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During the past three years our work has centred around STARTING UP new business activities for our organization. A classical START-UP is to kick off an innovative business idea and put structures in place that allow a new business venture to establish itself, grow and prosper. When Mindpearl starts-up a new business venture it can mean the expansion of an existing account, the start of a new account or service provision or the set-up of a new office location in itself. When you look at the many Mindpearl activities in the past years, it’s evident that our company has become a true incubator for start-ups, small and big.

So, what makes a START-UP a success?

In order to have a successful START-UP one needs good planning and PEOPLE in a project team who share their experience, are able to read risks and understand interdependencies between the various tasks at hand. A successful start-up is managed by PEOPLE who can communicate well and PEOPLE who are diligent to document progress, follow-up and follow-through, are not afraid to re-prioritize tasks and think on their own feet to often come up with rather creative and sometimes unconventional solutions. The best START-UPS are fuelled by PEOPLE who have a passion for learning, personal growth and who are able to see failures and set-backs as opportunities and get inspired by the little wins along the way. A START-UP environment is not for the faint-hearted or control driven PEOPLE who want to stick with rigour to just rules and conventions. A true START-UP contributor shows bravery in the way of thinking and level-headed, calm application to the tasks at hand, no matter how dynamic the activities can get. A good START-UP is always a team effort – built on recognizing and valuing each individual’s strength, skills and contributions – an established trust environment that will carry the project at hand through thick and thin.

When does a START-UP move into a business as usual operation?

It depends on the nature of the START-UP and size of the project when the START-UP activities gradually turn into the operational day-to-day activities of a BAU (Business As Usual) state. Naturally when STARTING UP a new office location, one needs to have a functioning, fully set-up office building with adequately trained employees who are fully supported by the local office infrastructure, which in case of a new office location needs to be built from scratch. It is always refreshing to witness this pioneering aspect of the ones helping with varied tasks during a START-UP, tasks that are not necessarily documented in anyone’s job description but tasks that are crucial for the Duty of Care for the new building and the new staff. And here – in my view – lies an often-overlooked element of a successful START-UP: the Duty of Care for things happening in the background without it becoming an official project deliverable, for things magically being sorted without having to ask for it, for PEOPLE who invest an immense amount of time and their personality to make things work, no matter what. These are the unsung heroes of a START-UP who must be acknowledged and thanked, as without their humble and unwavering assistance a START-UP would not be as successful otherwise.

Can one apply START-UP principles to other areas in life?

The answer is YES. To START-UP something new, a human being needs to be ready for CHANGE and be prepared to also break out from routine, comfort and not resist in letting go of old behaviours or ways of doing things. For many these above steps can be the most daunting in life. Depending on the situation at hand i.e. changing jobs, changing career, changing a work location, farewelling a career, colleagues and employees during an account or office closure, farewelling a loved one, the guiding principles of a START-UP can be applied to any such situation.

  • Surround yourself with a well supporting project team and communicate your own plans, wants, desires, fears, worries and emotions
  • Map out a project plan of the pros and cons of CHANGE to visualize the different options and better understand possible road blocks and options ahead
  • Be honest with yourself and at the same time considerate of others around you
  • Communicate openly in remembering that communication is 80% listening and 20% talking
  • Be guided by your gut feeling, values and moral standards

To achieve a successful START-UP, don’t be afraid of closure. Only when bringing something to an end, a NEW BEGINNING is possible with all its opportunities of the new, the growth, the learning ahead, the discovery and new adventure ahead.

Author: Karin Dale | 04 April 2018
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