Understanding the genesis of a band or of an organization is something I find very interesting. Growing up listening to rock & roll, I had to know the origin of my favorite bands. James Altucher often asks the guests on his podcast about their origin story and the answers are always fascinating.
What makes a start up stand out from the rest? How did they succeed when they had little resources, no revenue and no clients? These stories are the ones that provide the most insights.
At my startup, I work with two amazing dudes and we’re currently trying to shake up the management consulting industry. Although we’re at an embryonic stage right now, we’re having an amazing time.
Keeping an open mind
We’ve been meeting with many smart people and the variety of our conversations has been very stimulating. The business challenges we’ve faced are very diverse; some of them can merit becoming HBR case studies in their own right. Here is a sample of the conversations that we’ve had so far:
- Potential partners in the company: being approached by someone that wants to come along for the ride is extremely humbling. This is not something that can be taken lightly.
- M&A: help a company find a partner that will take it to the next level in its evolution. This is a deep challenge that requires understanding the key stakeholders of the company and its industry.
- Turning the ship around: a firm that is not doing well and needs to grow its revenues in order to survive and thrive.
- Product launch: a well-established organization that wants to shift from B2B to B2C and go big in a large market.
- Internalizing a marketing team: a large corporation that wants to brings more performance marketing activities in house in order to have tighter control.
Every decision that is taken can have a huge impact down the road; it’s important to look at the big picture and decide what’s right for our clients.
What I’ve learned so far
Work with the right team
Choosing your partners particularly at the start up phase is critically important. I’m lucky to work side by side with partners that are all in and get it. Even when we disagree, there is a huge benefit to having the same long-term vision.
Learn when to say no
You can’t add value in every single situation. We’ve had to decline certain mandates where a real difference can’t be achieved. As Warren Buffett once said, it takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it. If you think about that, you’ll do things differently.
Enjoy every minute
I love Marc Andreesen’s quote, “the start ups we invest in will be either be a huge success or leave a smoking crater in the ground.” That’s how I feel sometimes about our start up. One thing is for sure; we’re having fun every step of the way and living in the moment. This is I hope will become part of our origin story.