Business opportunity #1

January 17, 2010

As I go through the process of considering my next business (this has been a long process, I sold my last business nine years ago) I find myself thinking long and hard about what I want to do, what I can do and what will provide a return.

There are three businesses that I’m currently considering.  The filter I’m using to assess all three is based on Jim Collins’ Hedgehog.

(1) What do I want to do (passion).

(2) What am I good at (skill).

(3) What can provide me with an adequate return (economic engine).

Essentially, he argues that great businesses only focus on those opportunities where passion, skill and ability to generate profits cross.  I think the Hedgehog can be used for individuals too.

I’m going to post a three part series that run through an analysis of each of these opportunities framed using the Hedgehog (1 not at all, 3 totally).  I’m not yet at a stage where I want to publicly broadcast details on these opportunities, but if you’re interested in learning more then send me a message.  I’m more than happy to talk offline.

Opportunity S

(1) Passion

I describe my passions as deal making, leading, managing, motivating, team building, boating, jogging, biking, reading, politics, finance, BC’s southern Gulf Islands, business and Vancouver.

My passions as described by my personal board of directors: “big picture”, politics, drive my own vision (not someone else’s), control, client facing, see things work, instinct, not bigco, managing.

  • Deal making: 1
  • Leading: 3
  • Managing: 3
  • Motivating: 3
  • Team building: 3
  • Boating, jogging, biking, reading, politics, finance: 1
  • BC’s Southern Gulf Islands: 1
  • Business: 3
  • Vancouver: 3
  • Big picture: 3
  • Drive my own vision: 3
  • Control: 3
  • Client facing: 2
  • See things work: 2
  • Instinct: 3
  • Not bigco: 3

This opportunity would certainly provide me with an opportunity to once again lead and build a team, drive my own vision, follow my instinct (I think there’s an opportunity here) and make deals with suppliers.  If successful it would provide me with time to pursue the “other” passions – boating etc.

(2) Skill

As identified by my personal board of directors: people, strategy, advising, relationships, goal driven, process oriented, structured, execution, sales, presentation and verbal skills.

  • People: 2
  • Strategy: 3
  • Advising: 1
  • Relationships: 1
  • Goal driven: 3
  • Process oriented: 3
  • Structured: 3
  • Execution: 3
  • Sales: 2
  • Presentation/communication: 1
  • Verbal: 1

(3) Economic engine.

This opportunity is an online store that is very focused on a single market niche.  The market is large, the margins are good.  If volume were achieved then the business would be very profitable.  There is competition and I don’t see a “game changing” component.  It would add convenience and provide an easy place for consumers to go for esoteric versions of the product.

Really profitable online opportunities are game changing.  For example, Amazon changed the entire way we buy books and has become a great company.  This opportunity doesn’t have that game changing component, so can it be really lucrative?

  • Economic prospects: 2

Enterprize 2009

January 21, 2009

Enterprize 2009

As some of you know, I am consulting to the University of British Columbia in the formation of a campus wide program in entrepreneurship.  It’s been eight years since I owned my own business, so while I can’t consider myself a current entrepreneur, I certainly have the bruises to prove that I am entrepreneurial (stay tuned for the results of my current business pursuit).

I’ll post on our program as it evolves over the course of the next several months, but in the interim let me plug a terrific group of UBC students who are putting together Canada’s premier student run business plan competition.

Enterprize Canada (www.enterprizecanada.org) is a Canadian national business plan competition that provides students from across this country an opportunity to have their business concepts and plans vetted, critiqued and submitted for all sorts of prizes and accolades.  I know one of the organizers (Boris Remes) and if his method of operating is any indication of the quality of this event it will be a incredible buffet of entrepreneurial excitement!

As I go through the process of forming UBC’s entrepreneurship program, I’m constantly invigorated by this university’s entrepreneurial talent.   Whether it’s the 2nd year Applied Science student who has a growing business and is struggling to decide whether to finish his degree, or the young alumna who is building the next great web 2.0 business – these young entrepreneurs are incredible.

If you’re a business person who wants a look at the next generation of business leaders, an investor looking for the next great thing, a mentor give something back to today’s young entrepreneurs or even an entrepreneur looking for mentorship, skills development, money or profile then check out this event.