Any entrepreneur who considers his startup as a child to be taken care of on a 24/7 basis probably aims at raising it to be strong, healthy, effective and even to cause friends’ envy.
It’s no one’s dream to raise an unmanageable and ineffective “child”, but in reality this happens too often, especially with startups.
So what exactly makes the difference between well-raised or badly behaving “child”, i.e. a costly, unsuccessful venture? How do we develop a business in an effective yet unique way?
All businesses are different not only in their nature, but also in their resource consumption and utilisation pattern, their internal and external relationships, etc. Therefore, it is hard to find a one-size-fits-all solution for them.
To aim for success, you should first know the personality of your “child”, which may be characterized by five organisational archetypes: producers, knowledge-dependent, location-dependent, donor-dependent and state-affiliated organisations.
Producers physically transform inbound materials–into cars, chips or hoodies–and thus adds value to those materials. They are dependent not only on their professional expertise in terms of production, but also on their ability to navigate around the market, to manage their supply and demand chain and to purchase and maintain equipment. Before building a startup of this kind, funds must be invested in production without expecting any return in the short term.
Knowledge-dependent companies sell internally generated knowledge to cater to the increasing demand for expertise. They attract clients such as media producers, clinics, consultants, banks and educational entities, who wouldn’t be able to function properly without the support of the companies that provide them with knowledge and expertise.
A location-dependent business’s key asset is its location, which translates into a demand. Resorts, shops, coffee shops, transport companies and service providers are among the examples of this type of businesses. We tend to think of the last two examples as producers, but that would be wrong, because they would not be able to conduct their business if not for where they are located.
Donor-dependent organisations are defined by their ability to motivate people willingness to donate for a particular cause. Examples of this type of organisation include charities, voluntary funds and religious organisations. These organisations often attract donors by appealing to their emotion. Their main concern is to maximise resources through strong and long-lasting relations with donors, which help secure donations on a long-term basis.
Those who have the experience of starting a business probably know well how much effort, time, money and expectations are often burned for nothing. It is hence important to fit your business into the right archetype, which will allow you to place yourself in a clear market niche, draft an accurate customer portrait, build a sustainable relationship base and concentrate on your core priorities.
One can only understand what he can do and achieve when he knows who himself, and it’s the same with businesses. A company’s goal can only be clearly defined when you play it by your archetype.
Developing a company in a way that is in line with its goals can greatly enhance its chances of success and high performance. Otherwise, it would be like raising a child to be an athlete by giving him music lessons.