It All Starts with an Idea
…but what’s next?
Every day, folks all over the country embark on business ventures in an effort to turn great ideas into thriving businesses. Unfortunately, it takes more than just a novel concept or a handy product to yield favorable outcomes. According to Bloomberg, 8 out of 10 entrepreneurs who start businesses fail within the first 18 months. There’s no magic potion or “get rich quick” tonic to guarantee success, and the basic measures that have proven to establish a strong foundation in startup environments won’t always work.
Queue LaunchPad Holdings, Executive Glen Wakeman, coupling the tried and true steps of business planning with high-level, automated insights. LaunchPad’s mission aims to help new businesses think big, “building enterprises and not just products.” Having developed a rich career building and managing companies around the world, Wakeman now seeks to enact a “pay it forward” spirit, helping others reach the potential that stems from a great idea by simply engaging in an introspective process.
A 20-year-long career with his old company leading thousands of employees spanning 9 different countries paved the way for this big idea of Glen Wakeman’s career: software that could analyze an idea and deliver a professional business plan from concept through funding. While it sounds too good to be true, Wakeman’s own business experience has built LaunchPad Holdings to be an amalgamation of these insights.
The founder’s broad set of skills helped to outline LaunchPad’s mission: simplify and refine business models for new entrepreneurs seeking guidance. The conception of LaunchPad Holdings was also a product of Wakeman’s personal experience in consultation.“I was approached by many startup folks with excellent business ideas which did not work for them.” says Wakeman. “I then asked myself the reasons for that high rate of failure and realized it was because the structure of the ideas was not properly organized. An idea does not constitute a plan.”
From this breakthrough, Wakeman curated what he refers to as a unique “five-step methodology:” the backbone and guiding principles behind Launchpad’s solutions. By detailing and analyzing these five key considerations step-by-step, Wakeman believes that new entrepreneurs are forced to resolve issues in a specific order, becoming better equipped to avoid the pitfalls or failures that result from poor planning.
Glen Wakeman is the first to note that LaunchPad’s initial queries are seemingly simple; but, the simplicity breeds clarity, thus defining every subsequent piece of the puzzle. Start with determining one basic element:“The customer expectations, the benefit, the differentiator, and the method of reaching the customer — which we can also call sales. That’s your starting point.”Marketing, he says, is the first layer of formulating your plan, as it is the realm that deals with the consumer. Without them in place, your “great idea” is dead in the water. LaunchPad’s steps in identifying marketing goals seem basic, but Wakeman guarantees that the questions asked in this portion work to steer the entrepreneur away from loving their idea to a fault or forging ahead on ideas at the expense of articulating the value, thus forsaking the consumer. This portion of the methodology forces business planners to start with a few simple questions:
- What is the benefit?
- Why is it different?
- Why would a customer buy this?
Wakeman assures the responses garnered here awaken “all these different components underneath,” and set the foundation of a credible plan.
After identifying value and consumer expectations, the plan must outline how the idea moves from conception to reality. Again, basic questions force the entrepreneur to evaluate answers that dig deeper into underlying discoveries:
- Do you know what to do to create your product?
- Do you know the right order in which to complete the necessary steps?
- Do you have the ability to manage product creation so that it is delivered on time?
In this stage of Wakeman’s methodology, the business must analyze the team surrounding the mission. By identifying every possible role — whether it’s the front line, or marketing or a full team in factory production — the business must delegate each specific task to a competent member. The future of the business and its corresponding success will depend on the management of talent. Wakeman explains that“the talent ought to directly match the operations, which is why it comes afterward in the process.” This step is accompanied by the following questions:
- Do you have the skills in place to execute your operational plan?
- If not, what skills do you need to acquire in order to execute?
In keeping with the theme of “basic is better” for the realizations that come along with following the step-by-step methodology, LaunchPad focuses the financial portion solely on cash-flow:
- Do you have enough cash on hand to accomplish what you’re proposing?
- How much cash are you planning on getting back?
Encompassed in these two simple questions, planners are forced to consider every cost associated with their plan, including marketing, operations and talent. Wakeman hails this step as a key insight for entrepreneurs, as thinking strictly in terms of cash-in and cash-out make the financial process straightforward and less daunting.
- Risk Management
Successful planning leans on the first four steps in Glen Wakeman’s unique methodology. Thoroughly evaluating these is in itself enacting step number 5: vital risk management. LaunchPad delivers its final, most introspective question to the hopeful entrepreneur:
- Have you identified those things which are fatal flaws?
In examining all the work done in the 5 steps, LaunchPad aims to help identify obstacles and create solutions. While Wakeman realizes that no plan is without flaws, he asks you to dig deep and resolve any piece that could potentially be fatal.
Launch Your Success
Fusing decades of insider experience with basic observations that require a proliferative thought process, Glen Wakeman’s LaunchPad software creates a rare opportunity for budding businesses. Pairing the consultation insights that could only be provided by a senior-level executive with introspective analysis makes LaunchPad’s software especially remarkable. The services cost around $100, and typically help the user formulate distinctive, viable business plans in under an hour. It all starts with a great idea…but as Wakeman notes, an idea should never be mistaken for a plan. Launch your own success in 5 simple steps, learn more at LaunchPadToolkit.com.