Building a Business

  • November 7, 2011
  • Scott

Fred Wilson has one of the best blogs on the subject of startups and investing.  Which is really no surprise given his cat-bird seat on the whole industry.  As a services startup, I occasionally find passages in his writing that really resonate, like this one:

Roelof Botha, a leading VC with Sequoia, once gave me a great piece of advice in helping founders start to focus on company building. He said founders should think of their company as a product and build it and shape it with the same passion and care. I’ve taken that to heart and passed it on a few times.

No matter how or when you do it, building a company is a required step to sustainability. Positive cash flow is not enough to keep the company independent and solvent. You need a culture, systems, and processes to keep everyone happy and functioning well.

This is so true.  We’re still a work-in-progress at BP3.  We’ve been building our culture, and our team of amazing individuals. But we’re still learning the right processes for the new situations we’re finding ourselves in as we get bigger and are tackling more projects simultaneously.

How you handle these situations has a big effect on how the company performs for its customers.  When we have a “process failure”, if all we do is firefight in a one-off fashion, that will help the customer and solve the short-term problem.  But we are trying to build a lasting company.  We need to not only put out the fire but adjust our operating guidelines so that we identify these issues and situations early – and have an organization and response in place to resolve the issue without firefighting.

Every time we put out a fire we’re also taking a step back and trying to think about whether this is something we need to address systemically or organizationally, or whether this is a one-off event.  And even for the one-off events- what’s the best escalation path for dealing with those without derailing core business functions?

Great comment down below the main article by Charlie Crystal:

That’s one of the most enjoyable parts of building a company–defining what kind of people you want to be, the impact you want to have on the world, your employees, your community; and then cheerfully getting it done and evangelizing what you do, why you do it, and how you do it.

This is company building, and it is good stuff.

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