Startup Lesson: Business Process Focus – When Your Team Is Under Water

Cartoon about business process for business dashboard startup DasherooAhh, start-up land…finite resources and infinite things to get done! And all of those projects can appear to be critical to your success – or survival – right now. And if you don’t have a clear business process, you and your team can feel, well, under water.

At our business dashboard startup Dasheroo, we’re so excited to launch new features, integrate with more applications, get more traffic in the door and improve our in-app experience, that it can be dizzying at times.

And recently, I started to feel the springs almost starting to pop. You’ve probably been there, too. Progess? Sure, but not enough projects getting pulled over the finish line. Too many projects stuck in that ‘WIP’ category for too long.

And when that starts to happen, it’s time to reboot! And that means regrouping with the team, having an open discussion, focusing on the real priorities (maybe re-prioritizing), a real business process and executing.

We had a great meeting recently, where we revisited each major deliverable for Q4 across marketing, product, sales and engineering. It resulted in us taking a few things off of our plate, at least for now. Just agreeing that “we’re not gonna do that”  this quarter. Or, “we thought that feature was really important a few months ago, but now that we’ve learned more it really isn’t mission critical'” It’s sobering, necessary and productive.

So what are some of the actions we took?

  • We delayed one big engineering project to Q1, and re-scoped another one that dramatically reduced (almost eliminated) additional engineering time. That meant we can focus on and complete a couple immediate revenue-generating projects – Insight alerts, branded dashboard exports and an agency & partner console that were all stuck in that ‘we’re almost there’ category.
  • We took a hard look at which social media and content outlets were providing us the best (and worst) results, and adjusted our publishing schedule to optimize the time spent on writing and socializing articles so we could spend more time developing a pricing test and a new onboarding experience.
  • We decided to take a couple app integrations off the Q4 table and focus on two key integrations that are more deep, more valuable and focused on driving user acquisition in a key market.

Although these discussions usually come a little too late, it’s the nature of the beast. I’ll try to get a better read on the ol’ ‘under water’ crystal ball, but the bottom line is addressing these issues immediately, getting everyone on the same page, and executing!

How do you identify and resolve business prioritization in your company? Let me know!

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