Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Generate Profit Possibilities Purposefully

For last Tuesday night’s TV watching, I had to choose between “Superheroes: A Never-Ending Battle” about comic book creations of Stan Lee and “Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.” with a cast of Stan Lee creations.
     Stan Lee has been populating fictitious worlds with crime fighters since the 1940s, when he introduced Captain America to consumers who were consumed with World War II. Now 90 years old, Mr. Lee can take credit for Spider-Man, The Incredible Hulk, X-Men, and other highly profitable franchises. In contrast, he could be held responsible for the quickly disappearing Condor, Mighty 7, and Governator. Bloomberg Businessweek says Mr. Lee’s most costly flop was the Guardian Project, in which he created thirty superheroes for National Hockey League teams.
     “Coming up with characters is the easiest thing in the world,” Mr. Lee is quoted as saying. There are retailers like that, as well. They are “Give it a try and see what happens” people.
     Researchers working at Babson College, Innovation Associates, and The New York Times support this approach—but only for retailers who adhere to certain rules. Here’s my version of those rules, incorporating other research findings:
  • Act from purpose, not panic. In addition to freezing us into destructive inaction, panic at other times can cause premature action. Instead of thinking through the alternatives and selecting the least bad choice, the retailer moves too soon. 
  • Start with small steps using resources at hand or within easy reach before taking large steps which require stretching to acquire substantial new resources. Until you’ve achieved experience and momentum, aim for quick, inexpensive, incremental improvements rather than transformational change. 
  • Clearly state how much you’re willing to lose before you’ll pull the plug on the initiative. Agree with yourself that you might extend this limit, but require yourself to temporarily retreat from the project for a careful assessment before making any such extension. 
  • Anticipate danger. As you’re moving along the open road, look straight ahead most of the time. However, also scan for risks approaching from unexpected directions and take evasive action based on what’s happened to you in the past. 
     Stan Lee’s superheroes anticipate danger. They also are willing to revisit risky neighborhoods. Same with Mr. Lee himself. Bloomberg Businessweek reports his latest creation is Chakra The Invincible, intended initially for an audience in India. Nine years ago, an Indian version of Spider-Man lasted for a mere four comic book issues.

Click below for more: 
Fire with Small Steps Before Aiming
Distinguish Activity from Accomplishment 
Trade Off Serial Entrepreneurship

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