Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Building the business

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My week started with dawn coffee at Nero’s, as it so often does.  An early, solitary train ride or drive, an hour’s meetings, a few calls and emails, scribbled notes, then back on the road.

Our week started with two days of all-company meetings to assess progress and adjust plans.  We have to hit three milestones: Finalize design, Establish manufacture, and Gain regulatory approval.  Way-stations to achieving in-market product and revenue goals, I need people to hit these within months, within budget.

The actual work flows through a landscape of knowledge and resources that is ever-changing.  Progress requires threading the opportunities and constraints caused by changes in people, locations, and requirements.  These meetings, listening, assessing, re-aligning and motivating are key to completing the project.

DSC06491 (1024x683)But a friend / consultant also recommended that I also take the opportunity to address the business as well as the program, focused on solving two structural problems. 

If I were to ask investors, employees, or Board members some big picture questions, would they have consistent or correct answers?  What is the company in business to do?  How did it start? What do we want it to become?  Do we have a plan, confidence, optimism for overcoming issues and succeeding?  And what is success, for us:  What does the company look like two years from now?  I know the answers, but we should share, discuss, and build on those.

Who do people know in the business?  We are a virtual company, with widely scattered employees, contactors, and suppliers.  Our Board meets by phone; our investors are Angels who receive quarterly updates.   But their contact with the company is very personal and individual: contact with me.  I know that the company is much deeper, we have great people, physical tools, and supportive investors.  They should all come together in one place and meet one another.  So, as we set up our new physical site this month, we’ll also invite people in to touch the product, meet the staff, and see the progress being made.

DSC06493 (1024x683)So we brought in absolutely everyone, talked about the company as well as the project, and passed around the glossy brochure depicting our new site.  We argued about what we know and what we need to know to get product to patients.  We all went to dinner together, said good-bye to people leaving and welcomed new staff.

It’s a good transition, just like when we passed from being a group of founders with an idea, to being a Company with Articles and a Board.  I feel like we have larger goals and deeper connections now than just what I provide. 

It’s a bit of a father’s pride: we want our creations to grow up to be healthy, happy, independent, and successful.

I’m fortunate: Mine are.

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