I) Start-Ups

When evaluating start-ups it is best to start by identifying the problem trying to be solved.

"...is it being sold in a unique, differentiated way or is it being sold in a way that anyone else can copy and there are very little barriers to entry..."

Paul Bassat as quoted by Anne Hyland, 2016

Then ask the following questions
- when is it going to be sold?
- have they got the timing right, ie are they too early or too late?
- who is solving the problem?
- do they have the right team to grow a business to a critical mass, eg from 20 to 500 staff, monthly revenue from $ 200,000 to 10 m.?

"...75% to 85% of any business is people; the other 15 or 20% is the business you are in, the strategy or the structure. People are the key..."

Peter Farrell as quoted by Joanna Gray 2015f

People planning is important.

More detailed questions to help "de-risk" start-up investment include
- do you have the right people to do the job, ie commercial nous?
- do you have the right internal people with the understanding of how to get it done?
- is the IP or technology protected?
- do you understand that they will be problems ahead?
Then conduct a financial analysis, ie
- where is the revenue to come from and how much?
- do you understand what to do?
- can you convince others to join you?

"...An imperfect business model with an  incredibly talented team beats an excellent business model with an average team..."

Paul Bassat as quoted by Anne Hyland, 2016

NB need to understand the mind-set that start-ups need to have, eg hunger, focus, horsepower, curiosity, etc; they need to be self-confident and have self-belief;  understand that they do not know all the answers and will need help from their team and other stakeholders. 
Most start-ups are very optimistic about their potential.
Advice to start-ups

"...Be in the moment and perhaps be a little more patient. Understand the importance of the journey and the end goal..."

Paul Bassat as quoted by Anne Hyland, 2016

Internet businesses fall into 2 broad categories, eg focus on
i) raising capital at higher and higher valuations, regardless of the underlying financial performance
ii) building real businesses

"...we are in an incredibly important time when software is leading the world and technology is eating every industry, company and job..."

Paul Bassat as quoted by Anne Hyland, 2016

Some impacts of social media include

- cheapness (once a campaign is launched, its distribution is "free"; dealing with a tweet is cheaper than a call to a customer centre)

- viral nature (uncontrollable; once information is out there, it is common knowledge; no privacy or confidentiality)

- speed (real time, eg Qantas Flight QF32, Michael Jackson's death; put a question out there and get feedback within minutes;

- data, etc (taps into a great wealth of data, information and knowledge)

- convenience (90% of consumer believe it saves them time shopping; 40% use the web for competitive shopping; home-bound people use the Internet for communications, including contact with friends & relatives, shopping, health care, etc)

Five ways to bring your staff on-side re social media
There is an increasing number of people willing to share good and bad work experience on social media; this has doubled since 2012 to 2015. Research has shown that 66% of people will share negative work experiences with friends and colleagues; 34% will post information about the bad experiences online (Timna Jacks, 2015). As a result there is a need to get staff onside t0 post online praise rather than negatives. The 5 ways:
i) encourage social media use
(this means lead by example by posting information about your organisation which staff are allowed to contribute to, share or comment on. Guide staff in the use of social media to advance the organisation's objectives plus their own work profile. 
ii) launched an internal social media platform
(start an internal platform where staff can chat, collaborate and air opinions. Management needs to respond quickly to any staff complaints)
iii) respond to output on social media
(most jobseekers agree that their perception of an organisation improves after seeing an executive respond to a review. if comments are negative, don't be defensive but respond to the issues being raised and if required follow-up when they are rectified. When reviews are positive, take the opportunity to provide deep insights to what was said and why it's important)
iv) create usable content for social media (
when launching a new service or product, upload information so that staff can use it and share it on social media; ensure that good tools are available to send out positive messages to the market; create an online culture and online feel)
v) build trust with your staff
(build a working environment that fosters trust and this will encourage your staff to portray a better image of your organisation online. Your social media policy should have clear guidelines about sharing confidential information, recommendations on how and when staff can speak on the behalf of the organisation, and legal considerations such as discrimination concerns. Never underestimate the power of staff authentically talking about their experiences within the organisation)

Social media use of the internet has caused monumental changes in industries, eg the demise of many great corporations whose influence & profitability seemed unassailable like

On the other hand some traditional players have adapted and survived like Dymocks. With more than 1/3 of Dymock's competitors like Borders, Angus and Robertson, etc have gone out of business in the last decade; retail, book sales have fallen by more than 5% a year over the last 5 years while online book sales have surged 26% a year (Sue Mitchell, 2014). Dymocks have bucked this trend by embracing

- franchising (a good franchisee can get an extra 20 to 30% more sales out of a given store as it is like an owner/operator business with their own money involved and extra work hours they willingly amazonput in)

- e-commerce (selling books on the Internet)

- using "Big Data" to analyse customers' shopping habits and to drive sales through its "Booklovers" club, ie

"...Dymocks' same-store sales rose 8% last financial year - well ahead of the 1.3% growth in the total book market - and sales in the first quarter of 2014 have risen 8.6%..."

Sue Mitchell, 2014

"...The data analysis allows us to identify customers far more individually and what they like and don't like and what turns them on. It enables us to give them the service where they require it, whether it's online click-and-collect or in-store."

John Forsyth, CEO, Dymocks as quoted by Sue Mitchell, 2014

- media (e-newsletters/TV v. print - the latter have

i) falling readership & circulation, eg for 23 quarters Australian newspaper circulation has fallen

ii) falling advertising income

iii) mass staff lay-offs, etc

- music (change from large records-making studio/labels and disc-jockey/radio controlled stations to use of lap-tops and Internet)

- finance (internet banking v. cheque where the latter cost over US 1.00 to handle as opposed to a few cents; ATMs worldwide)

- retail stores (online buying v shopping centre; with more people buying products on-line, the shopping centres are struggling)

- gambling (online gambling v traditional book-makers (horses), pubs/clubs (poker machines), etc; on-line is growing rapidly & diversifying into new areas like team sports, social gambling, etc; seen as entertainment)

- tele-medicine (virtual doctors). As early as 1924, a US doctor used a television link to consult on surgery; in 1960, NASA began monitoring astronauts in space. Despite the introduction of smart phones and tablets, most healthcare still happens face-to-face as the need for security and privacy is great. Electronic versions of sensitive documents such as x-rays or doctor's notes need to be as secure as paper ones. In August 2014, one of US's biggest hospital groups claimed the Chinese stole data on 4.5 m. patients (The Economist, 2014b).

Some countries like Israel have a health system that is fully digitalised with all doctors using electronic medical records and patients having access to their data; prescriptions and referrals are done on the Internet. Also, developing countries, like Rwanda, can use leading international specialists from USA via the Internet. Tele-medicine will only save costs if it replaces the old routines.

A further development is the use of drones to be sent to the patient with instructions how to use medical equipment and/or provide photos of patient for health professionals to be able diagnosis from. They can deliver medical equipment in 1/10th of the time it takes an ambulance to do the dame job.

 

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