Wednesday, July 29, 2009

The Art of Start Ups: Doing what it Takes

It's a hard time for start-ups. We all know that. But on a positive note, I was watching the NBC Evening News (yes I still do -- but on the TiVo) and saw a story that reminded me of a conversation I had yesterday that made me smile. The NBC story was about a company in Peoria, Illinois that has made its way through the recession by having employees who can do many jobs. They are flexible.

The conversation I had yesterday was with a new guy with one of our clients who said, when asked what his job was said (something like) "Whatever helps the company succeed." This made me smile because, after working with nearly 100 start ups through the years, we have seen that the best people in start ups are those that have that attitude. If pushing the broom is what it takes to get there from here, that's what they will do.

And mind you, this is a guy with substantial credentials and a track record of experience across several disciplines. He could claim specialization but instead is just focusing on being a meaningful part of the team and using all of his strengths to accomplish that.

Of course, not everybody can do everything: if you aren't a developer, you probably shouldn't try to write code. And more than that, we at Roeder-Johnson, try to keep focused on what we do well -- hoping to execute in our discipline when needed but always looking at the bigger question: of "how can we help the company succeed."

And, by the way, if pushing the broom is what we can do, then hand us the broom.

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