Script from BRIO Academy’s Entrepreneur’s Roadmap Chapter: Introduction Video
Slide 1: [Introduction]
Hi, my name is Tom Berger; I will be your guide for this chapter. It consists of a series of videos intended to help you get started and travel down the road to success. My goal is to help you move from the foggy idea stage through the initial steps of formulating a plan to converting your idea into reality. The material that we will cover is the most critical that an entrepreneur should consider. It will be the foundation of your business. Without a firm foundation, any business will certainly crumble.
I carefully selected the term “guide” instead of presenter, coach, mentor, or several other terms. My intent is to guide you along your journey to success. Undoubtedly, you will experience ups and downs, delays, and various hazards along the way. I hope to help you avoid them or, at least, minimize their impacts on you and your business.
Slide 2: [Tom Berger, your guide]
First, a little about me. I am an Electrical Engineer with Bachelor’s and Master’s Degrees. I worked for publicly traded companies for twenty-two years. Seventeen of those years were with Motorola. While there, I worked in a variety of areas including engineering, sales, marketing, and product management. After Motorola, I was one of the founders of a joint venture between Motorola and IBM. We built out and ran the world’s largest wireless data network that covered every major population area in the US. The network was operational long before data services were available on cellular systems.
After that, I ran six different venture capital-backed startups. Some were successful; some were not. In total, they were acquired for over $260 million. I have nine issued patents. Six of them were purchased by Google. Most of those patents were granted late in my career when I was a very hands-on CEO of one of the startups.
In between running those startups, I was an Operating Partner for one of the country's largest and most successful Venture Capital firms.
I retired several years ago, but really, I just changed jobs. Now, I work with entrepreneurs and private companies. I try to help them avoid the same mistakes and traps that I made and witnessed throughout my career.
As a final historical note about me, while at Motorola, I started Motorola’s National Data Sales Organization and introduced an advanced version of texting in 1986. It was not successful. The market said: “Why would anyone want to type and send a text when they can buy a cell phone and talk.” I introduced a vehicle location system, also in the 1980s. When we approached the Big Three Detroit Automakers with a product similar to what is in use today, they said: “There will never be a market for in-car navigation.”
I learned from these two experiences that market timing is as important as the product itself.
When I work with entrepreneurs and companies, I tell them: “Please listen to what I have to say, but certainly do not do everything that I tell you to do!” I cannot possibly know your business and plans as well as you do. You need to accept my inputs as guidance that may or may not be correct for you at your moment in time.
Slide 3: [It’s a Marathon]
Now, let’s talk about this chapter. Instead of the Entrepreneur’s Roadmap, I could have named it The Entrepreneur’s Marathon. The notion is that there is a long road ahead from a dream to a successful company. To put things into perspective, “Overnight Success” often takes ten years! If not ten years, it is certainly much longer than ten months. It cannot be a sprint. Instead, it must be a carefully planned, pragmatic approach and route. Unlike a marathon with its well-marked course, every entrepreneur will travel in uncharted waters and find it necessary to change their route and even their final destination. The course is never a straight line and has many obstacles.
Now, for my use of the term guide. I will help point out the route. I will identify potential pitfalls, and I will suggest which paths to take in what order. But you must run the course alone or with others as you add them to your team.
Slide 4: [The Success Equation]
Although I have a technology background, over the years I have found that the success equation is the same for every business in every sector at every size. I have worked with companies in high tech, those focused on personnel recruiting, and even a company that created hunting wearing apparel. The equation is always the same. Everyone needs sales, marketing, distribution, product or service development, P/R, finance, H/R, customer service, and legal services. Although the variables are the same, the timing and the amount of effort associated with each variable will vary considerably. The difference between success and failure is most often determined by placing the right emphasis on the right variable at the right time. Often, it is not obvious. I hope to help you make the right decisions about your business.
Throughout this course, I will suggest that some of these activities be delayed or minimized at different times. You may find my advice contrary to the recommendations commonly given by others.
Slide 5: [What We Will Cover]
I have divided your journey and this chapter into six topics. Each topic builds on the previous one. Most involve a series of questions that you will be asked to answer about your plans and your business. It will also identify some foundational concepts that you should embrace as early as possible. Finally, it will provide you with a list of potential pitfalls that you will want to avoid.
Slide 6: [What You’ll Accomplish]
By the end of this chapter, you will have:
- A deeper understanding of yourself and your business idea.
- Understand the nine phases that every new business travels through.
- The most important recurring question that you will have to answer continually.
- An understanding of the three levels of customer discovery.
- Three questions that you need to answer as early as possible in your journey.
Finally, I will highlight some, what I call, avoidable gotchas that could cause you to stumble.
I hope that you decide to start the journey with me.