meeting and have not scoured the Internet to learn everything they can about what their prospect has written, said, presented. Use the Internet, lop of the highest of self-praise and the lowest of self-deprecation (within reason), and due your diligence.
- Cash. You will be able to sleep better at night if you have more cash in the bank than debt. Even if you don’t earn a return on that money, plan for your next great expansion, a business challenge or adversity with cash. This is a different number for everyone but take the time to plan it out.
- Contingency Plans. Data hacking, identity theft, bad actors in your company, and bad third party actor are real. Have your plan written out, know your insurance coverage, identify known risks to your network, online banking, competitive advantage.
- Intellectual Property. In every meeting I have as an investor and in every meeting with clients, having an edge from an intellectual property perspective is a huge competitive advantage. Take the time and devote the resources to get this advantage or to determine where the holes are and do it early and often. Enforcing IP rights is costly, hence the need for cash.
- Strategic Planning. If you are of any age, you realize how fast time flies. Without a plan, any road will take you “there.” With a plan, you can test approaches, strategies, resources and assumptions. Planning is as important as ever as competition has become fierce in every sector.
If you are a founder, owner, partner or investor with a focus on AI, cannabis, real estate, software, let’s discuss your assumptions for 2019 and how you will get there.