Jason KaniganBusiness Strategist & Conversion Expert

Founder at Cold Star Technologies, a process engineering professional services firm.
Business Strategy, Sales Training, Funnel Design, Copywriting, Process Engineering & Improvement
Visit https://www.salestactics.org for unorthodox sales & marketing expertise. More at https://www.coldstartech.com

Recent Answers

How much interaction do you plan to have between attendees? Consider the platform best suited to your requirements, rather than trying to make the square peg fit into the round hole.

If it is mostly one-way, essentially like television with a presenter and everyone else passively listening, occasionally with a raised hand and question, then a Zoom webinar is sufficient. I've used this myself.

But if there are to be multiple simultaneous subjects, you'll need breakout rooms or a different kind of tool.

Should people be meeting in pairs or small groups, rather than everyone in the same group...and you want them to have mobility? Apps like gatherly and gather.town let participants walk around as if they are on a city block or in a large room. As they approach other people chatting, the sound of that conversation picks up.

Do sponsors need booths? Airmeet might be the answer.

If you are going to be a presenter, perhaps the keynote speaker, then I strongly recommend hiring a master of ceremonies or manager to keep track of timing, segments, moving people to rooms etc. Your mind needs to be on being seen, not managing things. These are two different jobs.

The most critical item here is intellectual property. Who owns the idea? The company.

So you have a potential issue there. They are unlikely to want to give up any ownership share since they already own the idea.

Did you sign a non-compete agreement when you came aboard? How about the team members you're considering?

The fact of the matter is a spinoff will only happen if senior leadership at the company agrees it should.

Now, are you stuck? No. You can talk to whoever asked you to form the team, and sound them out about the idea. You can use the argument that you'll be creating massive value, and one of the ways to remunerate you for doing that is by giving you ownership shares.

You'll see pretty quickly what their attitude is regarding the idea.

Note that there may be consequences to "tipping your hand early".

As another possibility, if you did not sign a non-compete clause, you have the option of forming a competing company. You can get paid to learn, developing the original idea with your current employer. Then, with the experience of having lead the creation of the idea and knowledge of what to do, you can take that track record to investors. You may even be able to bring some members of the team along.

I leave it to you to decide how ethical that approach is.

In my opinion, without knowing your boss or the people above them, it is difficult to see an easy path to a spinoff. There is too much for them to lose by giving up ownership. They can simply hire a manager, especially after you've done the hard startup work.

If you had an owner like Felix Dennis, I can imagine him setting you up with an ownership stake, fuel for the fire, and shouting an encouraging, "Go!" But people like him are rare.

So don't put the cart before the horse and come up with intricate plans for dividing up the spoils. You have a big sales job to do first. If you want to discuss that, I'm available.

Go back to your sense of Identity. Who are you? What do you stand for? Not your name... your values. Vivid Vision by Cameron Herald could be useful, as would be the now-old Start With Why Ted Talk by Simon Sinek which you can find on YouTube.

Which of these ideas you're looking at resonates the most with your identity? Use a weighted decision matrix if that helps.

Go to YouTube and search for "Steve Blank customer development". Watch two of his lectures so you get the point. Buy the book Business Model Generation and learn about the business model canvas.

Founders are all delusional. We need to confirm or deny our vision by actually talking with potential customers. Yet few want to do this.

"Since I think the product may not be patenatable or complex"... I recommend you talk to an expert who helps people patent their inventions. They'll give you feedback on the reality of your situation...and they will likely be able to show you how to patent your product in a way you haven't considered. eg. utility patent.

People do invent products and then license the production and sale of them to an established company that has a distribution channel. In return they get a royalty.

Disclaimer: I am not a lawyer nor an accountant, and this is not "professional advice."

I have, however, set up a few businesses and had partners.

What you need to do is incorporate and then write up an Operating Agreement that lays out the terms of your partnership.

Who owns what.

How the new partner will "buy into" the organization with their sweat equity.

What happens when revenue targets are reached.

And how exactly you separate when it's time to move on.

Lay these details out and more in your operating agreement. You'll be so happy you did, later.

When you incorporate, you may do this on your own...or you may want an attorney or accountant to help. They will know how to set up an operating agreement, but now that you know the term it's likely you can google a template. There'll be a lot of technical mumbo jumbo in there you probably won't need, but the section headers will guide you in the right direction.

Many people have asked questions like yours, and I've answered a bunch of them. Get an NDA if you want.

But the truth is, most people are too busy with their own pet ideas to bother with yours.

You're in love with it.

We have other things on our minds.

