Platt Perspective on Business and Technology

Planning for and building the right business model 101 – 20: exit strategies, entrance strategies and significant business transitions 10

Posted in startups, strategy and planning by Timothy Platt on May 10, 2016

This is my 20th posting to a series that addresses the issues of planning for and developing the right business model, and both for initial small business needs and for scalability and capacity to evolve from there (see Business Strategy and Operations – 3 and its Page 4 continuation, postings 499 and loosely following for Parts 1-19.) I also include this series in my Startups and Early Stage Businesses directory and its Page 2 continuation.

I focused in Part 19 on the issues and challenges of communications and of more effectively sharing essential information and insight, and in a timely manner within the group that is building a startup.

I couched this discussion on the perhaps more abstract side, in terms of business systems and economic friction, and on the consequences that miscommunication and communications barriers create, as expressed in those terms. And I couched it on the perhaps more real-world, specific business experience side in terms of my experience with a specific startup that I have worked with, and that I think back upon as a source of valuable lessons learned; it was that difficult to work with and to help to succeed.

I ended that posting by stating that I would at least begin to address its challenges here. And I begin to do that by explicitly noting how I have in general discussed startups and early stage businesses in terms of a succession of questions that need to be addressed if those businesses are to achieve their true potential.

Note that I used the word “address” there, rather than “answer” and that is for a very specific reason. I have focused for the most part on startup and early stage business questions that have to be recurringly revisited as a business grows and develops, as any viable answer for a given business at one point in its life, will in many cases have to be revised as that business and its circumstances change.

I have been addressing the issues and challenges of friction in businesses in general and in economies for a while now in this blog, and with that overall discussion spread through several of the directories included here. The questions that I raise now involve recognizing how this phenomenon arises in the still small headcount context of startups and early stage businesses, where effective communications throughout the organization should be as possible, and as achievable as they ever will be.

Friction, as indicated in my real-world, non-working example of Part 19, does not just arise when the headcount becomes so large that essentially no one in a business could know everyone else there, let alone effectively specifically communicate with them, and two-way. It can and all too often does start to emerge from the very beginning, and as a consequence of efforts to gain and retain control of the organizational vision. And if it is left to fester and grow then and there, it is not going to resolve itself as that business grows; it is more likely to bring that startup effort to a close, as a failed business attempt, than it is to simply fade away.

I repeat that crucial lesson for startup founders here, to stress its importance. And with that stated, I at least begin to address its resolution – not as a one size fits all, one time solved and forever resolved answer, but as a more here and now response that would be returned to and reconsidered.

• I will start outlining that by noting some specific relevant resources that I have already offered here in this blog, beginning with one crucially positioned series for addressing this challenge: Communicating More Effectively as a Job and Career Skill Set (see Guide to Effective Job Search and Career Development – 3, postings 342-358.)
• I also start by noting that some of the core resources that I have offered in this blog would not apply here. And in that regard I specifically cite my postings and series that deal with version 2.0 intranets and related organizationally complex and difficult/expensive to maintain interactive online information sharing and communications systems. I do briefly note them here, but primarily to indicate how the questions of business system friction and of limiting its impact might be more effectively addressed later on in a business’ development and growth, well after it has completed and exited its startup and early development stages.
• The primary reason why this type of resource might make sense earlier, in simpler and more stripped down, open source and freeware form, and through use of free or low cost third party services, would be if the people building a startup or early development stage business were widely geographically distributed and particularly if they routinely need to be able to share and collectively work on complex documents and files at a distance.

Communications is the key here; developing and using the right types of information sharing and co-creation, and communications resources that would work for the specific business at its current scale and stage of development is essential, if friction and its consequences are to be limited.

• But simply knowing how to business communicate more effectively, and doing so on more routine matters is not going to be enough on its own. The founders of a startup and the people they bring in early on have to be willing to open up to each other on all relevant matters and even if that means occasionally being wrong.
• Wrong in communications is almost always easier to course correct from than a lack of communications is.

I am going to turn in my next series installment to address the issues of goals and benchmarks. And I will discuss how setting them as shared performance points can facilitate the timely, effective sharing of essential business intelligence and information by bringing essential communications requirements into clearer focus. Meanwhile, you can find this and related postings and series at Business Strategy and Operations – 4, and also at Page 1, Page 2 and Page 3 of that directory. And you can find this and related material at my Startups and Early Stage Businesses directory too and at its Page 2 continuation.


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