How to Succeed in Business, Part 1 of 3

Winthrop Jeanfreau

There are myriad books that titillate us with the promise of riches through some unique formula or insight recently discovered by the flavor of the month “expert” on the topic. Some of these experts promise to reveal rediscovered ancient wisdom. Some refer to the latest academic discovery on how to manipulate customers into frenzied purchasing. Others promise wealth through a “system” that, once mastered, will open heaven’s gate to perpetual wealth.

I’ve sat through hundreds of presentations by these “so called” experts, and read widely on the topic of business success. In the end, I’ve come to the defensible conclusion that the only path to success in business is to find the answer to three questions, and then execute on those answer as flawlessly as possible.

The questions are simple to ask, but difficult to answer, and when I say answer, what I’m REALLY meaning is the kind of answer that is of the bedrock variety… the kind you have an emotive response to, that you know is true deep in your bones.

Without the kind of conviction that comes from those sorts of answers, you’ll never develop the resolve necessary to carry through on your intentions and be able to weather the opposition to your resolve that will always manifest itself, and do so at the time you’re least prepared to deal with it.

When you develop that kind of conviction… the kind that only comes from discovering the capital T kind of truth, you become an unstoppable whirling dervish of momentum, capable of moving mountains and withstanding even the most ardent naysayers.

The questions I’ve had to find the answers to for every one of the businesses I’ve started and managed to success are:

  1. What problem am I solving?
  2. How am I solving it uniquely?
  3. What is the value proposition that my potential customers recognize as meaningful and compelling?

As I mentioned, the questions ask easy, but they answer hard.

The answers to these questions are most always elusive, and it’s VERY common for those seeking their answers to pacify themselves with poorly researched conclusions or half-truths. Actually identifying a problem that no one else is addressing is rare. That kind of brilliant insight is what the US Patent Office refers to as a “moment of genius”. The discovery of the shape of the human DNA is that sort of discovery.

Most of our “moments of genius” are of the evolutionary rather than revolutionary type. But they can be just as financially rewarding. The evolutionary type of problem solving occurs when you find creative ways to put existing things together. Like when it became obvious to us ALL that it made WAY more sense to combine the personal digital assistant, mp3 player, web browsing, modestly powerful computer, point and shoot camera and mobile phone into one device. Hence the landslide adoption of the smart phone… something now, that most of us find impossible to live without.

For the sake of time let’s skip the debate about the social impact our smartphones are having on the social fabric of our society, families and personal relationships. That small issue aside, these devices are GENIUS!!! Just like combining a bun with a burger, Oreos with ice-cream or and entertainment system to a car, being attune to the opportunity to innovatively finding a solution to a “problem”, usually by improving something that already exists to address it, is what entrepreneurship is all about.

What matters most here is that the problem is real, that there are lots of people with the problem and that your solution is demonstrably different than those currently developed to address that problem.

There are countless books on the topic of innovation and how to develop the perception necessary to identify an unfilled niche. Some of you were born with that innate ability to see those opportunities. However, most of us can train ourselves to become better at it and, with some properly applied analysis, make sure we don’t drink our own cool-aid, or put on our rose colored glasses.

Seeking the truth about our unique solution to the problem, once discovered, is what we’ll discuss next month. Until then, if you feel you’ve discovered gold in “them thar hills”, feel free to come to the UVU Business Resource Center for a reality check. The opinion is free and may save you meaningful time and money on your journey to discovering the business you were born to succeed at.

 

 

 

 

SBIR-STTR Proposal Workshop – Register Now

Friends of the SSAC,

The SBIR-STTR Assistance Center (SSAC) is pleased to offer two opportunities to learn about and improve your SBIR-STTR proposals.

"Secrets of a Winning SBIR-STTR Proposal" will be held in Kaysville – February 25 and Sandy – March 11.

The 5 hour seminar is offered at no charge with lunch and materials included. The seminar has received high reviews and will guide you through the do’s and don’ts of these critically important grants.

If you have won or are just a beginner, this seminar will provide beneficial insight into the grant writing process.

Please register soon as space is limited.

We look forward to having you join us,
SSAC Team

CLICK HERE to learn how to the SSAC makes you stronger!

