Having a beer with friends the other night the topic was around missed business opportunities. Ok, all of us had more than a couple of those, especially back then, when we’re having loads of ideas aiming to change the world (at least). The one topic led to another and after some rounds (maybe more), we end up trying to shed light to what distinguishes a profitable startup idea from a non-profitable one. Is it the idea per se or the way you wrap it for the eyes of your VC?
Sadly enough and without any sense of romanticism, we all agreed that it’s the latter. That bitter sense of business gravitational force that pulls everything down to raw numbers. Proof of that is the number of times you were going like: “What? No, way this will sell”. But it did big time. So, to all young guns out there, two words of advice: Wrap your ideas and wrap them PROPERLY. We, the old dogs, gave our fights with VCs when we had to sell our non-wrapped ideas armed only with our passion.
But for you youngsters, there are no more excuses. You are lucky enough to start your business in the decade of PNR (Point of No Return). From all decades and centuries ago, this and the ones to follow are the most promising, (business-wise) liberating and democratic, in the sense that you have all the business tools to succeed in whatever it is you’re doing.
No excuses. You have SaaS tools that can move mountains, from dropping jaws cloud project management tools and task tracking software that run your projects with auto pilot “ON” to Enterprise Collaboration systems which can make teamwork online a reality! But before and above all, you have the new killing breed of Business Intelligence (BI) tools! If you have to choose from all tools just one to start you business, BI should be the only option. Good news, you don’t have to choose. Most of the best cloud CRMs come with powerful BI embedded. So powerful, that you need a life time to fully explore their potential.
These BI tools can transform any of your raw data into meaningful and useful information that will help you identify, develop and create new biz opportunities. Use your BI “responsibly” to explore these opportunities and to further implement competitive market strategies that will make VCs start looking where to sign.
The concept is old but the underline technologies and speeds have transformed BI tools to necessity. While common functions of Business Intelligence tools include reporting, data/process mining, etc. is the triplet of descriptive, predictive and and prescriptive analytics that is of outmost importance.
Simply put, descriptive analytics assist you in answering questions related to what happened and why did it happen. They mine historical data to look for the reasons behind past success or failure. It is a kind of post-mortem analysis commonly employed in sales, marketing, operations and finance. The next phase employed in BI tools is predictive analytics. Predictive analytics try to answer what will happen. They achieve this by combining historical with external “market” data all filtered by rules and fed to algorithms to determine the probable future outcome. Last but not least, prescriptive analytics are employed for suggesting actions to benefit from the predictions and showing the implications of each decision option. So in essence prescriptive analytics not only anticipate what and when it’ll happen, but also why it will happen making them essential decision making tools.
Got the picture? You’re not alone! You have your youth, your passion, your friends, a plethora of SaaS BI tools (a.k.a your best friends) and finally us the old guys right next to you for all your bitter and sweat moments ahead.
Androklis Mavridis is an expert in Project Management, Software Quality Assurance, Real Options and decision making in S/W investments