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Strategy for Startups: Importance
and Impact
July 8 2015
Vasudev Murthy
Managing Partner, Focal Concepts
Vasudev Murthy
• Managing Partner, Focal Concepts www.focalconcepts.in
• Former Senior Practice Partner and P&L Head, Functional Consulting (HR, OCM, Finance, Supply Chain &
Social Media), Wipro Consulting Services
• Former Head of Shared Services at WCS – Training, Research, Knowledge Management, MBA recruitment
(selection, induction, assimilation), Consulting Operations.
• Master Facilitator, with the ability to guide large groups of people in a common direction in a structured
manner, emphasizing decision-making through consensus-building.
• Motivational speaker – creativity, sales excellence and leadership
• BE – IIT Roorkee, MS in CS Florida State University, MBA, Southern Methodist University
• Visiting Professor of Management Consulting at Indian Institute of Management, Bangalore
How Organizations Really
Work is the perfect
companion for an employee
at any level; for those who
want to step back and look
objectively at what’s
happening around them and
make sense of it.
DO STARTUPS NEED A STRATEGY?
Today’s talk
• What is strategy?
• The importance of creating a strategy - for
competitors, investors and employees
• The traits of a person who ought to drive strategy
• How strategy is affected by various forces
• Linking Strategy to the present by creating
sensible Mission-Vision-Goals-Objectives
What is strategy?
The Desired FutureThe Plan
Now
Describing Startups• Excitement
• Chaos
• Everyone’s busy
• Chasing a dream
• Impatience
• High energy and positive vibes
• No time to even breath
• blizzard of make-or-breakdecisions
• Tough tradeoffs because of limited
time, resources or market knowledge
• Sell, sell, sell
• Watching cash or equity slip
away
• Day to day fire-fighting –
technology, people issues,
unexpected events,
infrastructure
• Technology, alliances, legal,
hiring, customers, invoices,
collecting, bug fixes, money
• Unsure ofwho potential customers
are and what they want and will pay
for
• Stuck in short-term survival
mode
• No time for sitting back and thinking
Please
note
• Forbes Jan
2015
• 90% of
startups fail
The only guarantee of survival
Investing in the creation of a strategy
A good product idea and a strong technical team
are not a guarantee of a sustainable business.
The difference
strategy
tactics
execution
Long Term
Short term
Execution
Operating area
for most
startups
Who should drive strategy?
• Can you afford a full time
position?
• Comfortable with being
seen as an advisory role.
Can influence but cannot
force.
• Experienced and can
generate uncomfortable
what-ifs
• Can work with strategy
tools
• Seen as a consensus
builder
• Able to keep away from
daily challenges
• Observes the market
and can abstract
• Thinks laterally
• Does not need
reportees
The importance of crafting a strategy
• Surviving and thriving
• Competition – they take you seriously and try to catch
up. Stay ahead by constantly introducing disruption.
• Customers – assurance that your product or service has
longevity
• Investors – greater assurance of long term viability and
returns
• Employees – a compelling reason to stay on and
become emotionally invested
The best time to start work on a strategy is NOW
• Strategy without tactics
is the slowest route to
victory.
• Tactics without strategy
is the noise before
defeat.
Sun Tzu
A sensible way to acknowledge and deal with
uncertainty
Mission, Vision, Goals and Objectives
Cash flow
Media
Markets
Supply
Chain
Competitors
People
Legal
Regulatory
Obsolescence
Investors
Program Management
Alliances
Acquisitions
Time Horizon
Technology
The Board
Culture
Brand
MVGO
Questions to be asked and decisions to be taken
• Mission: What are we and what do we do now?
• Vision: What do we want to become?
• Goals: What are the things we need to do to get
there?
• Objectives: What are the time-bound steps we
need to take for each Goal?
Mission, Vision, Goals, Objectives
M
i
s
s
i
o
n
V
i
s
i
o
n
G
1
G
2
G
3
G
4
G
5
O
1
O
2
O
3
O
4
O
1
O
2
O
3
O
4
O
1
O
2
O
3
O
4
O
1
O
2
O
3
O
4
O
1
O
2
O
3
O
4
X Years
Mission, Vision, Goals, Objectives
M
i
s
s
i
o
n
V
i
s
i
o
n
G
1
G
2
G
3
G
4
G
5
O
1
O
2
O
3
O
4
O
1
O
2
O
3
O
4
O
1
O
2
O
3
O
4
O
1
O
2
O
3
O
4
O
1
O
2
O
3
O
4
X Years
IMPORTANT
• Note 1:
– Creating a Vision is also an emotional exercise
– The wise CEO allows his staff to have a huge say in the
creation of the vision
– Otherwise, its just words on a poster
• Note 2:
– Strategy must be reduced to tangibles with the help of
tools, not just figures on a whiteboard.
