The ability of your product-centric company to grow and scale is directly dependent on the infrastructure you have in place to support that growth.
The startup phase of a company is an exciting time, especially when you begin to get traction and develop a loyal following for the product you are so passionate about creating. Many companies skip over the typical “growing pains” in those first few years because they are running on sheer adrenaline, making the most of the resources they have, and solving problems on an ad-hoc basis so that they can keep moving forward.
Business is fun …
However, as the business grows, there comes a point when the growth of the company outpaces the build-as-you-go infrastructure and cracks start to appear. The sales team is still flying, but ‘us’ vs. ‘them’ issues start to develop because what they promised the customer is not being delivered by operations. Custom orders that were easy in early days now are getting delayed in bottlenecks, customer issues are dropping in the gap leading to both up-happy customers and friction within your team, and planning and forecasting become more guess work that numbers based.
Functional or falling apart?
At this point, the CEO finds themselves walking a knife’s edge between functional and falling apart daily with the business, which creates a huge amount of pressure when trying to guide the company and maintain the desired growth trajectory.
While the clients we work with and the projects we face vary greatly, the underlying challenges tend to be similar. Over time, we have developed our own standard, time tested process with our approach to new projects which works to address the concerns of our clients.
No company is “simple” and product-centric companies can be more complex than most. During this phase, we complete a holistic, top down review of the company operations as a whole including what processes, systems, and technologies are already in place. In addition, we work with the key stakeholders in the business to understand the challenges they experience in the business from their perspective.
The result of this phase is a comprehensive diagnosis of the challenges the business is facing in areas such as productivity, efficiency, communication, and inhibitors of future growth.
Once the discovery phase uncovers the problems that need to be addressed, the next step is to design a comprehensive road map that will put the tools and processes in place to facilitate proper communication, manage data, and increase productivity across departments.
By being independent of any given vendor, we are not trying to fit a round peg into a square hole just to sell a given tool. Our focus is to thoroughly research the assets that the company already has in place and potentially pairing them with complimentary additions or alternatives to achieve the most solid, stable solution that allows for future growth.
A plan is only worth the paper it is written on without proper execution. Whether it is a mater of identifying vendors and implementing solutions or reviewing personnel and filling in gaps, implementation will take on many different formats.
The key is to take bite sized chunks and iterate so that you can quickly see if adjustments need to be made and address new areas that may have been overlooked with the focus specific hot spots (i.e. who is complaining the loudest). As new issues are identified, they will be incorporated into the road map with the final goal being a strong, stable, and flexible foundation that facilitates future growth as well confidence in the business moving forward in a predictable manner.
The most dangerous phrase in the language is ...
we've always done it this way
- Rear Admiral Grace Hopper -
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I have worked with Jeff for several years. He is always available, professional and equipped with ideas on how to address my concerns or implement my ideas. Jeff has a thorough understanding of our IT systems and leads projects intended to improve and expand our online platforms.
We have worked with Jeff for 2 years now as a consultant. He has a unique combination of business insight, communication capabilities and technical skills that have been instrumental in the success of our project. The only hesitation I have in writing a factual, glowing recommendation (which is deserved) is I want to ensure he's available for us when we need him - :).
I have known Jeff for nearly 10 years now. He is a man of integrity with a strong work ethic and attention to detail. He's intelligent, patient and customer-focused. I would highly recommend his services to anyone committed to a high quality solution.
I have known Jeff personally for several years and know him to be a man of integrity and honor. He is loyal, trustworthy, and focused on always doing the right thing. I would not hesitate to engage Jeff and his company should the need ever arise.