Ready, Fire, AIM – Zero to $100 Million in No Time Flat – Partial Review

Precise, Actionable points – this is how I can sum up the book Ready, Fire, AIM – Zero to $100 Million in No Time FlatReady, Fire, AIM by Michael Masterson in three simple words. Books claiming to provide inside knowledge about how to start and grow a business get released by the boat load every year. I do not intend to belittle authors by using this metaphor, and neither do I judge the publishing community for their efforts to enlighten the new generation of would be entrepreneurs and business enthusiasts or DIY generation, but what I do want to point out is that I have rarely found books that knit into them the “actionable points” aspect.

Ready, Fire, AIM – Zero to $100 Million in No Time Flat is definitely one of the books that I believe does a good job at least for the “Infancy” stage of the business. Let’s dive deeper.

Entrepreneurs around the world are filled with ideas that are mind blowing. Product and service ideas that have the potential of changing the niche they are targeting are being thought off every single day. Getting along with their internal technical teams or external consultants and researchers, these entrepreneurs start working on the research and development of the product. They spend months and years to create their “baby” that they believe will make headlines. They continue perfecting their product or service to the point that they believe it will become flawless. However, there is nothing in this world that will be flawless – at least not anything that is made by humans.

Working on their products or services for months or years on end, there comes a time when frustration mounts in. Investors start putting pressure on entrepreneurs; internal teams get disappointed; external consultants and researchers continue demanding more and more resources to achieve the goals and milestones put before them. If there is an endless wait for the launch of the product or service, until what end will this circus go on?

This is where Masterson says there has to be a change in the thinking process. Very clearly and precisely he points out that most of the new businesses are not really knowing what they are doing. The challenge is not only to come up with a great product or service, but to actually make that first profitable sale. And not just one sale, beyond that the new business has to have a certain number of customers – known as the critical mass of customers – that will enable the business to make repeated profitable sales to keep the company and its product or service going and improving. Selling the product is the key.

Further, Masterson also points out that the priorities for any business should be:

  1. Selling
  2. Pushing (to make sales)
  3. Improving (products / services and sales)
  4. Organizing

Instead of perfecting the product or service, Masterson says that just get it to a level that is acceptable enough so that it starts selling. Worry about perfecting it later. If the product or service – as it is launched or released in its initial acceptable form – starts selling, then there will be cash flow that will enable the business to make the product or service better.

Masterson believes that rather than going all in on the idea, it is always better to figure out ways to test the waters through cheap means that wouldn’t eat up on your funds quickly. Some of the actionable points are:

  • Identify way(s) to sell the basic idea of what you have in mind
  • Stockpile enough product to ensure that you can fulfil the initial demand
  • Find ways to reach out to your target audience without spending much
  • Try and sign-up few retail customers through wholesale deals
  • Sponsor small events through which you can reach out to prospect clients
  • Once initial selling is done, start adjusting the product / service based on feedback

Optimum Selling Strategy (OSS) comes next and that’s where new businesses with multiple products will be able to attract more sales by identifying:

  • The key product to sell first
  • What other products can be sold subsequently
  • How to make the initial sale offer more enticing
  • How to make the advertising more compelling
  • What other marketing channels could be tested

Another great thing that Masterson talks about and explains is how to price products / services for new customer acquisition. I wouldn’t go deep into explaining the whole thing as it is an interesting read, but I would summarize the points here:

  • Determine your lifetime gross profit
  • Determine your lifetime net value
  • Determine a reasonable profit

With selling comes the marketing part of it and every business in its infancy stage requires strong marketing. Masterson explains that every marketing professional must know the difference between wants and needs; difference between features and benefits; how to establish a unique selling proposition (USP) for the product or service in question; and how to sell the USP.

All in all the actionable points mentioned by Masterson are, I believe, very workable and in my experience as an entrepreneur, I have followed these points unknowingly even though I hadn’t read the book in 2012-13. I believe selling to be the most important task initially that will not only give new businesses immediately feedback on their offering, but also provides them the confidence that their work is in the right direction or not.

I will be back with the next partial review of Ready, Fire, AIM – Zero to $100 Million in No Time Flat soon.