There are many aspects to starting and building a successful business including setting vision, inspiring others and getting stuff done. We focus on helping entrepreneurs get results, the management skills part of business. We know this is the boring part but then maybe we’re the Buckley’s Cough Syrup of entrepreneurship.
If you want to get results, you have to connect your strategy with daily action of all employees. Figuring out how to do that well is actually pretty complex. Since we’re not all that bright we spend a lot of time doing research to figure out best practices in productivity, and management for entrepreneurs.
There are certain personal skills you’ll need in order to be successful as an entrepreneur.
There’s a great debate out there about what leadership is and what management is. Some people define leadership as setting the vision, communicating the vision and motivating people around the vision. Management is seen as planning, organization, staffing, directing and controlling. Of course with those definitions everyone wants to be seen as a leader and not as a manager. We believe that you have to start with strong management skills in order to then be able to develop leadership skills.
One of the foundation of success is understanding what it looks like and that means being able to measure success. Metrics are probably the most useful management tool to help you understand success.
Through careful delegation, a manager can ensure that employees have the opportunity to do what they do best every day and thus be more engaged in their work. So if delegation is the soft skill then what’s the leadership process or hard skill you need to delegate effectively? It’s the Job Description.
In the world of leadership, if communication is the soft skill, then performance management is the process that ensures it gets done.
There are a lot of things that go into creating a successful startup. My perspective as you might know tends towards strategy and execution. The material I’ve presented here comes from speeches I’ve done or material I’ve written on the subject of entrepreneurship over many years. You’ll see that it is slanted towards metrics and numbers because that’s one area that doesn’t get enough attention.
If you’re running a business that you hope will be high growth, there are certain key software industry benchmarks you really need to look at.
You can look at revenue forecasting as an art or a science. Successful entrepreneurship requires both. There is a bit of both required to be successful.
I have lots of friends who are entrepreneurs and one day I noticed something. Most of my friends who had used bootstrapping to start their businesses and owned them all on their own were doing very well financially.
There’s something about the appeal of venture capital that makes every entrepreneur’s knees turn to jelly. So much money and so easy to get. (Well actually not that easy.) Unfortunately the reality of venture capital is not as good as the dream.
Every now and then you have to roll up your sleeves and get down to work to help a company. We find that particularly true when helping companies who are in a high growth mode, or at a point of inflection or change. Rapid growth, losses, and new directions are times when businesses need to think about how they are executing on their plans. We’re the extra resource that can focus on this and turn the turmoil of change into structured effort.
Coaching is for when you think you might be able to do it yourself but you need someone figure out how to do it. We pretend we’re your mother and nag you till you get it right. The good side is that we’re there to support you when it doesn’t work.
We have developed a series of workshops on business skills that take people through the process of defining success and assigning responsibility for that success throughout the organization. We taught these workshops first at the University of Toronto and are now delivering the same workshops to companies.