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Top 3 Underused Business Tools for Entrepreneurs

The business ecosystem has been bustling with new life as entrepreneurs are being increasingly empowered to start their own businesses. With mentoring and funding initiatives rolled out by various institutions, fuelled together by strong global government support, many new start-ups have entered the market in recent years.

However, as any experienced entrepreneur knows, the market is a brutal place that requires strategic thinking and tactical actions for survival. While many entrepreneurs rely on supportive parties as lifelines for advice and funding, it is simply not sufficient in the long run. Being equipped with the right business tools gives businesses a weapon that can be used to gain clarity and direction for proper decision-making.

There are three business tools, underused by businesses today, that can serve as methods to improve business ideas and to enhance decision-making models.

Project Portfolio Matrix (PPM)

The PPM aims to classify different projects based on their contribution to strategic goals. Various factors are used to compare projects to one another for prioritisation, allowing for capacity management and more efficient resource allocation.

Some common PPM factors include Importance vs Feasibility, Value vs Cost, Net Present Value vs Technical Success. By classifying projects based on two important factors, businesses can make better decisions on which projects they should take up, together with the required resources to be allocated. A meaningful PPM is constructed through intentional steps of planning, organising, leading and controlling.

Using PPM effectively can help a business in three ways:

  1. Capacity Management: Prioritising important projects to achieve strategic goals
  2. Resource Waste: Preventing excessive resource allocation to projects
  3. Project Cannibalisation: Removing projects that do not align with strategic goals

This increases the effectiveness and efficiency of operations in achieving organisational goals.

Morphological Box

The Morphological Box is a tool for generating creative solutions to existing products or problems. It breaks down a problem into different attributes, creating multiple options for each individual attribute to derive a large number of whole solutions for evaluation.

Understanding the different options for each individual attribute allows for more options for solutions, making brainstorming more effective. It is extremely useful when tackling

complex problems that are too big for typical brainstorming tools.

Despite its simplicity, this is a tedious process meant to expand the number of solutions available for selection. Cross-functional teams with specialised expertise should be included in the process to give their expert opinions on relevant attributes to ensure feasibility of the final solution.

However, it can be rewarding with alternative solutions being generated simultaneously to save resources in the future. When brainstorming for product solutions, it may also provide options for new products and variants.

Scamper

In this increasingly competitive economy, where intellectual property (IP) rights are being challenged everyday and new solutions are created to supersede the old, businesses must constantly reinvent to even maintain their market share.

Scamper tackles seven aspects of a product or service, to challenge the usefulness of existing characteristics. Regularly questioning existing solutions pushes businesses to keep their solutions relevant to target customers, preventing competitors from swooping away customers.

Entrepreneurs seeking to keep their products competitive in the market must look and rethink how their solution can be constantly improved and built upon. In fact, using data gathered from customers and employees through feedback channels can serve as valuable input into the scamper model to create a product that satisfies customers. Scamper can also be used by new businesses looking to enter a market to relook at their Go-To-Market (GTM) strategy.

Conclusion

Entrepreneurs and management teams are often focused on bringing their product to the market, without focusing sufficiently on the how. The fundamental objectives of business operations are to maximise efficiency and effectiveness when bringing solutions to the market. These 3 business tools can serve as guides to improve processes and products to reduce costs, increase customer satisfaction and promote organisational creativity. 

About BlackStorm Consulting

BlackStorm Consulting (http://blackstormco.asia/) is a boutique growth consultancy firm that specialises in corporate strategy, profit management and investment management. We mainly serve clients in four sectors: FinTech, Gaming, Technology, Media and Telecommunications (TMT), and manufacturing.

Our clients and connections are internationally present and range from small and medium sized businesses, MNCs, to government agencies.

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