3 V’s for a successful new Venture

11 Jun 2011 Sandeep Mehta

I have seen many a new ventures flounder because of a lack of focus, a clear plan and a cohesive culture.  In the battle to get revenues and become cash flow positives, many entrepreneurs get far away from what they intended to build.

Here are three V’s to keep ourselves on track and help us succeed:

  • Vision: Define your vision of where the venture will go.
  • Vantage: Define your beliefs and view points of what will make the vision a reality.
  • Values: Define your organization’s culture and values that will help you get to the vision. 

Is a realistic, credible, attractive future for [an] organization. A clear vision has many advantages (described below).  You can change the vision as many times as you like – but not having one will mean you will chase every opportunity however irrelevant to your vision or how much it might take you away from your goal.  The most critical commodity in a new venture is the founder’s time and energy.  A clear vision will help you ensure that resource is used wisely.

Here are some of the benefits of having a clear vision:

  • It attracts commitment and energizes people. 
  • A vision allows people to feel like they are part of a greater whole, and hence provides meaning for their work. 
  • It establishes a standard of excellence. 
  • It bridges the present and the future. 

A great example of a leader with a vision is Steve Jobs.  His vision was that there would be convergence between phones and music players.  It took him seven years from the development of iPod to get to iPhone.  However, the vision guided product development iterations and experimentation till the right solution was developed.

Having a vision is necessary, but not sufficient.  There are many ways to get to the desired vision.  It is important to define a few guiding principles that you are going to follow to achieve your vision.  These guiding principles will help you decide what not to do – probably even more important than deciding what to do.  These guiding principles will help you prioritize between conflicting priorities.  

Research shows that vantage and mindset defines how an organization develops its products.  It is best to think about vantage from an example.  Apple’s vantage is user centric design and on exquisite industrial design.   So when it comes deciding on how to achieve the vision of a converged device, it clear to everyone on the team that the device has to have the absolute best user interface possible.  In fact, the focus is so sharp if there is a conflict between user experience and industrial design, user experience wins.  It is important to remember that whether you define it or not, there is always a set of beliefs that are guiding your actions.  Defining them helps the entire organization drive coherently towards the vision.  
Choosing the right vantage is extremely important.  As the recent article in Arstechica pointed out, Apple’s focus on user experience drove them towards total control of the product solution (hardware, software (OS), and service (iTunes)).  This worked well for most of the hardware centric products, but not so well for the cloud-centric services (such as iCloud).  Google on the other hand, is focused primarily on the internet and may have a better chance of succeeding with cloud services.

Once you have a set of guiding principles, define what cultural values you will inculcate in your organization.  Think about how will your vantage transfer from you into the entire organization.

There are no right or wrong values or cultures.  It is important to decide on what values are important to you and follow those consistently.  Organizations often take on the persona of their leaders.  It wills save you and everyone else a lot of trouble if you are aware of the values you are cherish.  Fun organizations have become a buzz word lately.   Should you spend your scarce resources to make your organization fun?  Are you going to want to control all aspects of the organization or do you prefer to be hands off?  How will the team be rewarded – for individual achievement or for team success?  A few minutes of thoughts along this will ensure you hire the right kinds of people to support you.

Article first published as 3 V’s for a successful new Venture on Technorati.

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