The Essence of A Business Model

Robert H. Lane
A simple way to focus on what matters in your business model is look at these two questions:

Can you find a scalable way to acquire customers
Can you then monetize those customers at a significantly higher level than your cost of acquisition

Thinking about things in such simple terms can be very helpful. I have also developed two “rules” around the business model, which are less hard and fast “rules, but more guidelines. These are outlined below:

The CAC / LTV... read more

Is Your Positioning ABLE?

Robert H. Lane


Many brands position is by chance. Or at best arrived at looking through their own filters rather than their customer's. The principle at work here is that success is most predicated on choosing the right position. All other strategic issues pale in importance. Choose the right position and it is hard to mess up execution enough to not have a measure of financial success. Choose the wrong position and even exceptionally superior effort may not yield much of a... read more

Being a Valuable Asset to a Board

Robert H. Lane
Let me give you a very brief bit of history of boards!

Boards have existed since the 17th or 18th century in different forms and with evolving functions. They have evolved very slowly and been often very reactive to change, relative to other corporate functions.

Through an ongoing cycle of corporate scandal -> new rules -> corporate scandal-and now cyber-attacks, Boards of Directors have been saddled with new and ever more complex requirements. This has been to the detriment of other... read more

Risks for the Entrepreneur

Robert H. Lane
To consider taking the entrepreneurial leap already sets a person apart from the vast majority of men and women who will never come close to actually leaving the world of regular wages or salaries. However, the cold and often harsh reality of the risks taken typically come with that leap – when the last paycheck is left behind and life is reduced to a single objective – make the business work. It is perhaps the most “arresting” moment in anyone’s working life and... read more

No Good Picking up speed if you're on the wrong road.

Derek A. Lackey
We have seen many a start-up recognize what they believe to be a need in the market place, think it through rigorously with their team, build the solution to the problem they defined only to get their hat handed to them by their desired marketplace. It is arrogant to base all go to market assumptions on one point of view.   We say one point of view because we all know your staff will jump off a cliff if you tell them to. Especially if you tell them how it will help the start up... read more

Start-ups and Hired Professionals

Derek A. Lackey
Most start-ups think professionals like lawyers, accountants, business counsel and communications professionals are a "nice-to-have" but often feel they don’t have the budget to engage them.  Alyssa Richard, CEO and Founder of put it this way: " If you think professionals are too expensive to hire, just wait until you find out how expensive it was not to hire them".

In the early days Alyssa thought they were a "nice to have" and saved the money. She used boilerplate... read more

Is A Product Ever Fully Baked?

Derek A. Lackey
We always do the very best with what we have - right now.

If new insights are revealed or changes in the market affect a product we already have out there, it is our responsibility to continuously improve those offerings. Our inside look at hundreds of businesses suggests this often happens more by chance than by design.

We are suggesting these improvements always be by design and re-visited often. Without specific processes designed to address this, it is unlikely to happen on a regular... read more

Start-Ups: What It Takes To Win

Derek A. Lackey
Most successful start-ups have a few key elements in common.  Without them a start up will not likely be anything more than a lifestyle business - one that provides the owner a decent lifestyle. By definition a lifestyle business is not a start-up.

What do we mean by ‘start-up’? It is a business built to grow exponentially. Many business ideas require capital to grow, but some will scale, growing quickly with small changes to the process, via the internet. For our purposes... read more

Chief Executive Officer or Chief Evangelist Officer?

Derek A. Lackey
Start-ups are often perceived as "the little guys with a big vision". They usually discover how a process or product can be made better, cheaper, faster or some variation on this. They craft a logical story around their vision and begin telling anybody who will listen, often tweaking the story as they go.

So once the essence of your story is put together, how do you sell your idea to specific audiences? Do you hire a proven sales professional who's job it is to call on targeted companies,... read more

We'd Be Screwed If...

Derek A. Lackey
One of the difficult parts of being the fearless leader about to lead his/her troops through the complex world of a start up, is maintaining your unwavering commitment to the core concept while remaining truly objective about it.

We often lose perspective, actually "drinking our own Kool-aid".  In other words we come to believe the pitch and all of the CRITICAL ASSUMPTIONS without questioning them as people with a fresh perspective might. Do you simply blow them off with thoughts like... read more

CEO Success | The Key Factors

Robert H. Lane
In the past 20 years, much has been learned about successful entrepreneurial ventures and the skills required that seem to have the most positive impact of this success. Although many leadership skills are highly valued only five translate into successful corporate performance.

• Financial Management
• Effective Communication Skills • Motivational Skills
• Vision
• Commitment

Another important finding relates to the people structure and chain of command. As a... read more

Selling Left-Handed Monkey Wrenches to Left-Handed Plumbers

Derek A. Lackey
Co-founder of Hub Spot, Dharmesh Shah says, the internet is great at connecting makers of left-handed monkey wrenches with left-handed plumbers around the world. But the makers of left-handed monkey wrenches must:

1. be very clear that they make left-handed monkeys wrenches

not tell everyone about their full line of wrenches, hammers, screwdrivers and saws

talk directly to left-handed plumbers and not be tempted to include right-handed plumbers, general contractors,... read more


Derek A. Lackey

Blogs | Bio

Robert H. Lane

Blogs | Bio
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Effective Go to Market Strategies For Start Ups

9 out 10 start ups do not survive. One of the primary reasons is: their target audience does not know what the offer is and why they need it in their lives.

All too often a start up has a great idea, well executed. Then the challenge of clearly describing the offering in a way that connects and moves your audience to action. In this book Derek A. Lackey and Robert H.Lane address the key issues and help you think your way through this challenging stage. Many start ups find themselves having to do this several times due to pivots driven by the market feedback. This is a muscle every start up needs to build in order to be successful in this busy marketplace.