Porter’s Preface: Fire, Fire, Fire, Aim

October 20th, 2009 by admin

Today we begin exploring Chapter 13 of Bootstrap Business:  Fire, Fire, Fire, Aim.  Rich and Ron discuss the importance of rapidly firing when beginning your small business.

So, your heart is right and your head is on straight. You’ve had the grit you need ever since chapter one and you really want to start your own venture. That’s fine, but how will you get going? If you are like many entrepreneurs, you have big dreams and big plans and don’t want to mess up. You want to make those big plans as clear and detailed as possible. Qualifying and quantifying the market, writing a detailed business plan, and drafting a pro forma are all very good things to do, but they have one thing in common: they take time.

For Rich, expending all that precious time for planning has a consistent rate of success: zero. Even so, he has done it, I have done it, and you may have, too. Rich has some good insights about why the rate of success is zippo. See, the thing about exhaustive planning is that it is comfortable. Taking months to answer every possible cash flow and marketing question lets you play with your gold nugget of an idea, turning it over in your hands and patting yourself on the back. This is comfortable. Planning is a lot of hard work, but it isn’t risky work. Spending days without end sweating over every minuscule detail of a business plan is easy compared to hitting the streets, getting your hands dirty, and doing the hard work of making your business happen. Once you have spent several months pushing pencils and drafting documents, you finally have the courage to begin. You have a safe plan in your entrepreneurial holster to load and fire into the market. You settle in, take aim, fire, and…

…Bang, you’re dead. You missed the wave, you overstated your potential, you let your competitors beat you to market—business failed. Most entrepreneurs want to have a plan with answers for every contingency, but you cannot afford to do the comfortable thing when your gold nugget can start making cash now. You need to get to work.

But don’t you need to plan? Rich is about to explain that planning skills help, sure, but he has had a lot of success using another, less conventional method. It is one of his most powerful tools in creating new businesses. He likes to call it “Fire, Fire, Fire, Aim.”

When he shared the concept with me the first time, I thought he’d spent too much time hiking at extremely high altitudes. Go to market before you have a business plan? Fire, Fire, Fire, Aim went against everything I had been taught! Much to my surprise, as I tested Fire, Fire, Fire, Aim with Rich, I discovered what he already knew: it works!

In this chapter, Rich will explain why you need to shoot first and aim later. He’ll share his Four Phase Model for business growth. Understanding the way your business grows—and how you need to react to that growth—helps clarify when to fire and when to wait. Fire, Fire, Fire, Aim may seem counterintuitive, but by the time you have read this chapter, your heart, head, and determination will be ready to start gunning for success.

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