"Startup" has been a popular word for years. Influenced by obsessive ideas that spreading on the Internet, and lacking clear understanding of business components, young guys clutch at their idea and already consider themselves to be businessmen. How do you feel about this? Please share your opinion in the comments.
The pros of this approach that I see:
KeepSolid is not my first attempt to create a project. I am glad that the circumstances turned out the way they did and I had the opportunity to experiment and achieve results. Whereas with some matters my opinion changed according to circumstances, I was always sure about one thing - I do not want to deal with investments. For me, the "startup-investor" attitude reminds of people addicted to medicine pills (they do not cure a serious illness, but rather regularly use drugs at even a slight increase in blood pressure). The human body is a very tricky thing - it has been evolving for a long time and is used to adapt to external factors. If your body understands that it is constantly supported by doses of pills, vitamins, or other medications in response to the slightest deviation from the normal state, it ceases to cope with problems on its own and develops immunity no more. Indeed, why would it? Should anything happen, it will get a pill!
Starting your business from scratch, putting every cent in it (wisely or not), I received feedback from life in a natural way. Yes, it is difficult and very contrary to the mentality of many people, but I believe that before gaining privileges, I must invest myself. Once, when I could not pay for even a single employee, I coded all myself. Days and nights. Now I smile when I recall as I was sitting at the computer, looked up at the window and saw it was night, and once I looked up again - it was day already. It was my investment in the future of the company, which I do not regret about and which allows me to watch ironically at people who say that "working on public holidays is illegal!".
As months passed, the company was developing dynamically. When there were over thirty employees, the first signs of management problems appeared. Approximately at this stage I noticed I don’t have enough time to daily communicate with all employees and solve problems only through communication. Coming from a technical background, for a long time I did not realize the importance of interpersonal relations. I did not understand how to choose people by personal qualities (by the way, why are they now called soft skills? Is it an attempt to hide behind a mysterious term?).
Finally, we found ourselves in a situation where there were so many of us that the lack of clearly described and presented processes led to a chaotic Brownian movement. Attempts to preserve and develop the company resembled a comedy with an awkward hero, who has everything falling down and, while he runs to keep one thing from falling, he is forced to let go and head for another that also begins to fall. An interesting period, after which you can proudly straighten your shoulders and boast of another milestone conquered.
At that stage, I understood the importance of the ethics recommended by L. Ron Hubbard and the company PERFORMA: the best hiring for top positions of the company is internal hiring. This fact is confirmed by J. Collins in his books, for which he and a group of researchers spent many years collecting and analyzing data on famous companies. Indeed, every time we can close a position by raising a successful employee, we get a lot of advantages:
You can rightfully say: "No employee can replace a person with specialized experience and education". Yes, it can be true, but! Successful activity in any position depends on two components: knowledge and personal qualities (allowing or not allowing a person to successfully cope with work). From these two components the former one - knowledge - is easier to adjust. Accordingly, we take personal qualities as a constant, which makes it more important when choosing a candidate for any position. And only if a candidate fits us by this metric, we take a look at his knowledge. We have many examples of career growth. The most common of them are:
The development of employees is not limited to these examples. I believe that any employee has the opportunity to grow both professionally and administratively. In this article I have already described how we see career growth in KeepSolid. Before changing positions, employees are trained and, if possible, for some time they learn from existing specialists.
When setting up processes in the company and creating new jobs, we try to stick to the most important hiring concept for a product company - we recruit people who will drive the company forward rather than wait until all the processes are described to be able to act strictly within the framework and reduce the level of responsibility to a minimum.
If you feel the you are ready to start, go through these steps before you discard your current career and plunge into your entrepreneurship:
The difficulties that I had to face became important stages of my career. Me and my partners covered a long path with many conflicts before we started to distinguish responsibilities and trust each other. We defined areas of influence, which allows employees to better understand who of us is responsible for which questions.
In its second year, the company fundamentally restructured the hiring procedure. Involvement and personal qualities came at the forefront in the evaluation of candidates. Candidates that have "I work only for the sake of money" all over their face became less likely to get to the interview at all. In addition, we refused to steal specialists, unlike most HR’s do. After all, when trying to entice someone else's employee by an increase in salary and asking not to talk about the job change, companies develop a sense of impunity among specialists and eradicate responsibility among them. We give a cold shoulder to the specialists involved in such gray schemes - the way he came to the company, the same will he leave. Therefore, I am grateful to all HR’s, who in advance relieve us of such unscrupulous employees. Changes showed results immediately - the company quickly formed the core of specialists aimed at the result, which are offering worthy solutions rather than discussing the desperation of the problem.
Internal recruitment has become an obligatory and priority procedure in case of the emergence of new positions in the company. At first glance, this is more difficult than finding a suitable person from the outside, but the investment pays off as soon as the candidate gets used to the new role.
For a long time we ignored the need to describe self-explanatory processes that each employee can look at and understand what he should do in a particular situation, what is his product and function. The same happened with the organizational chart of the company.
Choosing an office. In three years we changed three offices. Each of them was larger and more convenient than the previous one. The popular subject of dispute is open space vs. cabinets. I highly advocate for a limited space or cabinets, because one of the features of a product company is frequent discussions, and sometimes even heated disputes, regarding choosing the right solution in the development of the product, or the whole direction of the company. In such disputes, developers are discussing technical issues; marketers and sales are arguing about the choice of events and activities; managers make plans and distribute resources to achieve the goals of their units. In this mode, I think that the optimal size of rooms is 10-15 people.
The main task that I set before the company's management is to establish the right work process with timely delegation of tasks, because I do not want to see the top management, having rolled up its sleeves, constantly performing its work independently and complaining about the lack of free time. I see a very negative consequence of such situation - being constantly engaged in performing tactical tasks, the leader does not have time to look around, assess the company's position in the market and adapt the strategy in a timely manner.
Now we have reached a new stage of development with more complex and ambitious goals. I believe that our team will succeed, and in the nearest future we have a lot of interesting news for you. I will be happy to read your comments on this piece!