Tag Archives: Diversity

How Do You Evaluate Tradeoffs Between Strategic Options? Six Suggestions

Situation:  A company’s primary objectives are to hone their business model and establish their first satellite office as a model for future expansion. An opportunity has arisen from a trusted source that could rapidly expand both business and opening of satellite offices by providing service to a single national client. How do you evaluate the tradeoffs between these options?

Advice from the CEOs:

  • What is the impact of this new option on client diversity? One of Porter’s fundamentals of strategy is to not have too much of your business dependent on any one customer.
  • What is the impact of this opportunity on your personnel, time and resources?
  • Are there areas in which this opportunity will save time and resources, for example by consolidating some back-office functions like billing and accounting?
  • If this opportunity will take an inordinate amount of time and focus, consider starting a new entity to take advantage of this opportunity.
  • Use a decision-making grid to evaluate the new opportunity versus your present strategy:
    • Identify the most important factors of both your current strategy and the new opportunity.
    • Weight the importance of each factor as a percent of with the total adding up to 100%.
    • Rank each opportunity against each factor.
    • Multiply the factor ranking times the weight for each ranking.
    • Sum the weighted rankings.
    • See whether the summed rankings support of contradict your gut feeling, and further analyze depending on the result.
  • Once you have identified the risks in this proposition, determine contract provisions that will reduce risks to acceptable levels. If the potential client is unwilling to yield enough of these points in the contracting stage to acceptably mitigate your risks, then walk away from the deal.
  • Don’t risk your entire company for one opportunity. Financial rewards are only a scorecard.

Key Words: Expansion, Options, Satellite, Office, Time, Focus, Resources, Trade-offs, Client, Diversity, Consolidation, Function, Corporate Structure, Factor, Weight, Rank, Contract, Mitigate, Risk

How do You Fund a New Venture in a Mature Market? Seven Strategies

Interview with Chuck Gershman, Founder and Former CEO, Bay Microsystems

Situation: Following a consolidation of equipment suppliers, the broadband network market has matured with a few large players. This potentially reduces diversity and creativity because barriers to entry are now enormous. How do you fund a new venture in a mature market?

Chuck Gershman’s Advice:

  • If you can get the venture off the ground, the opportunity is tremendous because competition for new approaches in a mature market is limited. Large players don’t move quickly. Their incentive is to change slowly to lengthen product life cycles.
  • The downside is fewer financiers interested in the space because of the barriers to entry, and because the likely exit is an M&A play at low multiples.
  • Given this, how do you attract investors?
    • In the hardware space, you must demonstrate a convincing go-to-market strategy with modest investment and a moderate cost of market penetration. If the cost of success is high, it requires too much investment and risk before you can accurately assess the possibility of success.
    • You must be able to show a substantial total available market.
    • You must be able to show that your capability meets the needs of the market.
    • You must be able to show that the customer base will respond en masse. This is critical!
    • With fewer investors willing to look at your product and technology, it takes more time and work to find interested investors.
  • Investors invest on perceived risk, so the task is to show that the risk is manageable.
    • In the past, investors were convinced by a committed strategic customer that would finance bringing the product to market.
    • In the current market, an effective strategy is to develop an early customer who is a strategic investor in your company from Day 1. This raises the likelihood of an exit, and appeal to investors, but reduces downstream options and ROI.
    • Another strategy is to pursue a creative IPO exit. For example, launching the IPO on a smaller foreign exchange. This reduces the long-term payout to founders, but may increase appeal to investors who prefer an IPO to an M&A exit.

You can contact Chuck Gershman at charlesg_98@yahoo.com

Key Words: Mature Market, Diversity, Opportunity, Investor, Go-To-Market, Risk Assessment, Strategic Partner, Strategic Investor, Exit, M&A, IPO