Carnohan Process Solutions owner Bruce Carnohan comments on processes and experiences when dealing with startups.
The good, the bad, the ugly is a great commonly used term to put these startup highlights and pitfalls into a reality perspective.
The good and exciting aspect of engaging with a startup company is that you are beginning typically with a clean slate. It is likened to a painter with a great creative vision that has a clean canvas to paint and design the picture anyway he chooses. The picture is so fascinating and must be painted in a way to attract the necessary Board, C-Level, employees and ultimately the community in order to make the dream a living reality.
So how do you make the good to great occur? In a nut shell, the good to great can only occur when you have the four essential P’s properly in place. The four P’s are recognized as People, Processes, Planet and Profit!
It is essential that you attract the right people with the following:
- Great leadership
- Great flexibility
- Keen ability to lead various areas of the organization
- Background and reference check the people (more below in The Ugliest)
The reason behind these key ingredients is that it is essential that you build your business from the Core Processes to deliver value to your customers, community and shareholders.
Core Process development begins with a quick brainstorming/summary and buy into the Core Values of the organizational processes. Here are some categories that can emerge from a Core Process brainstorming session:
- Client / People First
- Social Responsibility
- Community – Internal and External
- Simplest, Fastest, Blame Free
- Compelling Story
- Empowered Culture
In order to develop the Core Processes necessary to build the business from the value up, you ideally need a flexible facilitator that can take the brainstorming lists and create them into a macro picture or model of how the company looks from a thousand foot perspective.
Once the macro picture or model brainstormed and the core leadership team agrees, you can then plan the detailed processes to support each macro step. The development flow continues to roll out until you reach the appropriate level in the organization of responsibility. The final step is to create, what I refer to as a RACI chart that outlines and assigns job roles in the areas of; Responsibility, Accountability, Consult with and Informed.
Unfortunately, the bad is often caused by the opposite factors when there is no vision, leadership, structure, or accountable delivery on the agreed upon plan for moving forward.
Teams often get “stuck” when there is a lack of structure or vision of how the startup needs to deliver the superior value that is necessary in the competitive and rapidly changing world at large!
Using an experienced, multi-talented facilitator is a key part of getting “unstuck”. This facilitator should possess both width and depth of various business models whether it is nonprofit operational experiences, multiple role perspective, senior or junior level of experience, and varying and different work settings.
Businesses are “more alike, than they are disalike” is a critical viewpoint. As such, processes used “outside” and regardless of industry specific can often be great examples of how to make the new start up become driven by a simpler, faster and the very best cost perspective.
All three of these operational perspectives are needed to ensure that value is ultimately delivered to the customer, community and shareholders of the start up.
The Ugliest of All
Now, the toughest part of a startup, the ugly. Startups are largely driven by their deepest core of a solid vision and an unwavering trust factor. If these critical core values are not evident in the beginning stages of the startup, it will never get off the ground to reach its desired potential.
The vision is merely a simple way to paint the picture of the startups outcome. The trust factor (as recently learned) can be stretched and distorted behind what I refer to as smoking mirrors. The startup may also be presented by third party entities that bring a credibility factor to the ownership who seek to merely portray what they have been told, but not researched.
When engaging with startups, it is essential that early on you verify everyone involved in the startup to ensure the credibility and process of the company. There is nothing worse than when expectations and promised commitments don’t go to the agreed upon plan. To complicate matters further, the varied justifications of the “why” may lead you to do more in depth research and especially when a payroll date is missed. The in depth research phase can often reveal an unexpected finding of previous and current history, public record listings and helpful insights into the integrity of the principles involved in the startup that determine and confirm the ugliest of all!
Suggested Research MUST do’s:
- Public record check such as; current civil and criminal actions
- Prior civil and criminal history
- Professional on line search such as; LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, and MySpace
- Other possible searches such as; ancestry or genealogy searches
The Ah Hah Moment of Discovery:
What is most commonly discovered during these search results is that you will generally uncover a similar pattern of past family history, incidents and/or comments made by other people previously involved with the startup. After seeing, verifying and seeking answers you will begin to uncover the “why”. The clarity of the “why” begins when the pieces of the puzzle begin to align and interconnect and the ugly knowledge of what seemingly began as a lie. Overtime this beginning lie may turn into an insurmountable mountain of lies and deceit of which many great, talented, highly professional and trustworthy people have been duped by the ownership of the startup. This indeed is the ugliest of all!
In summary here are some startup successful tips:
- Due diligence is key
- Finding the right people for leadership is critical
- Design the Startup Plan with these four master steps:
You will notice I made no specific reference to profit. If you are focused and passionate about doing the first three master steps well, the fourth master step of profit will flow in abundance and in a sustainable manner to ensure the healthy long term viability of the startup!
Bruce Carnohan has decades of experience designing and implementing top notch simpler – faster – best cost processes in business and nonprofits in multiple industries and size in four different countries and is sought out for his key strength and talents in these defined areas.
To learn more go to: LINKEDIN or email: firstname.lastname@example.org 214-500-5036