– Strategy is nothing but a series of decisions made,
that cut across various aspects described earlier.
Decision to be made
The Glue
Solution side
Problem side
DECISIONS CREATE THE FUTURE!
Exercise: create your strategy
Name: Product or Service (X): Whether planned or existing: P/E
Why does the market need it: How much would they be willing to pay:
Do customers have a choice?: Can this be duplicated easily?
Do you have competitors? Are there government regulations to consider?
How long will X last? How will you extend its life?
What will you do to handle obsolescence? Do you hope to get acquired?
Do you hope to acquire another company in the future? Why? Have you done your financial projections for three-five years?
Management Team, if in place: Who handles strategy?
Who would be a possible alliance partner and why?
Why would people be willing to join you? What would you like the culture of the company to be?
Do you have a succession plan? What business risks do you anticipate?
What should your brand represent? What would your interface with the media be like?
QUESTIONS (leave blank if you don’t have an answer)
DECISIONS TO BE MADE
Reminder: Mission, Vision, Goals,
Objectives
M
i
s
s
i
o
n
V
i
s
i
o
n
G
1
G
2
G
3
G
4
G
5
O
1
O
2
O
3
O
4
O
1
O
2
O
3
O
4
O
1
O
2
O
3
O
4
O
1
O
2
O
3
O
4
O
1
O
2
O
3
O
4
X Years
Mission Vision Goals and Objectives
• Mission: What does your organization do?
• Vision: What do you want to become in what
time? DECIDE
• Goals: What are the paths you need to take to
reach your Vision? DECIDE
• G1:
• G2:
• G3:
• G4:
• Objectives: What are the milestones on each
path? (do this for each Goal) DECIDE
• G1 – O1:
• G1 – O2:
• G1 – O3:
• G2 – O1:
• G2 – O2:
• G2 – O3:
Thank you
Vasudev Murthy
Vasudev.Murthy@focalconcepts.in
+91 9986680400

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Crafting a Strategy -

  • 1. Strategy for Startups: Importance and Impact July 8 2015 Vasudev Murthy Managing Partner, Focal Concepts
  • 2. Vasudev Murthy • Managing Partner, Focal Concepts www.focalconcepts.in • Former Senior Practice Partner and P&L Head, Functional Consulting (HR, OCM, Finance, Supply Chain & Social Media), Wipro Consulting Services • Former Head of Shared Services at WCS – Training, Research, Knowledge Management, MBA recruitment (selection, induction, assimilation), Consulting Operations. • Master Facilitator, with the ability to guide large groups of people in a common direction in a structured manner, emphasizing decision-making through consensus-building. • Motivational speaker – creativity, sales excellence and leadership • BE – IIT Roorkee, MS in CS Florida State University, MBA, Southern Methodist University • Visiting Professor of Management Consulting at Indian Institute of Management, Bangalore How Organizations Really Work is the perfect companion for an employee at any level; for those who want to step back and look objectively at what’s happening around them and make sense of it.
  • 3. DO STARTUPS NEED A STRATEGY?
  • 4. Today’s talk • What is strategy? • The importance of creating a strategy - for competitors, investors and employees • The traits of a person who ought to drive strategy • How strategy is affected by various forces • Linking Strategy to the present by creating sensible Mission-Vision-Goals-Objectives
  • 5. What is strategy? The Desired FutureThe Plan Now
  • 6. Describing Startups• Excitement • Chaos • Everyone’s busy • Chasing a dream • Impatience • High energy and positive vibes • No time to even breath • blizzard of make-or-breakdecisions • Tough tradeoffs because of limited time, resources or market knowledge • Sell, sell, sell • Watching cash or equity slip away • Day to day fire-fighting – technology, people issues, unexpected events, infrastructure • Technology, alliances, legal, hiring, customers, invoices, collecting, bug fixes, money • Unsure ofwho potential customers are and what they want and will pay for • Stuck in short-term survival mode • No time for sitting back and thinking
  • 7. Please note • Forbes Jan 2015 • 90% of startups fail
  • 8. The only guarantee of survival Investing in the creation of a strategy A good product idea and a strong technical team are not a guarantee of a sustainable business.
