Running Concurrent Start-ups and Mature Businesses
There is an interesting Chinese saying:
Although this quote is often attributed to negativity as living in 'interesting times' is seen as the opposite of a peaceful lifestyle, I believe the opposite. I believe that everyone has their own rendition of what this saying means. To me, living in interesting times is a sign that you are not only learning and growing but a sign that you are moving out of your comfort zone and challenging yourself.
To me, running 4 existing businesses in different stages of development as well as a start-up internationally means that I am constantly living in interesting times. Outlined below are the principles I have used to grow the PNORS Technology Group from a small one company operation to a medium sized company with 5 business and an international operation.
Managing companies at all stages of maturity
First of all, a little context, as the CEO and Founder of the PNORS Technology Group, I have been involved with the establishment of 4 businesses including WilldooIT (open source ERP), Netway Networks (network security and IT support) Datatime Services (automated data capture and validation) and lastly Pacific Commerce (B2B Electronic Data Interchange (EDI)).
In addition to these, we have created a start-up in Indonesia with a new solution which is a fusion of B2B EDI Trading system from Pacific Commerce and an Inventory Management System from WilldooIT.
Learning to do business in a new country while running a medium sized IT company comprising of five companies is challenging and has its interesting times.
Here are some lessons and observations that I have gained from the journey and the areas that I think are important to the success of any business regardless of maturity.
Business lessons to successes
Develop a grounded business plan that has a line of sight from your business drivers to your tactics and metrics this means you can measure results and know that you’re always on track.
Give people freedom and autonomy to run their business make mistakes and play, make it successful.
Use your own technology to run your business so your team can speak from first-hand knowledge to customers.
Hire a smart dedicated executive team and board and align them with the business drivers of your company.
Always keep the end in mind and run your business like you will sell it tomorrow.
Never forget who helped you build your business and keep close to your key customers and the success of their business.
To achieve the above we have set up a structure that enables me aggregate to and review the progress of the business and the team. We also have well-documented methodologies that we have invested in that provide consistent quality results.
Having been the owner and founder of a business for 35 years I have structured the business to enable growth and importantly to enable it to refresh myself. Imagine if PNORS was a rock band and we played the same set of songs to the same set of audiences for this period of time you would go crazy.
I am sure none of this will be a surprise. I have used the above 6 principles to create space for me and my business, team and myself to grow and live in continuous, 'interesting times'.
I regularly discuss these and other business issues with executives and peers.
If anyone is interested in discussing these or other issues, I am always up for a chat.