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Making the right investment decision on the right projects and the right products at the right time is a combination of having the right information, intuition, and luck. As Figure 14.1 "Critical Organizational Activities During Business Life Cycle" illustrates if there is a process in place for differentiation and new product development, then the decline of the business may be alleviated. There are choices and decisions to be made related to populating the product and project portfolio. These are the critical investment decisions that the entrepreneur has to make. Figure 14.2 "Risk Is Inherent as You Get Closer to the Top" illustrates that the potential profitability is greater as you climb up the inverted pyramid, but there are also greater levels of risk and uncertainty toward the top. All businesses face the following investment decisions while climbing the reward pyramid:
Figure 14.1 Critical Organizational Activities During Business Life Cycle
Figure 14.2 Risk Is Inherent as You Get Closer to the Top
Growth decision: They have the option to invest a little or a lot in new products, projects, machines, and technologies. There is a step-up in learning-about and learning-by-doing. This is the growth option and it includes a number of approaches:
There are three primary approaches for evaluating investment decisions. They are payback, discounted cash flow analysis, and real options analysis. We discussed the discounted cash flow techniques in the last chapter. The focus of this chapter is on real options analysis.