Here is a small methodology formalized that I remixed from my knowledge in organization theory and my personal experience in project development. Although intuitive, I wanted to share it especially for apprentice entrepreneurs who embark on complex projects and who can quickly lose track when faced with the various obstacles imposed on them.
Note: This content originally published in 2012 was republished in 2023, and it is the 3rd chapter in a series of course on Management 2.0, the summary of which can be found here.
There is more than one constraint which means that a beginning entrepreneur may have to abandon his project or put it in danger: lack of financing, endless paperwork, unsuitable law, pressure or even loss of focus. This is why it seems important to me, at a given moment, to take stock and place ourselves in a loop within which we can roughly identify six stages: refueling, starting, acceleration, takeoff, stabilization, then revolution (or optionally, landing).
In launching a project, this step quite simply constitutes the taking information. Sort of a mix between Economic intelligence, taking information, networking And research online, this step is an essential prerequisite to do before embarking on anything, and you will need to ask yourself the right questions:
What field do I want to get into? What product(s) or service(s), what business model, what competitors, what logistics, what law, what investment, what partner(s) and what exit route? To do this, you will need to put together a personal business plan, even simplified and rough, in which you will describe and formalize your project.
To do this, you should not hesitate to explore all possible avenues: network of alumni of your school, legal forums, lawyer friends or financial profiles, balance sheets and income statements of the players already in place. Use white information, or even gray if you can!
THE startup, as its name suggests, is all about jumping into battle! No more time for skepticism, if you have decided to take the plunge, there is no longer any need to hesitate, you must put all the chances on your side.
To do this, you will not have much time to rest, and you will have to take care of your loved ones, or even mobilize their strength if necessary.
This phase is among the most hazardous because many things fall on you: moves, administrative paperwork, first employees to manage...
I have often found this natural phase of acceleration in many projects in development. It constitutes the step which precedes a certain important deadline to be respected.
However, there are often some unforeseen events that call this deadline into question: undelivered stock, a bug in the system, a dissatisfied employee, which causes a certain delay.
These unforeseen events then cause a sort of positive stress phase which mobilizes teams around a common survival objective: respecting set deadlines.
It's here acceleration phase, but be careful, acceleration does not mean haste: beware of fatal errors!
Furthermore, acceleration consists of mobilizing a large part of the teams in pursuit of the objective set upstream. And for good reason, the project being new, we must redouble our efforts to catch up with the competitors.
It is therefore a question of putting the rubber in place to assume the famous “freshness bonus” among prospects, and to get people talking about you.
Take-off is, as its name suggests, the most pivotal phase of the project. Indeed, I have many times witnessed the acceleration of certain projects, where the teams were fully mobilized behind the set objective.
Except that once the first results were achieved, the teams relaxed, believing that they could resume at the same stage a little later. Serious mistake!
If I wanted to write this article, it is precisely to describe this quantum leap which must be noted: the activity of a project does not generally follow an increasing linear function, it functions through technological, organizational, marketing and commercial leaps... It passes from one stage to another in successive strata, but not in a linear way.
To stay in the metaphor of the plane, it cannot stop the juice it is delivering during takeoff under the pretext that it has managed to take off a little: it must absolutely complete its takeoff and arrive at a certain altitude to release tension.
This is exactly the same process that must be used when developing a project: the first results are misleading, and relying on them can not only prevent you from making any progress, but also cancel out all the efforts undertaken previously, which which will force you to start all over again!
Whether in tennis, bodybuilding, or in an artistic practice for example, first results often arrive after a few weeks of practice. However, this rapid evolution is misleading, because it makes the novice think that evolution will continue at this pace. In reality, once the initial results phase has passed, a long phase of stagnation or even regression follows. (think about takeoff, which alternates between gaining altitude and catching your breath), subject to discouragement. It is precisely during this period that we must hold on and above all, don't lose motivation, because the first efforts could have been in vain!
The example of launching a blog or a YouTube channel
The take-off phase is particularly important in the launch of an online magazine for example, a YouTube channel or an Instagram or Tiktok account, whether in terms of SEO positioning or loyalty.
If you have put an end to the design, the technical foundations, the frequency of publication, it often happens that after a certain period the content creators relax seeing that they have very little feedback in the comments of their publications or in terms of virality.
Here again, it is a question of redouble your efforts, and to continue to ensure updates (provided that the work on referencing has been well done) so that, suddenly, through a sort of digital ellipse, the community ends up blossoming overnight .
This is an experience that I have had in most of my web projects: it is only after a long period marked by the slow construction of a community until now silent that, all of a sudden, through a sort of almost magical digital catalysis, the beneficial effects of Google's robots are felt, and that at the same time the regulars begin to show signs of life. This is what I call the critical mass, which must be reached before making the quantum leap which I was talking about just before.
The project is launched and it is starting to go well. There stabilization then consists of finding a certain cruising speed, on the one hand to create a stable organization, enable loyalty and the implementation of landmarks for your stakeholders (readers, employees, suppliers, customers, shareholders, etc.), but also to allow you to breathe and start to reinvent the future on solid and lasting structures.
Be careful, however: stabilization does not mean drowsiness! In my opinion, this phase is marked by more or less great adaptations to the environment, to demand, to legislation, and by small, obvious periods of turbulence, which reflect marginal changes of direction, trial and error, struggles of direction. internal powers, etc.
The revolution or the landing
There is no chance that the business you have created will survive in the long term if you do not operate, when the environment requires it, revolution.
It could be an organizational revolution following technological innovations, a change in positioning, a new market, a joint venture, etc.
The fear of making the wrong choice represents the risk of not evolving with the times, and of eventually disappearing.
But here again, it is a question of not opposing caution and haste. Making a revolution does not mean doing anything: a revolution is in the world of business by definition prudent and calculated, unlike the notion of revolution as we know it in history, and which is the fruit of a great combination of circumstances and power struggles.
You have achieved your objectives, your project is a success, it is time to land and reap the fruits you have sown!
The landing represents in the model that I present to you reselling your business at the most opportune time: during an economic bubble, during a good period, or when you think your business is at its peak and will probably decline in the coming years.
You are a lucid and opportunistic person, and you think it is good to resell your business totally or in part to reinvest elsewhere, this is the landing phase, with all its good things. !
This, in my opinion, is a possible description of the main phases of an entrepreneurial project, which describes the company and the organization through two main axes:
- First of all, considering the company within a life cycle more or less long, marked by a beginning (preparation) and an end.
- Then, the choice to describe the company as a succession of phases which will lead decision-makers to alternate stages more or less opportunely minor adaptation and of major revolution.
The key to top management is therefore to maintain a period of stability for as long as necessary, but also to recognize at the appropriate time the need for rapid and profound transformation of many characteristics at the same time.
Purists will recognize that my approach is largely inspired by configuration school.
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