  • 9. The difference strategy tactics execution Long Term Short term Execution Operating area for most startups
  • 10. Who should drive strategy? • Can you afford a full time position? • Comfortable with being seen as an advisory role. Can influence but cannot force. • Experienced and can generate uncomfortable what-ifs • Can work with strategy tools • Seen as a consensus builder • Able to keep away from daily challenges • Observes the market and can abstract • Thinks laterally • Does not need reportees
  • 11. The importance of crafting a strategy • Surviving and thriving • Competition – they take you seriously and try to catch up. Stay ahead by constantly introducing disruption. • Customers – assurance that your product or service has longevity • Investors – greater assurance of long term viability and returns • Employees – a compelling reason to stay on and become emotionally invested The best time to start work on a strategy is NOW
  • 12. • Strategy without tactics is the slowest route to victory. • Tactics without strategy is the noise before defeat. Sun Tzu
  • 13.
  • 14. A sensible way to acknowledge and deal with uncertainty Mission, Vision, Goals and Objectives Cash flow Media Markets Supply Chain Competitors People Legal Regulatory Obsolescence Investors Program Management Alliances Acquisitions Time Horizon Technology The Board Culture Brand
  • 15. MVGO Questions to be asked and decisions to be taken • Mission: What are we and what do we do now? • Vision: What do we want to become? • Goals: What are the things we need to do to get there? • Objectives: What are the time-bound steps we need to take for each Goal?
  • 16. Mission, Vision, Goals, Objectives M i s s i o n V i s i o n G 1 G 2 G 3 G 4 G 5 O 1 O 2 O 3 O 4 O 1 O 2 O 3 O 4 O 1 O 2 O 3 O 4 O 1 O 2 O 3 O 4 O 1 O 2 O 3 O 4 X Years
  • 17.
  • 18.
  • 19.
  • 20.
  • 21. Mission, Vision, Goals, Objectives M i s s i o n V i s i o n G 1 G 2 G 3 G 4 G 5 O 1 O 2 O 3 O 4 O 1 O 2 O 3 O 4 O 1 O 2 O 3 O 4 O 1 O 2 O 3 O 4 O 1 O 2 O 3 O 4 X Years
  • 22. IMPORTANT • Note 1: – Creating a Vision is also an emotional exercise – The wise CEO allows his staff to have a huge say in the creation of the vision – Otherwise, its just words on a poster • Note 2: – Strategy must be reduced to tangibles with the help of tools, not just figures on a whiteboard. – Strategy is nothing but a series of decisions made, that cut across various aspects described earlier.
  • 23. Decision to be made The Glue Solution side Problem side DECISIONS CREATE THE FUTURE!
  • 24. Exercise: create your strategy Name: Product or Service (X): Whether planned or existing: P/E Why does the market need it: How much would they be willing to pay: Do customers have a choice?: Can this be duplicated easily? Do you have competitors? Are there government regulations to consider? How long will X last? How will you extend its life? What will you do to handle obsolescence? Do you hope to get acquired? Do you hope to acquire another company in the future? Why? Have you done your financial projections for three-five years? Management Team, if in place: Who handles strategy? Who would be a possible alliance partner and why? Why would people be willing to join you? What would you like the culture of the company to be? Do you have a succession plan? What business risks do you anticipate? What should your brand represent? What would your interface with the media be like? QUESTIONS (leave blank if you don’t have an answer) DECISIONS TO BE MADE
  • 25. Reminder: Mission, Vision, Goals, Objectives M i s s i o n V i s i o n G 1 G 2 G 3 G 4 G 5 O 1 O 2 O 3 O 4 O 1 O 2 O 3 O 4 O 1 O 2 O 3 O 4 O 1 O 2 O 3 O 4 O 1 O 2 O 3 O 4 X Years
  • 26. Mission Vision Goals and Objectives • Mission: What does your organization do?
  • 27. • Vision: What do you want to become in what time? DECIDE
  • 28. • Goals: What are the paths you need to take to reach your Vision? DECIDE • G1: • G2: • G3: • G4:
  • 29. • Objectives: What are the milestones on each path? (do this for each Goal) DECIDE • G1 – O1: • G1 – O2: • G1 – O3: • G2 – O1: • G2 – O2: • G2 – O3: