Gary EvansThe past: Like a lot of entrepreneurs, I ran all my previous businesses with mainly just a concept in my mind.  I was also involved with several that operated the same way.  And frankly, DemGen started in the same manner.  Sure we ­­had some goals written down and a few bits and pieces of the direction we wanted to go, but we lacked a full fledge well defined map.  Just like many others, I had “tried” having a full business plan in many incarnations all of which collected dust and I just got busy doing the business.

The present: Being keenly aware of the mortality rate that entrepreneurs face is one of the foundational reasons I created DemGen in the first place.  In fact all of our services have been developed with that in mind, that having a good idea and being a nice person is not enough.  I and my team have a ravenous appetite for learning and discovering best practices, continuously improving our systems and services.

The something different:  Sure there is two camps on this issue, one group saying “just jot it down on a napkin and go” and the other saying “no way, you need to create a full fledged marketing and business plan”.  The FVM is something in the middle.  It’s a hybrid marketing/business/quick action plan that’s facilitated over 3-6 weeks.


The top 10:

1. Time:  Writing it down saves you days, weeks, months of time over the life of your business. It gets tiring having to reiterate your vision over and over and over again to new team members and partners. I had to go over and over again in layers so that people “really got it”, because it has deep and never ending evolution.

2. Consistency:  Consistency and a collaborated agreement on direction.  I include our strategic team, who in turn include the whole team and client/prospect feedback in formulating our vision.  In the beginning without the map I altered the story depending on my mood or how busy I was.

3. Self-directed teams:  Team buy-in, it’s as much their business and vision as it is mine and they know what needs to get done = priceless!

4. Genius Ability:  Recognizing genius abilities and learning styles.  For me it’s easy to see the “BIG PICTURE” and all that goes with it and I now recognize that not everyone can run with something that way.  Having a map with visuals enables all to get on board.  It also sets the stage to build up a team of collaborative abilities

5. KPI’s:  What gets measured gets achieved.  I find if it’s not written down with a plan to achieve it, it typically won’t be.

6. Speed: As I started to write it down and collaborated with others for buy-in, momentum was a lot faster, frustrations lessened and revenues accelerated.

7. Prioritize: Pieces of the puzzle start to magically connect and priorities are easier to navigate.

8. Living Document: It becomes a living canvas and we revisit and refine on a quarterly basis.

9. Projects/systems: You can more easily break out projects and start creating systems.  We have several hundred projects running simultaneously for ourselves and our clients.  You just can’t do that without a good game plan!

10. Automate:  It became much easier to automate our success and I was able to remove myself from the day-to-day running of the business and work on it instead of in it.  I’ve never been able to do that with any other business I created.

BONUS #11.  When (not if) you need to pivot, it becomes so much easier to see everything in one place and how it applies and adapts or needs to be eliminated.

I find with a lot of clients – they have a series of ad-hoc systems that are not fully defined.  This leaves them vulnerable if there is a change in the business or its people.  And it makes it almost impossible if you are looking for symptoms in order to fix bigger problems.


The Future:  Going forward with actionable projects broken down with team buy-in, unfolding “the BIG picture”.  I do believe we have figured out one way to envision, implement, grow and sustain a profitable, multi-revenue business.


© Gary Evans, DemGen Inc. 2014