Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Strategy for Start-Up

On reading the many articles about strategy and how it should and has been implemented in companies, what I found most interesting was the way strategies relate to small start-up companies. Having worked in one myself, I found the article, Building your Company’s Vision by James Collins and Jerry Porras especially thought provoking. According to the article, the two most important components of a company’s vision is core ideology and envisioned future. Core ideology further consists of two distinct parts: core values and core purpose.

He who works with his hands is a laborer.
He who works with his hands and his head is a craftsman.
​He who works with his hands and his head and his heart is an artist.
― Francis of Assisi

hCube which stood for head, heart, and hand was an independent, interior design studio started by my colleague. When I joined him, we were only two people working in the firm. Our core ideology was to look beyond the confines of four walls and consider overall design. We did not limit design to just decorating the space, but made sure that the design inspired some kind of experience in the space as well.

The core value by which we aimed to achieve this was by honestly working with head, heart and hand in order to do justice to every design project. We understood that every project was unique and our strategy was to treat each project individually by not repeating design ideas from one project to another. Looking back in perspective, I can identify that our core competence was to patiently research a client’s need, deeply consider their situation, pursue a creative solution, and expertly make it real.

Being a very small sized establishment, envisioned future was not something that we really thought of. The idea was to start and adapt future plans depending on circumstances. We were more concerned with getting projects in order to maintain cash flow as compared to what the vision ten years down the line was. The idea was to be realistic and focus on saving capital and investing time and resources on things that will generate return.

This relates to the four strategic styles; classical, adaptive, shaping and visionary; mentioned in the article Your Strategy needs a Strategy. This article made me realize that unknowingly, we started with an adaptive strategy, focusing on present efficiency over long term plans. Along with being adaptive, our strategy style was also about survival. We wanted to take measured steps in order to be able to succeed. This involved compromises as well. We decided not to invest in office space to save on capital and worked from home instead. We had to work hard in order to convince clients on a particular design idea. It involved a lot of back and forth discussions before reaching mutual consensus, which did not always align with our design approach. But the survival strategy forced us to ignore the compromise.

In conclusion, strategy is integral to any company. It helps in defining what the company stands for and thus distinguishes it from competition. Particularly, in case of a start-up. It is the motivation that entrepreneurs need in order to stay true to their dream.   

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