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Utah’s SBIR-STTR Assistance Center (SSAC)
Located at and in partnership with Salt Lake Community College
Miller Corporate Partnership Center
9750 South 300 West
Sandy, UT 84070
Phone: 801-957-5249
Email: UtahSBIR-STTRCenter@Utah.gov
Website: www.Innovationutah.com/sbir/
Powered By USTAR Turning Innovation into Industry

Is a GSA Federal Supply Schedule Contract Right for You?

GSA Schedule contracts are not right for everyone

Many small businesses come to Procurement Technical Assistance Centers interested in GSA Supply Schedule contracts. But the first question must always be – is a federal supply schedule right for your company? In many cases, the answer is no. Making that determination up front can save a tremendous amount of time, energy, and perhaps money, as some small business owners pay thousands of dollars to private firms to help them “get on a GSA Schedule”, only to be unsuccessful or find it a poor fit.

Your local PTAC Procurement Specialist can help you assess your company relative to GSA purchasing practices in terms of both overall readiness and pricing structure. Together you can determine the appropriate Schedule for you to consider and discuss the many other resources available on the GSA website, including their Readiness Assessment and Pathway to Success, which can all provide critical insight into the appropriateness of pursuing a Schedule contract.

He or she can also teach you how to use GSA’s online sales query tool to see how much of your product or service GSA is buying. It may be that current purchases far exceed your capacity to produce, or it may be that there are hardly any purchases at all. Either situation might argue against pursuing a Schedule contract.

Pricing is another important consideration. GSA wants your very lowest price, lower than that which you grant to your very best customer. The pressure to award to the lowest price possible has only grown in recent years, making GSA contracting more difficult for small firms. (See “The Cost of FSSI and the Prices Paid Portal”). A GSA Schedule contract at a price you can’t sustain could put your company out of business.

Your PTAC Counselor can help you sift through all of this information and these considerations to reach the decision that is right for your business. Then if you determine that a GSA Schedule contract IS right for your company, they can help you take the next steps in applying. Many PTACs offer classes such as “Understanding the GSA Schedule Process,” but all will also work with you one-on-one to answer your questions and help you find the information you need. Once you’ve been awarded a Schedule contract, they can help you develop a marketing strategy to maximize your opportunity for sales.

See also: Pricing Matters – Pricing for GSA Schedule Proposals
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More about Procurement Technical Assistance Centers (PTACs)

Ninety-eight PTACs – with over 300 local offices – form a nationwide network of procurement professionals dedicated procurement professionals working to help local businesses compete successfully in the government marketplace. Funded under the Defense Logistics Agency’s Procurement Technical Assistance Program through cooperative agreements with state and local governments and non-profit organizations, PTACs are the bridge between buyer and supplier, bringing to bear their knowledge of both government contracting and the capabilities of contractors to maximize fast, reliable service to our government with better quality and at lower costs.

h/t Based upon a video tip by Carey White, University of Houston PTAC

Dr. Clayton Christensen Presenting at UVU this Month

The UVU Faculty Senate would like to invite you to a presentation and Q&A with Dr. Clayton Christensen. His visit is a continuation of the senate’s engagement of leading scholars regarding the future of higher education and UVU’s role. Dr. Christensen is a faculty member from the Harvard Business School and is largely recognized as one of the world’s leading management theorists. His work has been cited across the globe and his thoughts on the future of higher education have been heralded as some of the most innovative and thought provoking ideas of the last several decades.

Dr. Christensen’s presentation will be on November 20, 2014 from 3:00-4:30 p.m. in the Ragan Theater. We invite everyone on campus to this extraordinary event and hope departments will coordinate schedules to allow as many employees as possible to attend, while still remaining operational. We are fortunate to have such a world class speaker on campus and feel the audience will walk away with new insights for UVU and a renewed enthusiasm for the work we do here. The links below may help you become more familiar with Dr. Christensen’s work. We look forward to seeing you.

http://harvardmagazine.com/2014/07/disruptive-genius
http://www.nytimes.com/2014/06/01/business/business-school-disrupted.html?_r=0
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qDrMAzCHFUU
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yUGn5ZdrDoU

This is going to be an amazing presentation!  Don’t miss out!  Mark your calendar.

North Utah County Business Summit

The Lehi Area, American Fork Area, and Pleasant Grove Chambers of Commerce are pleased to bring to you the North Utah County Business Summit on Tuesday, November 18, 2014 at the Larry Miller Megaplex Theater Complex at Thanksgiving Point in Lehi.

