14 April 2009

Start-ups - the Good, the Bad & the Ugly

Everyone is looking for the next big thing. Business organizations use their experience on all levels to take advantage of trends, indicators, brand behaviour and assessments to identify the perfect gap to fill.

What do start-ups do?

No start-up is the same, except in their naiveté.

My experience in helping start-ups or participating in them is that it should be all about the people and how to mobilise their expertise. A start-up is a joint venture at its most basic level. What is the inventory of each person's assets in four arenas - personal, relationships. creativity and knowledge, and material? How have they applied those assets in the past? What is the potential for applying those assets in the future? What assets do they have that are not yet valued? Look for the demonstrated and forensic evidence that each person can contribute something necessary to actually build a business around a great idea.

After that, it's all about how well they work together and learn how to handle situations together. Are they solo players or team players? Have they identified the essence of their brand and its unique behaviour? Do they understand basic business practices and how to work as an organization to deliver that unique brand - including managing the relationships that will help build their business? Have they got evaluation criteria in place for making decisions together - and how much value those decisions generate?

Finally, who is going to ground the pie-in-the-sky big idea into a working framework with blueprints to actually build and grow a business around that idea? Who is going to position that idea with the right communication so that everyone who needs to know about the idea will be drawn into the business of that idea? Who is going to lead the people and the business in the direction it needs to go?

What do start-ups do? What's your experience - the the good, the bad and the ugly?