2. Get Set to Launch a Sideline by Jim Clark

2. Get Set to Launch a Sideline

This course takes you from identifying a business need to crafting a viable Sideline plan.

Learning Outcomes

  1. You will establish action steps for launching a scaled-down version of your Sideline. 
  2. You will know how your Sideline provides benefit to prospective customers, and be able to state these benefits in a 30-second statement.
  3. You will gain skill at defining a business need for your customers.
  4. You will become knowledgeable at applying simple financial viability tools of break-even, cost-benefit, and cost-per-use to your Sideline plan. 

What's included?

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2.1 Separating fixable and less-fixable sources of conflict will reduce your distress
1. Sideline conflicts grow out of differences and conflicts that are likely to recur.
2. Five causes of conflict will eventually surface in most Sidelines.
3. Manage Sideline conflicts by trying to reduce the differences causing the conflict rather than to escalate it.
4. Increase your options in order to avoid confrontation over one choice in a situation.
2.2 Demonstrating customer acceptance will dictate your level of success
1. Define your ideal customers.
2. For this customer group, what value will your Sideline uniquely deliver to them?
3. If you have 2 distinctly different preferred customer groups, what is the deliverable to each?
4. Given your tangibly defined deliverables, state these outcomes as an elevator speech.
2.3 Ignoring conflicts only makes them worse
1. When having an ongoing difference with someone, don’t expect it to go away by itself.
2. If possible, it’s better to try and fix some part of the conflict soon after it happens.
3. You will know if a conflict is partially fixed if you reach one or more important agreements.
4. It’s better to write down your agreements with copies for your next planned discussion.
2.4 Forming a set of informal advisors to help answer difficult questions
1. Recognize that successful Sideliners actively seek diverse information sources.
2. Figure out how you might pursue diverse sources of information.
3. Don’t worry about forming a real Board – enjoy having replaceable informal advisors.
4. Reach outside your comfort zone in contacting potential helpers.
2.5 Understanding simple bartering can help reduce upfront costs
1. What types of necessary Sideline expenses might you want to pay by bartering?
2. How might you use the two forms of bartering for your Sideline business?
3. How can you find candidates for bartering?
4. Understand there is no such thing as a “one-price” store.
2.6 Monetizing your Sideline will help define your profitable
1. Monetizing Sidelines differentiates them from hobbies.
2. A first step in monetizing your Sideline is to calculate a simple break-even estimate.
3. Calculate best- and worst-case estimates of profitability for your first year of operation.
4. Examine fixed and variable costs to determine how much help you can afford.
2.7 Understanding basic break-even will help eliminate unachievable goals
1. Financial break-even occurs when total costs equal total revenue.
2. Estimating break-even is critical for generating a certain level of income by a given date.
3. If break-even estimates show low profitability, try to eliminate some fixed costs.
4. If your business strategy changes, your break-even will also adjust.
2.8 Using cost-benefit analysis to determine if Sideline time spent produces the desired reward
1. Compute break-even multiple times by adding or subtracting revenue components.
2. This can help you decide whether to pursue other income sources.
3. Cost-benefit analysis can determine if you should reduce your Sideline offering.
4. This tool can factor in your labor time and value.
2.9 Turning fixed costs into variable costs can help limit monthly expenses
1. Identify all your initial fixed and variable costs.
2. If you are not sure how to change fixed expenses, search online for your type of business.
3. Once you have developed the cost list, circle those fixed costs that might be renegotiated.
4. Review your motivation for wanting to retain certain fixed costs.
2.10 Determining cost-per-use to make better purchase decisions
1. Apply cost-per-use to assess by calculation, rather than by guesswork, a better alternative.
2. Recognize that this tool hugely simplifies the cost-comparison aspect of alternatives.
3. You can also apply this tool when assessing profit center viability.
4. You can use this tool in calibrating helper contribution as a function of performance.
2.11 Focusing on both effectiveness and efficiency will help sharpen goals
1. Identifying the most important things to be done will enhance effectiveness.
2. After identifying the most important things, establish how to do them right.
3. Combine effectiveness and efficiency by describing elements of the most important goals.
4. Recheck these ideas with a trusted advisor before moving on.
2.12 Using the 80–20 rule can quickly improve efficiency
1. Describe a near-perfect result as a customer might see it.
2. Isolate those factors which are likely to matter most to customers.
3. Review the factors by determining how to achieve them in 20% of your time.
4. Recognize that you are trying to eliminate the remaining 80% of tasks to be done.
2.13 Listing every Sideline task will help locate any devil in the details
1. For your new Sideline, lay out all the separate tasks you think will go into doing it.
2. See if any items on the list can be done together.
3. Then identify what appear to be the most important tasks on the list.
4. Make a rough draft of the sequence of the tasks.
2.14 Conducting a thorough task analysis will differentiate necessary tasks
1. After listing all the important tasks, identify the 5 most critical action steps.
2. For the most critical steps, describe an “at least acceptable” level of performance.
3. Rank the critical tasks by importance, and then list them in sequence of completion.
4. Identify tasks you can freely delegate to others.
2.15 Using criterion-referencing to establish measurable results
1. Define the most important tasks that can be measured.
2. For each critical task, determine one or more of the measurable criterion-referents.
3. Use criterion-referencing before you even launch your Sideline.
4. Don’t invest too much time trying to define “superior performance.”
2.16 Using critical incidents to isolate key Sideline tasks
1. Review your task analysis to isolate those 7 or 8 tasks that seem most critical.
2. Do some research to validate the 2 or 3 actions that most matter to obtain the best result.
3. After isolating the critical incidents, behaviorally define desirable performance for customers.
4. Isolate those critical behaviors which, if done improperly, produce failure.
2.17 Using labor substitution to avoid spending too much time on your Sideline
1. From your task list, identify tasks you can and cannot delegate.
2. Delegate every task you can financially and psychologically afford to delegate.
3. Use the “bin system” to separate the work into smaller, delegable tasks.
4. Retain helpers to perform tasks according to your standards for payment.
2.18 Avoiding “one right way” philosophy so that helpers can also identify ways to save time
1. Recognize that for most tasks, there is rarely “one right way” to complete them.
2. Use early-warning signals to detect better/worse approaches to delegation.
3. State your quality standards in terms of what is “at least acceptable” versus “superior.”
4. Over time, allow helpers to determine best methods for doing the work.