I wrote a blog post with a nifty 2X2 chart in it to explain how, most of the time, you're safe:

If you look at competitors or books from branding experts or even books written by professionals wanting to help others in their industry, you'll see the same kind of language:

"wide range of services"
"top quality"
"meet your business needs"

Everyone looks and sounds identical.

And the value proposition boils down to: "Hire us because
we're smart."

It's awful.

To differentiate yourself, you need to change your language. Stop talking about "the thing." There's a saying about doctors: they fall in love with the disease, but forget about the patient. You need to remember about the patient.

I made a video blog discussing exactly this: https://www.jasonkanigan.org/what-to-do-if-you-are-a-commodity/

Chiropractors often sell supplements to drive revenue in their business. They're capped out like dentists and tradespeople on the hours they can crack backs (or 'drill and fill' as the dentists do), so supplements are a great complimentary product that doesn't eat time to fulfill. You'll see a bunch of them and doctors getting into CBD oil now. Their client base already has trust in them so these recommendations are easy to swallow heh heh.

Be looking for your version of supplements in the architectural field. Something complimentary, that your clientele already trusts you about, that you can earn a recurring income on while not using up more of your time.

One advantage I see them having over you is I presume they see more people in a day. What can you do to increase the number of people you see in a day, to leverage your
"architect authority" and drive the income stream of the complimentary product or service?

Could be as easy as loans: helping people rent money from your position as a professional.

Food for thought.

Wow, can I nominate this for Question of the Year?

Seriously! Most of the questions on here are from people who have done nothing so far...and I don't respond to them. Finally something exciting to answer!

So I asked this question in the co-founder role about a year and a half ago as our own team was growing. I am NOT a "fast mover" though am a quick start type, and I wanted to find out how I personally could move faster and complete more things. That has lead me into starting a new company all about speed of execution and operational excellence.

Here are the chief things I discovered, and they'll probably surprise you:

1. Delegate better

You need to provide not only the objective but the scope, so your subordinates can make decisions on their own. Decisions that would either mimic the one you'd make, or even better, be superior to yours.

Most delegators give a direction but no scope. So when a roadblock occurs, those carrying it out have to come back to the task giver and keep asking questions for clarification. This slows everything to a crawl.

"Get Italian food for the team for lunch," you direct. "I want food they won't object to, at an affordable price."

That's a good delegation instruction. If the local usual Italian place is closed, they know to find another. And if they can't find Italian at all, they can look for affordable food that people have heard of (no edible bird's nest, I'm afraid.)

In a typical delegation something is missing. "Get Italian food for everyone," or "I don't know, something affordable."

We can all work on this.

2. Write your processes down

The disclaimer here is this is a main part of what we do at my firm: process documentation and process engineering.

But the facts are I am not with a hammer looking at everything as a nail, and nearly all businesses don't have their processes written down.

This leads to lack of consistency, that time- and energy-wasting question loop, and results we don't want.

SOPs are living documents to be revisited every quarter or every half-year. They provide guardrails for people to operate inside, and they result in speed.

Some people complain SOPs kill creativity. This is an incorrect assumption. You build the creativity into the process steps, and there it is. The fact of the matter is they usually think process mapping is mind mapping...and it's not. BTW I shot a quick video about that:


3. Get a Chief of Staff

I'm going to share some of my "secret sauce" now because maybe six people are reading this so who cares. The one I want to get the info is reading and that's what matters to me.

As I began investigating the question of, "How do large organizations work?" (and I'm familiar with multinationals up to say around 5000 people, but I wanted examples of hundreds of thousands or even larger) I ran into the concept of Chief of Staff. This is the person who takes the strategic directives and translates them into tactical orders.

For an army, the Chief of Staff takes the direction of "Reduce Paris" and turns it into "Move the Fourth Army up this road, and the Eighth Army up this other road. Have the kitchen and logistics units advance 24 hours ahead to set up resupply bases along the way," etc.

The German Army of 1914 came up. Yeah, that's the secret sauce. And nobody reading with the exception of one of you will do anything about it because you don't get it. That's fine. It was a huge organization with institutional memory, a fantastic training program, and a thing called the great general staff.

How was it organized? What was the relationship between the Chief of Staff and the general in charge? You can learn a ton about organization and speed from their example. I recommend the 2-part book series "Chief of Staff" (surprise, I know, right?) that vignettes leaders plus has a great opening chapter on the founding and organization of the role.

4. Delegate In Order

There is a "correct order" to what tasks you delegate, and I discovered this in my search a year and a half ago. As soon as I saw this video I shared it with my co-founder...we both enthusiastically agreed with it and knew precisely what step we were on at the moment--and what was coming up next.

It helped so much: https://www.salestactics.org/evan

I hope you found this useful and if you want to dig into more about operational excellence we should speak.

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