Unlocking Value in Start Ups: Refocus on Operational Processes

I have been fortunate enough to work for Fortune 500 Consulting firms at one end of the curve to advising a migration non profit focused on cultural activism in Singapore at the other end. The bigger picture and the rhetoric, often boils down to dollars and cents during performance review, as donors/funders need to evaluate the ROI. We live in a business environment dominated by mega trends of political shocks, declining oil and commodity prices and flat value chains; where the consumer/client knows the set of data as you, the product manager. The information asymmetry between client and vendor has vanished. Machine Learning and Big Data is transforming the service economy, where specialists will dominate and entry-level jobs will disappear in the Fourth Industrial Revolution. In this scenario, operations is often under rated in the every day running of the business. They maximize the leverage available make sure the product/service is delivered at the right price point to the consumer. Ideas are simply not enough; there needs to be implementation excellence to unpacking the black box called value, easy to define, harder to deliver though.

Non Profit Platforms and Business Start Ups need to move beyond the ‘idea’ that they are pursuing whether it is a cause or a product and invest into expertise. The disruption has to be backed by professional teams, which focus on long-term bets, in value creation. The ‘Big Idea’ is brand equity but operating teams have to aggressive in funding, program management and innovation. Building teams and products that the market needs is the simple truth. Non-profits need to invest in operations as much as for profit peers. Being sexy is not cool all the time. Think Rahul Yadav, and contrast it with Martin Sorrell of WPP, who built a holding company around which brands evolved (HBR, July/August 2016). Have patience and do the right thing otherwise being out of business does not take time; the same advice is valid for careers too. The career of the entrepreneur follows a particular product lifecycle too.


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