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Tuesday, November 10, 2015

3 Areas where finding a business solution trumps the alternative


Sometimes the best plans require extra thought and difficult decisions!


Startups are filled with many twists and turns.  Regardless of how well planned or lucky you are, situations occur that will stress your skills and patients.  It is difficult to recognize every problem in advance or to develop alternatives that reduce the harm your company.  Unexpected events require careful thought and a great deal of patients in order to create viable alternatives.


Issues that elevate stress levels may result in less logical actions and reduced care in planning.  For example, a staff member becomes overly challenging by undermining your authority or finding a way to ditch work assignments that are critical to a team project.  A capital raise slows down as a result of market conditions or delays in meeting defined milestones.  Manufacturing partners fail to meet deadlines and delays start to mount up as well costs.  Nothing prepares you to manage these events and in many cases they can be totally unexpected occurrences. 


Agile thinking and a calm disposition are greatly needed when events shift to really bad or very good.  Agility is also important in order to recognize and capitalize on a key event that can take your company to the next level.  Learning to think and react quickly often reduces further pain and this skill also helps in capitalizing on a lucky break that may enhance your chances of success.  A few examples of difficult issues and possible considerations are provided below to help stimulate agile thinking.


·       Personnel issues:  Employees that act badly or perform poorly hurt your business by destroying morale, reducing team project performance, and sucking valuable time while you deal with the issues.  It is important to keep a record of activity, but finding a way to connect with the offending party often helps identify a route to solve the problem.  Perhaps retaining a consultant to pick up the slack or to provide training for a poor performer would improve the situation.  In the end, the decision to remove the individual is always an option, but finding a way to improve performance is often better and less stressful.


·       Funding issues:  Startups can’t have too many friends or too much money, however, they can have too little of both.  Your network is important because they can help you find funding or other needed resources.  Financial raises do not always go as expected.  It is possible to have no prospects thus forcing the company to become more developed in order to attract investment capital.  Alternatively, many investors may want in on the deal and you must choose who to accept and turn away the rest.  It is always helpful to find ways to enhance the business before trying to launch or relaunch a financing.  It may take more than one attempt to get the needed funds needed. 


·       Development or marketing failures:  It is possible that product development is halted by unexpected event or slowed by high barrier to project completion.  The inability to launch the product on time hurts revenues while failing to meet projections causes concern with investors.  Market assessments are sometimes incorrect and sales are grossly lower than projections.  Either of these causes an unexpected financial burden on the business.  Attempting to have an excess of cash from a capital raise or partnership investment may tide the company over until the problem is solved.  It may be necessary to reduce spending if extra financial resources are not available.


These are just a few places you may have problems in your startup.  Try to remain calm and develop alternate plans to minimize damage and get back on track.  The greatest places requiring effort are controlling your own emotions and maintaining the confidence needed to address the difficulties.  The key is to remain calm and use your agile thinking skills to find a solution.


Taffy Williams is the author of:  Think Agile:  How Smart Entrepreneurs Adapt in Order to Succeed to via Amazon