Project Management

Project Management Central

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Topics: Career Development, Education, Strategy
PM Guidance
Good morning PMC! Hoping this message finds everyone well. I am currently working with a startup company, Heirloma de Caña. We are in the very early stages of structuring our team and project. I am reaching out in order to find the proper resources, guidance, and advisement. I was a business major in college, but have very little experience with Project Management. Have any of you been apart of a new company? If so, where was your starting point? Any information, tips, links, or articles would be greatly appreciated!
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Bianca -

Unfortunately, without further details it will be pretty hard for anyone to provide useful, specific guidance.

Is your focus on building and deploying the product or service which your startup will be trying to sell, or is the focus on setting up the company itself including marketing, business operations, and so on?

What is the nature of the company itself - is it going to offer a well understood product or service in a market where there are many similar competitors or is it going to be offering an innovative or disruptive product?

Thank you for your response!

Currently, we are focusing on a number of things, including deploying the product, setting up an infrastructure for our sales which are completely web-based, and market strategies.

Heirloma de Caña is a specialty grade sugar company. Our sugar is grown in Colombia and comes in a number of varietals. We are sustainably grown, and very unique in the industry. In fact, we are the first to bring such rare sugar to the international market. Additionally, we are committed to providing and preserving the livelihood of our indigenous farmers. We want to bring awareness to the indigenous culture of farming, our unique and completely natural way of cultivating sugar, and the direct social impact of our business.
I always loved startup work of 1000's ideas and the world full of opportunities in the new business. You can do so much, it's almost choking. Eventually, you'll find out that sleep is overrated.
Then you crash.
You find out that writing a "to do" list is helpful. You start knocking it down from the "to do" list. You feel like you are accomplishing a lot, productivity goes up.
Then you crash.
You find out that there are more tasks on your "to do" list than 25 hrs in a day. You start prioritizing and determining what is more profitable. You bring more people on based on ROI, build teams, hierarchies, and structure. Then the business starts being mature, acquire rules/regulations/processes.
Then the business crashes.
Lack of innovation kills the business and everyone longs for "startup mentality" when decisions were made on the spot. The business goes through "renewal" period, or burns down.

Successful long-term (counted in years) strategy is exploiting the best from each stage, understanding what works comes with a professional maturity that comes from actual experience (trial-fail-succeed). OR you can hire an expert in the field who's "been there and done that" at a premium.

I would suggest to concentrate on what bring the biggest business value. This is not always equal to money but it is more aligned with what the owners/shareholders want.
It appears that in this business there are differing needs/wants/strategies such as profitability, expansion, sustainability, production, education, awareness, CSR.
I always claimed that profitability should be an essential building block because if the business doesn't make money (or tax & print money, as in case of a government) - it will sooner or later fail to exist.

So, which one is the biggest business value for which you want to build the team for?
I found this presentation very helpful -

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"If you're going to do something tonight that you'll be sorry for tomorrow morning, sleep late."

- Henny Youngman