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Assessment - Are the Monkeys Running the Zoo?

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Attention: Businesses in flux

Worried that chaotic, out-of-control growth could grow you out of business?

You can lay the foundation for manageable, profitable growth with a business expertly designed to take you where you want to go

John and Will were engineers with a big vision and a hot product in the making. In the evenings after work at the software company they owned, they got some funding from friends and family, found a manufacturer and started making some sales.

But they soon noticed that they were in over their heads. Orders were rushing in, product was piling up in the basement of their existing company, and John’s wife was burning the midnight oil to keep up with the bookkeeping. Chaos was about to overwhelm the budding venture, finishing it off before they even got started.

John and Will realized that if they did not take action fast, their company would grow itself out of business.

Picture yourself having someone on your team who loves designing a business so it works like a well-oiled machine as much as you love creating your product and getting in out there

All the taxing details like financing, human resources, inventory control and bookkeeping are systematized by an experienced expert. She tweaks and refines the parts of the business management system until they run smoothly and reliably, even in peak stress conditions.

Meanwhile, you get to focus on the parts you love – coming up with great products and getting others excited about them. You are confident that your business has everything in place so it grows in a controlled, managed manner and takes you where you want to go over the long term.

Inventors and entrepreneurs are big picture people – but for a funded startup, the devil is in the details

After the first round of funding comes in and a company enters its first growth phase, business-killing chaos can come quickly.

  • When a business is just getting off the ground, it is usually run on an ad hoc basis, with decisions made and things done based on gut feeling as the situation arises
  • With so many moving parts, it is often unclear what needs to be set up now to get to the next level of growth
  • The list of to-dos seems endless – and you are cash hungry. How can you take care of current needs and build a foundation for the future with limited resources?

There are many pitfalls along the path to controlled, manageable growth – but they can be avoided.

Each of the many parts of your business must be designed and assembled to work in harmony with the others

A business, like a machine, is composed of many parts. Each part must be within tolerance limits, fit together and work in concert with the others. The end result has to be that the business, like any other machine, does what you intend it to do.

Here’s how you create a business that works like a well-oiled machine:

Design the operations of your business

  • Start with a thorough assessment of where it is now and what systems are already in place – even if that system is chaos!
  • Get your team in alignment. Often, startups have the right people, but they are in the wrong roles. This causes HR or financial problems
  • Create an action plan to get your business to the next level of growth in a controlled, manageable way

Walk the tightrope between out-of-control growth and stagnation

  • Prioritize and deploy your startup’s limited resources so you can fill orders now while laying a solid foundation for the future
  • Craft a strategy for getting more capital – and a business plan to attract it
  • Carefully systematize your finances so you know exactly where you stand financially at all times, and can leverage your numbers to get access to more funding

A machine is designed by an engineer. It’s tested and refined until it runs smoothly and is able to handle peak loads and run reliably for its service life. You wouldn’t trust someone without experience and expertise to engineer a product. Shouldn’t the same reasoning apply to engineering your business for manageable, profitable growth?

Before their startup dissolved into chaos, John and Will called on an expert – a business engineer – to act as chief operating officer.