Friday, October 2, 2009

Do you have a Playbook?

What's a Playbook? Ask any coach and you'll get a quick answer. It's a collection of things the team will do in various situations. Things designed to give your team an advantage over the competition and score points. The more points you score, the more likely you'll win the game. Should SBIR companies have a Playbook?

You betcha! Every company should have a written down collection of things to do in various situations. Is that a Strategic Plan? A Business Plan? A Marketing Plan? Yes. Yes. And yes. But it's more besides. Plans usually limit their focus to what is intended to be done (offense). That's not enough.

You need to have scenarios of alternative plays to execute (paths to take) in both offensive and defensive situations. You must have goals for how many points to score (revenues to bring in). And you must have winning the game (building wealth via an exit event) clearly in your sights.

Whatever pops up you should have a play in mind. Handle surprises by designing new plays. The more practice you've had in doing it (conducting planning sessions) the quicker you'll be able to respond and run the new play. Remember, the clock is always ticking. There are no "time-outs" in business.

Only the best reach the "Playoffs". For SBIR companies that means playing with the "big boys" and selling your technology to the end user.

If you've got a good Playbook you'll know what to do no matter what you encounter along the way.

Don't keep the Playbook in your head. Write it down. If you've written down the Plays then everyone on your team will be executing the moves necessary to score points. The more points you score, the more likely you'll reach the Playoffs and win the game.

It's a good metaphor. I first put "SBIR Playbook" under registered trademark protection several years ago, and have used it on my website as a metaphor there. Just this week I realized it applies here as well. I do this column to help guide productive utilization of the SBIR program. So I've renamed it "The SBIR Coach's Playbook."

I hope it motivates you to create your own company's Playbook. And, of course, if you need an experienced Coach to help you put it together, you know where to find me.

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