David Ricardo (that’s him in the picture) was a member of the British Parliament in 1817 when he developed a concept that is inherently counterintuitive: that countries engage in international trade for goods, even when a country can and does produce all the needed goods more efficiently, at less cost than their trading partners.
Even if you can make everything yourself, it still benefits you economically to sell some goods and buy others. In effect, specializing...
Running a scientific company is difficult.
Unlike a home business, your overhead is high because you need trained technicians, expensive instruments, and a dedicated place to put them.
As an Expert in your field, you probably knew a few people who became your customers when you started up.
So you had some revenue quickly, and you’ve been able to find some more - otherwise you’d be out of business and paying the costs of a failed experiment.
But inevitably you run out...
In the popular business book “The E-Myth Revisited”, Michael Gerber says that every business owner is really three people: the Technician, the Manager, and the Entrepreneur.
I often use the term “Expert” to define the scientists I work with who have deep technical knowledge, the quintessential Technicians – who founded the business to deliver value to customers that only they can deliver.
Are you buried in the Technician role?
Where is the road map for a scientist to build a profitable business, build a team and scale up without burning out?
Your scientific training is a great foundation for building on your expertise, developing a contract services, supply, or consulting business. You have the valuable skills of analysis, information sourcing, research, problem solving and the mind-set of objectivity and skepticism.
This means instant credibility and the ability to quickly gauge the credibility of others.
Note: This is a share of a great little article written by one of my contacts. Having recently prepped two clients for due diligence, I thought it was worth posting. For a free spreadsheet that will help you anticipate most of the common due diligence requests, email me at [email protected]
Starting the preparations to sell your business is never easy. Selling or buying a business comes with mixed emotions and hard decisions. Many things must get done and...
Pro tip: Easy way to practice telephone prospecting: phone bank for a candidate!
Last night I volunteered to take a 90 minute shift making phone calls for a local political candidate. In local races in a presidential election year, candidate name recognition is a big problem. Finding volunteers to make calls is tough - no one enjoys interrupting people, and the chances of being on the receiving end of a hang up are high.
But the telephone works! I kept thinking of Jeb Blount's great 2019 book...
In my first years as founder/CEO of a contract research organization, I tried to figure out the best way to price what we could do. My lab manager and I took a detailed look at several projects, tracking hours and materials, and developed a spreadsheet for calculating our costs based on scope. We added what we thought was an appropriate profit margin and used that model for the next couple of dozen projects.
What we found was that 1) we were not good at estimating...
I'm putting this up for fun. No video, just an audio recording of my own four part arrangement of Attics of My Life (Grateful Dead, from America Beauty (1970)). Made for church choir, but given that we can't sing together these days, I recorded and mixed all four parts (OK, I sang soprano an octave down). It was hacked together as a recording pretty quickly at the end, but I admit it took me some time to arrange before that!
Based on our survey, the second big issue or problem scientists face in trying to grow their consulting business is "Potential clients want free advice, but often don't sign". Let's break this down:
1. They want free advice. Of course they do. And to establish your authority, your bona fides, you really have to give them some.
2. The don't sign. OK, why not?
2a. "I don't know." Did you ask? Asking might give you an opportunity to correct a...