We are lucky to have Utah Jazz CEO Greg Miller, son of Larry Miller as our first presenter. The Larry H Miller Group of Companies runs and maintains businesses in 43 states across the country. Greg Miller also took part in the hit TV Show “Under Cover Boss”.

We also have John Richards from Google Fiber. John Richards is an entrepreneur, venture invester, executive manager, and educator. He recently joined Google Fiber as head of operations for Provo, Utah, working on one of the worlds great entrepreneurial ventures.

More details are forthcoming about the Business Summit. Save The Date!
Event Date: 11-18-14
Event Time: 08:45 AM – 01:00 PM Mountain
Location: Larry Miller Megaplex
3001 North Thanksgiving Way
P.O. Box 154
Lehi, UT 84043
UNITED STATES

Contact Person: Mark Welcker
(phone: 801-836-0836)

Read More Or Register Here!

Pushbutton 2014 to Celebrate Utah Digital Media

-­‐      An  Evening  of  Recognition  for  Digital  Media  Innovators  -­‐

SALT LAKE CITY, October 14, 2014 – Grow Utah, Salt Lake County and Zions Bank announced today their hosting of the Utah’s premier digital media event, Pushbutton 2014. From games to animation, special effects to technical tool sets, and video to social campaigns, Pushbutton will celebrate and recognize Utah’s digital media innovators.

This year’s event, slated for the evening of November 12 at the Rose Wagner Performing Arts Center in Salt Lake City, will bring together leaders, students and supporters of all forms and uses of digital media. Now in its fourth year, this event is proving to be a highlight for anyone interested in Utah’s digital   media scene.

The event is organized and hosted by Grow Utah, Salt Lake County and Zions Bank. Event sponsors include Durham Jones and Pinegar, USTAR, Utah Valley University, EDUC, and BoomStartUp.

“We are thrilled to co-­‐host this event,” said A Scott Anderson, President and CEO of Zions Bank. “Utah’s digital media industry is thriving and growing with significant job opportunities available to our tech savvy work force.”

“Salt Lake County has an exceptional talent pool when it comes to digital media,” said Mayor Ben McAdams. “One of my top economic development priorities is to support this growing industry which holds the promise of good-­‐paying jobs for our graduates and fits perfectly in our thriving metropolitan business model.”

Event organizer, T. Craig Bott of Grow Utah highlighted new features of the 2014 event. “This year Pushbutton will center on an evening of recognition and awards that promises excitement, competition, innovative presentations, food and entertainment.”

Three new cash awards will be presented at Pushbutton. These include awards for the Best Student Work-­‐$3,000; Best Use of Digital Media-­‐ $3,000 and Best Digital Media Innovation-­‐ $10,000. Selected finalists will pitch their innovation on stage with the winner being selected by the crowd via text voting.

Highlights of Pushbutton 2014 will include:

Pocket Fest Film Festival

Selected winners from Utah’s first Pocket Fest film festival will be showcased. Pocket Fest spotlights all original film created on a mobile device (smartphone, tablet, and/or action cam).

Salt Lake Comic Con-­‐ Best Use of Digital Media Award Winner

Salt Lake Comic Con will receive the Best Use of Digital Media Award. Key executives from Salt Lake Comic Con will share their winning social marketing strategy and techniques that have propelled Salt Lake Comic Con to become the “best Comic Con in the world” as declared by Stan Lee, with attendance exceeding 100,000 attendees.

Reception and Showcase

An evening reception of food, networking and innovation displays will be held prior to the awards event.

Pushbutton Digital Media Legacy Award

The Pushbutton Legacy Award will be given to a leader in Utah’s digital media field for their contribution to the growth of the industry.

Best Student Work Award

As a part of Pushbutton 2014, a cash award will be given to the Best Student Work in digital media for the work created by a team of full time students.

Best Digital Media Innovation Award

Pushbutton’s premier award of $10,000 will be given to the winning digital media innovator. Three finalists will pitch their event on stage and be selected by a crowd vote from those in attendance.

On-­‐Stage After Party

An on-­‐stage after party will be hosted for all those in attendance.

Registration and event details can be found at www.PushButtonSummit.com  To accommodate all those interested, sponsors have helped reduce the price to only $10 this year. Summit seating is limited so early registration is recommended.

