When Do You Focus on the Plan and When Do You Adjust? Four Guidelines

Interview with Phil Bookman, CEO, Assistyx

Situation: The dynamics of an early-stage business require balance between focus and opportunity. The challenge is in the balancing act. When do you focus on the plan, and when do you adjust?

Advice from Phil Bookman:

  • Never allow your friends to become statistics. We call our customers our friends. Our most loyal and vocal friends were our early adopters and got us where we are today. They remain important participants in the conversation and are always in our focus.
  • Along the same lines, when using social media to communicate to your audience, remember that this is a face-to-face conversation. This is a key point of focus.
    • Remove as much friction from online interactions as you can. Make it as easy as possible for people visiting your web site to buy. This requires both live interactions with users and attention to detail. If a question keeps coming up, answer it; put the answer right up front on your web site where it cannot be missed.
    • We’ve made hundreds of tweaks, each tiny. Each has removed a point of friction. As the company grows it is easy to lose sight of these details. Never lose sight of details.
  • Much of what we face in business is transitory. It is important to stay nimble so that you don’t get stuck fighting the last skirmish. For example, in 2009, we found that a subscription service was difficult for institutional users like purchasing departments in schools to understand. It isn’t now.
  • You must be careful not to chase bright shiny objects – opportunities that take you outside your principal market competence. Would you try to modify a hammer to put in screws?
    • Our principal product TapToTalk is a communication device for kids with verbal challenges. Some have suggested that it could also be a teaching device. Possibly in the future there will be room in our plan for a teaching device, but we will address this as its own market and application when we are large enough to diversify.

You can contact Phil Bookman at pbookman@assistyx.com

Key Words: Early Stage Business, Focus, Opportunity, Balance, Adjust, Early Adopter, Social Media, Friction, Detail, Nimble

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