Be Prepared for YES

Proper prior preparation prevents piss poor performance. Rule of the seven “Ps,” U.S. Army, c. 1970 and possibly long before.

At a hospitality suite during a two-day business seminar, those hosting the event are obviously promoting their products to the attendees. Freshly pumped with a flood of information, a potential way to use this new-found information begins to formulate in your brain. It is still rattling around connecting with this possibility and that, some of which are humorously impractical; but one seems to be on more solid ground. Eager to try this out on someone else, you approach one of the vendor’s representatives with your concept and he answers, “Yes, we do this every day. In fact we just implemented such a program with one of your competitors.”

Now that the application of this concept that you envision seems possible, you are burning to tell one of the higher ups in your company about it. Although your eagerness may be somewhat powered by alcohol, pause. First, have you sufficiently thought through the concept and its ramifications? Secondly, can you implement the program if you were asked to run it?

Knowledge based requirements

Although the product that you have been told about has all of the excitement that new technology can bring, do you know enough about it to effectively sell it? How much is this going to cost in time and money to implement? What new people are going to be involved? I Is this new product or operational concept going to increase profits or reduce costs? Is there likely to be a profitable return on investment? Is this a logical extension of the company’s line?

The product being discussed at the seminar might have been industrial machinery. It could be a new method for recruiting talent. It might have been a discussion of innovative organizational structures. Perhaps it was an innovative approach to marketing, advertising or product packaging. Any of these can have impacts on your company. Have you sufficiently thought about what those might be, before approaching your bosses with it? If you are satisfied that you have, then go ahead with some preliminary feelers. Say nothing too solid yet, just an inquiry to judge the potential degree of interest. If the answer is “yes” or a “maybe,” then you have time to work up a formal proposal, which would probably be asked for anyway.

Personal factors

We all have lives, and these life happenings very often interfere with business. With what you can anticipate in your near-term future, can you actually take this idea from concept to presentation to implementation. Perhaps you can do the concept and presentation without any problem, but a family illness, planned vacation or health problem might prevent you from being able to implement the program. In such a case, who do you recommend to lead the project? Obviously, this person needs to be brought into the project as soon as possible. If you do not have a person in hand, then at the least the project leader’s requirements need to be specifically outlined so that the Human Resources Department knows what kind of candidates to bring in for interviews.

Financial aspects

Return on investment, shareholder value and market share are all catch phrases that you will need to supply information about. Someone will ask about these at the discussion of any change in the company’s product or operational methods. It is likely if you are a “concept guy,” you are not well versed on making estimates that are based on anything but hopeful wishes. You need harder information and will have to go to someone else to help you get it. In short, you need to cultivate a friendship with someone in the accounting to help you out. These are things that they have received training on, but may never have had a chance to put that training into practice. Find someone who is excited about doing more than handling payroll and see if you can elicit their aid.

You don’t have time

Already faced with a 12-hour work day and travel two weekends a month, there is no way you can touch this project, however appealing it might be. In former times when there was a group of relatively new hires, such investigations could be passed on to one of the junior staff. Nowadays, there are few, if any, junior staff with many companies. Another possibility is to contract with one of the company’s retirees who might be eager to reconnect with those he once knew and work on a significant project. Another option is to hire a gig employee to come in, look at the concept and report on it. You could not expect as good a result as would come if someone intimately involved with the company did the work, but it might be serviceable, and your gig employee might even become a regular employee if you liked his work and you thought he had the capabilities of managing this project. Another possibility is to depend entirely on the company who made the product to make recommendations on how to fit it into your company and run it for you on a contract basis. In such cases, they would be responsible for selling the product to company management. This does happen, but at the costs of effectively bringing a partner into the company who controls a vital part company operations.

Business ideas are like children. You want to give them a fair chance to be seen, heard and perhaps even tried before they are rejected. Before you propose an idea, be prepared to help it grow into a prosperous adulthood.

Author's Bio: 

Wm. Hovey Smith is a registered Professional Geologist in Georgia. He is also a member of several writers’ organizations including the Professional Outdoor Media Association (POMA), the Outdoor Writers Association of America (OWAA) and the Georgia Outdoor Writers Association (GOWA). He is the author of 18 books with his most recent title being “Create Your Own Job Security: Plan to Start Your Own Business at Midlife.” He has been a radio host and does public speaking on work and environmental topics with appearances in the U.S., Europe and China. He is an active blogger and the producer of over 725 YouTube videos on outdoor and business topics.