Whether it is local business in Oklahoma City or global business in Hong Kong or Singapore, business environment’s around the world are going through an interesting phase. For old business, it is a reset and for new business, all the traditional models are up for re-evaluation. In my 25 years of international business, I have never seen the rate of change accelerate to this level. Right from the days of “Future Shock” and the “Third Wave” written by Alvin Toffler to “Singularity is Near” written by Ray Kurzweil, I knew that the pace of change would be exponential. But what is exciting is that I am going through the phase, sitting in San Francisco and traveling around the world, in our offices in 10 countries. As I have been part of start ups all over the world for many years, I believe that the rules of starting or doing business has changed.

Rule 1. Cash is king 

I have started businesses in emerging countries. I have also started businesses in manufacturing. When I did the viability analysis, I always applied the rule of 18 months. After the gestation period (in the case of manufacturing) the business should have revenue in six months and a payback period of 18 months after the commercial launch. In emerging countries there used to be so many policy changes and this rule was aggressive but it always worked. Apart from certain businesses in the Silicon Valley, revenue or cash will be back in play.

Rule 2. Have a Global vision 

When I talk to many companies in the US , they believe that there is enough business in their own backyard and there is no reason for them to spread thin. They know that their business has huge potential in emerging countries but they  would like to focus in their own domestic market. I agree with the logic, however going global is not only for growth, it is also necessary for survival. If you don’t go they will come. Companies from many emerging markets are aggressive because for the first time they see that there is a level playing field for them. Their cost’s are lower and they can leverage profits from their domestic business. Developing a global mindset  should be a rule in the company.

Rule 3. Personalize Ecosystem

We are bombarded with breaking news from global media. Most of us are now in a “Pull” phase rather then a “Push” phase for information. Still we cannot escape stupid news about some celebrity ending up in jail for drunk driving or what happened in latest reality show. The worst part is that all breaking news is not accurate but they are supposed to be sensational. Politicians would like to create news by predicting a horrible future if we don’t elect them. Financial news media would cover news which may create better arbitrage for stakeholders, and foreign affairs media will predict dire consequences for Arab Spring, China’s real estate bubble or India’s slowing economy from 8% to 5% !! I believe that some of this news will affect us but really overall, the world is a better place. We have billions of new consumers with longer lives, we have a shortage of dictators and fatal diseases. The world has become a much more positive place. We live in the best time in mankind’s history and better days are ahead of us. We can personalize or create a niche for our business which can leverage ever changing business conditions and make our business recession proof. A Globally connected world allows us to personalize our business.

Rule 4. Bring back sustainable business

The Silicon Valley model of building businesses for exits is extremely exciting. This model has created explosive growth in innovation and wealth creation. The spirit of this model is key to the future of new business models, however it is worth looking at the overall numbers. The total VC industry in good years is $30 billion. The business angel industry is another $20 to $25 billion. The size of the Silicon Valley style business is $50 to $60 billion. The model allows 8 to 9 ventures to failure to get 1 or 2 fantastic outcomes. The model is more risky than say Hollywood where six movies out of ten break even and one or two have a fantastic outcomes. However, there should be a scope of applying the Silicon Valley spirit but the business can be more sustainable. Triple bottom lines should be the prime consideration. If you follow Rule 1 then you will be able to a build business more sustainable with the assistance of like minded investors. At any point of time business should be ready for exit but that should not be the goal. I believe that there is a much larger scope of sustainable business particularly for innovative companies outside Silicon valley.

Rule 5. Idea 24×7 x365

I meet people around the world who says “ I have a great idea”. Well today, ideas are dime a dozen. We have an overload of information. Earlier having information was arbitrage to make money. Now you need to create knowledge out of tons of information and create knowledge arbitrage to make money. Starting business with one idea is not enough. To follow all the above rules, the idea has to be perfectly implemented. During the execution phase, the business conditions keep on changing. In the Internet world, we say that the web site is already obsolete as soon as it is finished. As you implement the idea, the scope, time and cost keep on changing. To address this dynamic condition you need to have ideas all the time. You need to adjust the pace and scope all the time. You need to have ideas about execution 24×7 , 365 days.