Had a great day today.   First, it was nice to be home – as much as I enjoy traveling – I quite enjoy my home, so as great as it was to be ‘away’ it was just as equally nice to be ‘back’.

At 4PM had a SKYPE with Germany, and it was a great meeting.    Both M… and I are pretty much on the same page – another words – the scope of work is clear as are the costs – but we both agreed that commercial terms need to be worked on.   I think I have a pretty good solution that will create a very nice win/win beyond what we had discussed before.

As my thoughts had been before, the deal, for it last long term, has to work for both parties, and I think some of the concepts I got together accomplish just that.   Now, for this, I should not take credit all for myself, because I got input and ideas from about 6 or 7 different people – all that had shaped the framework for the deal.  B… and B… pointed out the risks and keeping things clean, N… helped me understand the value of Branding – and how that should factor into the equation.   Mina pointed out the taxation issues – and pointed in the direction of Germany being able to take the project costs as expenses to reduce revenue in Germany.   Cas…. helped me with understanding valuations, equity and top level investment.  Mir… gave me reinforcement  to follow my gut instinct.     Eilleen gave me options for CFOs.   Richard brought yet more options to the table by making me realize that I need different types of CFO’s for different stages of growth – further opening my horizons.   T…, indirectly, by believing in my vision and my abilities gave me further confidence boost that what I’m doing is going in the right direction.

Beyond that, I drew on experience from all the long T&C I did at Valment, to look at risks – and not only how to put those risks into binding agreements, but also to put solid plans in plans for risk mitigation.

So, even though I sit here, with a pretty nice framework to bring to the table for next steps in Germany – its actually a whole team of people behind me that I’m carrying forward.    You just can’t do these things on your ‘own’ power – and I’m just ever so fortunate that I have so many dear friends and advisors that, out of their willingness to share, have in such a big way helped me get to this point.

So, the point is, is I will likely fly to Germany this Thursday, and work the commercial terms with M… and T… on Friday, Saturday, Sunday.   I think we will be able to frame the commercial framework, strategy – and then simply throw it over to the legal for them to do ‘their legal’ stuff! 🙂

So, my next week, will be nevertheless busier than expected.   I need to finish up my ‘commercial’ framework, have the crew draw up a tentative project schedule to give us visibility on critical path items, get motion on office space and warehouse space, and put forward framework for Marketing Strategy for Germanic countries and also for rest of EU.    Of course, as before, once I have the framework, I will tap into my friends again, and get additional input and insights,but the vision of where things should go and how they should unfold over next 5 years is quite, quite clear.   $125MM is coming and I think it will be here sooner than I expected.

In addition, I will need Mina to give me a cost forecast to put together ‘staging team 2’  – so that we don’t only focus on Germany, but also be able to move along our own trajectory as well.   This estimate will give me a picture of ‘venture funding’ that I will need for next 3 years – and this will then determine how much equity I will need to yield to get the 3 year runway.    In my mind right now, I think 20 points should give me 3 year run – just rough guess.     Corporate stuff should be finished by the time I’m back from Germany – so, I will then finish up the Shareholder agreement – and with that – get in the ‘venture’ funding that will give me two trajectories –  Germany – which will be done pretty much at my cost – but with big upside – and ‘VC’ trajectory which should give me secondary revenue path.    Through doing this – I will be splitting my risk in two – giving RedStores a higher success probability than pursuing a single path.  This will likely mean a high intake of new staff – I’m guessing 10-20 more people – which is about 50% staff increase – which in my RedStores business plan is the most that I want to grow in terms of staff per year.  So, that side of things works.

Now, on the personal side, this evening I had some personal time, and had a wonderful time over a bottle of very nice dessert French wine at a cool wine bar and great conversation.    Very, very perfect ending to a very good day.   One thing that my friend mentioned is that from my blogs I sound like I only work and only think about work.  Actually – only partially true – I feel that I actually have a pretty decent balance – not a 100% where I want to be – but about 60% there – so although this blog may sound like I just ‘work, work, work’ – there is whole another side that doesn’t make it here.    But, at the same time, I really should push this 60% up to 80% to 90%.    So, personal challenge ahead will be to work in more time for ‘me’  – I’m close to where I want to be – but there is room for improvement!