This week, I’ve been focusing on writing a detailed outline for my book applying the Dreams into Reality theory to building a business from the ground up. I’ve gotten to a great point where I break down building a business into 4 key pillars.
Pillar 1: People
– Anyone that may impact the growth of your business
– This tends to include you, co-founders, employees, and business partners
Pillar 2: Financials
– How will you obtain the initial investment necessary and then manage business financials to head in the direction of profitability?
– What are the economics of your business, at a macro and micro level?
Pillar 3: The Product or Service
– the good or service that you will be offering to the customer
– The value that you add to your customer
– How your company does it differently than competition
Pillar 4: The Customer Market
– the profile of the individual or business that you will be targeting in your marketing and advertising strategies.
Clean Water Delivery
Writing about building a business in this sense has pushed me to think more about the clean water delivery business that I envision starting at some point in my entrepreneurial journey. I wanted to test my own theory to ensure that if a stranger were to read it and want to apply it to their own life, it would be effective. I have already started to reflect on the aspects outlined above in the past year, but now I want to envision who I want it to become in the next 2 years.
Key Questions I Will Answer
Where do I want the four pillars of people, financials, product/service, and customer market to be?
How far along do I want my efforts to be?
If I can create an answer to those key questions then I can better define the milestones and action steps that must come true along the way. Walking through these mind exercises will effectively create a rough road map to the goals that I will need to achieve on a daily, weekly, and monthly basis. Once I have those objectives defined, I can work it into my daily goals and work. Let’s get into it…
Pillar 1: People
I envision me as the first founder of the company handling all operational duties in the first 6 months to 1 year that the business is working its way off the ground. I envision a co-founder coming into the picture at some point as the technological vision progresses and I have a better understanding of the technology utilized in the BOP markets the company is targeting.
I envision strong partnerships with an accounting and legal team to ensure that all is recorded and executed in the proper manner.
I envision a strong relationship with some form of an investor whether it be friends, family, and foe, angel investors, government agencies, or venture capitalists. I envision that the investors of choice will be specialized in the growth of socially driven, for-profit companies.
I envision a strong partnership with the United States government as well as the country(ies) where the company is operating in an effort to achieve global development goals.
I envision a strong partnership with the water distribution companies in the countries I am working in. This partnership will be critical to the success of the company’s output to its customers. If the water distribution companies are unwilling to cooperate, the water provided by the company will have to be sourced from alternate partnerships.
Finally, I envision a strong partnership with the employees on the ground who will be a key component of the delivery service and the management of daily operations.
Pillar 2: Financials
I imagine investing money into the start of the business at the first year of progress to test and validate the idea in various markets in under-developed and developing nations around the world. I envision seeking and obtaining an investment in the 2nd year of operations as the product begins to catch hold in its first market. I envision the investment being required to hire more employees in the first market, keep up with the water supply that is demanded by the company’s customers, and hire the team’s first employees in the United States.
I envision that I will manage the financials of the business along with an accountant to ensure that all records are flawless. I envision the unit economics being profitable for each sale though the margins will be very low to start, i.e. 10-20%. I envision the margins of the company increasing as the government gets more involved in subsidizing the supply of the water, i.e. 30-50%. Even if this were not to go through, I envision that once the service becomes a norm in the lives of customers, prices may be able to slightly rise. I envision frugally spending the investment to reach the milestones that we have set for the company while fully appreciating all individuals working on the company’s mission.
Pillar 3: The Product or Service
In the first year, I envision the product being in the development and testing stages to best understand its viability. When I mention the product, I refer to the mobile application that will allow customers to request water delivery directly from their mobile phone or device.
I envision the service beginning as a delivery service for clean water where the company serves as a logistics and management company to ensure that the supply is available and there are individuals on the ground who can deliver it.
I envision the value proposition being that you now have the ability to regularly order clean water on a daily, weekly, biweekly, monthly, or one-time basis directly to your home from a trusted and trained individual from within your community. I envision the service being different and advantageous to the current solutions (i.e. walking to the local water hole or paying a family member to get it for you) because it is an extremely reliable source to obtain clean drinking and bathing water. I envision that most deliveries will occur within 48 hours of being received.
I envision the technology necessary to be minimal in the first year as the concept is tested to ensure that there is a market for the service. In the 2nd year of the business, I envision the technology becoming a more relevant aspect of the logistics. I envision the company hiring a team of expert mobile developers to create a mobile application or mobile-optimized website that will allow customers to order clean water delivery services online. Payment will be offered through the application or in cash upon delivery. The technology will improve the logistics of the business and appeal to the emerging generation of tech savvy individuals. I envision this becoming the product/service that the company expands into other markets with.
The Customer Market
I envision the company’s ideal customer as an individual or family within a community where there is a lack of access to clean water. I envision the individual to be educated through high school, employed in some fashion, between the age of 16 and 40, owns a cell phone, and has used the Internet before. I envision the customer to be located in an area that is not more than 2 hours outside of a major city or town.
If you’re someone interested in learning about, contributing to, or investing in innovative solutions to providing clean water to bottom of the pyramid markets, reach out to me at Connor@ConnorGillivan.com. I welcome all inquiries about my visions of a future where clean water is accessible by all.