For the third time this winter semester, the Chair of Entrepreneurship and Technology Management invited those interested to a public lecture series, the “KIT Entrepreneurship Talks.” On December 18, 2014, Dirk Fox of Secorvo Security Consulting GmbH was a guest at the KIT. In his exciting practice-oriented lecture, he discussed the five most important insights that he has gained during his entrepreneurial life:
1. Strategy: Champagne or bottled water
The strategic decision about the positioning of a company – based on Porter – can only be made between a true differentiation strategy and the cost leadership. This is because a center position causes the return on investment to break off at the first crisis and the company can no longer survive.
2. Personnel: Realizing instead of blending in
For a startup, you need “realizers” who work and tackle problems with an intrinsic motivation in order to advance the idea/company. Wanting to create motivation through monetary means is the wrong approach. In order to truly win over really good realizers for your business, your recruiting process should be designed accordingly. The hurdles are high, but good applicants will clear them.
3. Marketing/sales: The customer knows best
Even if you make the best assumptions about what product or service a customer needs, you will realize again and again during the first conversations that customers have a very specific idea of what they need and of what problem needs to be solved. It is important to listen to the customer actively, to take in the information that they give, and only then, to think about what you could offer. It is also important to identify decision-makers and to understand precisely what the buyer, who may not be the user, needs.
4. Controlling: Everything under control
It is important to control performance from the start. What are advertising measures really good for? For instance, would a trade fair be successful, i.e. does it truly lead to orders created through the trade fair? What is a website good for? What performance indicator is important here? Identifying the right key performance indicators and honestly and precisely measuring and deriving what should be pursued and what shouldn’t is critical for a healthy cost structure in a company.
5. Finances: Liquidity decides
It’s not the numbers from the profit and loss statement, turnover, and costs that are interesting but rather the development of the account balance, i.e. the liquidity. Additionally, payment deadlines and bad debt losses must be taken into account. Therefore, enough cash should be available in order not to declare bankruptcy in the first few months.
In 1998, Dirk Fox founded his independent consulting company for IT security and data privacy. Dirk Fox was available to talk to visitors until late in the evening at a relaxed get-together in a festive atmosphere.
Don’t miss the first round of talks of the new year! On January 22, 2015, Ludwig Neer of CAS Software will talk about his practical startup experiences. Afterwards, at the founders’ BBQ at the Center for Entrepreneurship (CIE), you can network in a relaxed environment and exchange ideas with other prospective founders. In February 2015, there will be one more Entrepreneurship Talk for the 2014/15 winter semester:
The lecture series takes place starting at 7 pm on the South Campus of the KIT in the Tulla Lecture Hall. It is open to anyone interested in the topic of founding.