Birth of Ravin Graphics LLC

August 7, 2009 at 5:43 pm (Ravin Graphics) (, , , , , , )

My first real project was the Ravin’ Graphics Collegiate Day Planner.

cover-altIt was last year in college when my best friend came to visit. He graduated a year early and was working for the once internet giant America Online. Tim was excited to show me his new Franklin Covey day planner which featured pictures of famous golf courses as background images on each page. I immediately said (as with my second business), that would be cooler if it featured pictures of our University on each page. I was already making my own day planners on my home PC and so the idea of Ravin’ Graphics was born.

I originally used Franklin’s day planners, but they were expensive (for this poor college student) and didn’t have the features that I’ve seen and liked in other planners. In addition, I had to drive an hour away to pick up a new one. Once my Franklin planner was “consumed”, I started making planners on my home pc with Page Maker saying that “next month, I will pick up a new Franklin planner”. But that never happened.

As I used my printed planners, I could and did tweak my templates, further customizing my planner. This template is what I eventually used as Ravin’ Graphics initial design.

So I had an idea for a product. I knew I had the resources and knowledge to bring this concept into reality. But could I make any money doing it?

As an entrepreneur this should be your second step before advancing further. First step is realizing an idea or unmeet demand. Most clients I consult with go from ideal to manufacturing, whether that’s in their garage or outsourcing to China. What I love about PMI’s project methodology, is that you cover every conceivable angle of making, producing a product, or running a business before any real work is done. More on that later. But your second step should be defining your customer.
Wish I still had my book on Ravin Graphics, I had all my numbers there. Found my 1987 Middle School year book, but not my accumulated notes and formulas on the Ravin’ Graphics project.

Personal-info-pageOf the top of my head, SWTSU, my university had 25k students. Can’t think of the Alumni numbers, but the school did not have a solid Alumni following. Large school, but not a large market. One percent was my rough guesstament on the number of students purchasing my product. If I couldn’t make it on 2.5 k purchases, I figured I couldn’t make it at all. The risk was too high for my own university. Only 25 miles away was the University of Texas, one of the largest universities in the country, 48k students and a very robust alumni following. Again, I had solid numbers at the time.

Now my 1% purchase requirement was looking pretty good. In addition, I had a very robust secondary market. The numbers were telling me to move forward.

Reasons Ravin’ Graphics should have been successful for the following reasons.
1. Compelling competitive advantage
2. Realistic financial projections
3. First to market, but no doubt would I have others on my heels.
4. Firm and easily identifiable customer base.
5. Flexibility to make swift changes to business model or product to over come unexpected problems.
6. Fully developed business plan
7. Working prototype.
8. Funded to completion.
9. Scalable

Does your product or business idea fulfill these requirements? If not, you still have work to do before you start manufacturing (or asking for money).sept-dailies

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RG Life Cycle –Lessons Learned – Stakeholder Analysis

July 23, 2009 at 9:16 pm (Ravin Graphics)

Ravin Graphics Project Life Cycle

Ravin Graphics Project Life Cycle

 With Ravin Graphics I did more doing than planning, even though I had a complete business plan with pro forma statements, original consumer research, and a long lead time (I was still in college when the idea came to me). You might say I had the WBS complete, but beyond that I was rolling wave planning.

 The chart shows exactly how I went about the project. Blue events are major milestones. The red event is the project due date. As you can see this date was missed and missing this date was detrimental to the success of Ravin’ Graphics.

 My Uncle always said that anything that goes wrong is your fault. From the PMI perspective I did not consult enough stakeholders to ensure a successful project completion.

 I see now that I should have hired on a consultant who had gone thru the collegiate licensing process already. I had the money, but not the wisdom (I was just out of college.). But someone who had already been thru the process licensing process could have told me that it was loaded with red tape and delays. Lessons learned.

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