All Categories Of Business

21 March 2011 | talking about Small Business

Categories of BussinessI have spent my entire professional life at the decision making level with early stage companies. Some companies I founded and some companies I was invited to join. I have been part of a failing team nearly as many times as I have a winning team. These are not all just web start-ups, many traditional businesses as well. This past year I have been reflecting and seeking conclusions to what sets a company up for success and what sends a company to failure. I realize there are no right or wrong answers, but from time to time I am going to start logging my thoughts on my blog. I am hoping to start a conversation with others around these thoughts to help strengthen these ideas.

The Different Aspects Of Business

Particularly in the web start-ups, a company starts with a thesis; “The product we are going to build will change the world because we are going to solve XYZ problem”. Founders get so focused on building this product they do not define the other categories relevant to their business and they give these categories no attention. What do I mean by “categories”? I mean all the other relevant aspects of your business unrelated to building your product: sales, marketing, pr, business development, market research, hiring, branding, fund raising, paper work, and so on. So many founding teams just think they will deal with these things once “the product” is done.

Grow Your Categories Of Business

The successful companies I have been part of have defined the relevant categories and measured month-over-month growth of these categories. Thus, my suggestion to new businesses is: define these categories of business from day one. Determine who is in charge of each category, and measure progress every month. When a founding team is building their product they are often measuring month-over-month progress of the product development.

The rule of thumb that I have seen succeed more often than not is ensuring each category grows in some fashion every month. It does not matter how much. Each category has to make more progress in the coming months than in the past months. If on month one you have an introduction meeting with a possible business partner, on month two you should have one more meeting and maybe sign a letter of intent with the meeting from the previous month.
Read the rest of this entry