About Grow Utah Ventures

Grow Utah Ventures, is a privately funded, non-­‐profit organization dedicated to accelerate the creation of innovative, entrepreneur-­‐led, high-­‐growth businesses that will strengthen and expand the future growth of Utah’s economy. The vision of Grow Utah Ventures is to create a robust entrepreneurial eco-­‐ system in Utah that fosters entrepreneurial talent, drives innovation to solve market needs, aligns community resources and support, and ensures funding for products, entrepreneurs and businesses of promise.  Pushbutton is one of many industry related events that Grow Utah hosts throughout the year to foster innovation.

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PR Contacts: Justin Bott Grow Utah (801) 593-­‐2269

info@growutah.co

Salt Lake City Meets Value Proposition Design

Phase II of the G2M Business Accelerator is focused partly on developing a Business Model Canvas as described in the book Business Model Generation. A later book is being published called Value Proposition Design. The authors will be Salt Lake on October 24th from 5:30pm to 7:30pm at the event Salt Lake City Meets Value Proposition Design. You can register to attend HERE.

EVENT DETAILS:

The international success of Business Model Generation and the Business Model Canvas inspired us to celebrate the launch of the bestseller’s sequel – Value Proposition Design – with the international community of innovators and Strategyzer

We want visionaries that defy traditional business approaches to meet, brainstorm, and together, to revolutionise the fields of Innovation & Strategy by introducing more tools and structured approaches that catalyse value creation. With the force of this global community, we can together change the way business is done, forever.

We’re inviting enthusiasts that have pre-ordered the new book Value Proposition Design to join our event in Salt Lake City to network, attend a Q&A with the authors, win Strategyzer prizes and meet like-minded people to build extraordinary business models and value propositions.

Don’t wait to gain access to a proven methodology to succeed with value propositions that sell, embedded in profitable business models!

Please note that a printed copy of the book purchase receipt is mandatoryfor admission to this event! You can purchase the book here: www.strategyzer.com/value-proposition-design!

UVEF Presents: Q&A session with Mike Templeman & Austen Allred

UVEF Presents: Q&A – PR with Mike Templeman & Austen Allred – RSVP Now
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Eventbrite - UVEF Presents: Utah Seed Fund Summit 2014

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USTAR Confluence – University Research Meets Commercialization

Beginning November 3, USTAR will hold its inaugural two-day review of research teams, with special talks on commercialization initiatives and services, and a keynote speaker that will bridge the academic and commercialization perspectives.

The USTAR Confluence will kick off Monday, November 3 at 8:00 a.m. in the auditorium of the James L. Sorenson Molecular Biotechnology Building: A USTAR Innovation Center at the University of Utah. The Confluence will continue on November 4 with lunch provided both days. On November 3rd, an opening night networking reception will be held from 5:00-7:00 p.m. and will serve as the venue for graduate and post-doctoral poster presentations from students related to the two research universities during the poster session.

In conjunction with the reception, tours of the Nanofabrication facility will be provided. Additionally, the USTAR Confluence will include booth space for sponsors, industry partners and USTAR services. The USTAR Confluence seeks to stimulate entrepreneurial/commercial excitement within Utah while providing USTAR researchers the opportunity to share their research and projects. The event will also work to expand the community and provide stakeholders, investors and the public a rare opportunity to engage in the unique work of USTAR.

The keynote address will be given by Stacy Pierce, Principle Engineering Manager for Rockwell Collins.  Stacy has an impressive background in research, development and commercialization of simulators.

Each team is scheduled to present for 30 minutes. The goal of the meeting is to highlight the research being done by the USTAR teams, the direction of research in the coming year, and commercialization potential or successes.

Please register at:  https://www.eventbrite.com/e/ustar-confluence-where-research-meets-commercialization-tickets-12801645065.

UVEF EPIC Ventures’ Hot 100 Award

Now Accepting Applications

UVEF is now accepting applications for the EPIC Ventures’ Hot 100 Award. This award will recognize the 100 most buzzed about companies in Utah under 5 years old. There is no minimum income requirement or employee threshold to apply for this award. As long as you have a registered business in Utah under 5 years old, you can apply.

To submit your companies’ application, just visit click this link http://uvef.net/contests/utahs-hot-100-award/. Winners will be announced on December 1st.

Copyright © 2014 Utah Venture Entrepreneur Forum, All rights reserved.

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