Every startup, don’t know if you have noticed it, has an intangible and essential energy about it, which we define as the soul of the startup. The founders feel its need, and early employees as well as customers of the startup have acknowledged its presence. The soul inspires the people associated with the startup to contribute towards its growth with their talent, time, money, enthusiasm as well as efforts. As a result, these people have a deeper sense of connection and purpose towards the work.
You would have noticed that the early years of the startup heaves in a large amount of engagement. The reason being the soul. As long as the soul persists, you will notice a hike in the engagement. Those are the years when the startup remains innovative, and actively promotes growth. However, with time, the soul vanishes, and only the startup remains.
Let’s take Apple for instance. When Jobs initiated Apple, the vision was always about innovation. He looked for gaps in the demands, and construed an innovation from it. Early Macs are an excellent example of that. When Jobs stayed away from Apple for a while, this soul went away with him, and you would notice that the years when Jobs was not part of the organization, Apple’s innovation took a dive.
However, it went through a hike again when Jobs was reinstated. The iPads, iPods and even the iPhone is an example of that. Today again you would notice a slight dive in the innovation.
The soul is basically the vision that the founder had regarding the company. The positive energy and the aura that surrounds the company could be attributed to the soul of the company. However, as business matures, and new people take part and the roles are more defined, the soul dies. However, hard you try to keep it, it dies.
Eventually, even the founders and the employees confuse the soul of the organization with the culture and the flexible job hours. Some even offer company merchandises as part of the soul. What people don’t realize is that the soul is more of the mindset than the behavioural or other approaches. Addressing the matter superficially wont take you anywhere.
Most of the founders believe that their startups are about more than their business models.
Over a period, I realized that while many companies struggle to retain their original spirit essence, vision, creativity, style; some have managed to do so quite effectively and so sustaining strong stakeholder relationships and ensuring that their venture continue to grow.
TCS must have started out with a soul at some point in life, and today despite being a multinational company, it still has adhered to its soul and envisioned its efforts accordingly.
The processes are defined in adherence with the soul of the company. What is the soul of TCS? As a group, Tata has always been strict about principles. Their soul is based on ethical practices and good governance. Every employee is hinged with this soul, and you will see it in how responsibly they carry out their processes.
So often entrepreneurs, consultants, and scholars emphasizes the need to implement structure and systems as a business grows, missing the importance of preserving its spirit.
Here are few problems faced by startup businesses
Which as a startup entrepreneur we can and should focus. With effort and determination, leaders can nurture and protect what’s right and true in their organizations.
In Search of Organizational Spirit
The investors, consultants and the startup founders have slightly differing views about the soul of the startup. While, the founder does believe that the soul is the foundation, the VC and private equity firms, in my view, tend to consider it as an illusion or completely irrelevant. Most VCs, I have encountered with in the past, have identified the professional management as well as the orientation towards processes as the foundation for the companies.
However, founders believe that their companies are beyond mission statements, business models and talent. What the founders could not observe was- what it was?
I believe that what the startup founders claim should be considered, as they have more idea about their startup, as against the rest of the world. The way the founders define their companies is what we call soul- the real self of the company.
As a startup owner, I am involved with starting up Everyonic Venture, a mobile app development firm, and GED, I believe that the soul is very important, and you need to articulate it well enough for the VCs to understand
Let me explain how soul can be defined and articulated for better investment.
Measuring the Soul
During the course of my work, I have identified how organizations need to adhere to the soul, as it lies the foundation for the company, in terms of engagement and processes. However, how do you maintain the soul, as the company grows.
If you combine business intent with customer connection and employee experience to jar in a unique and inspiring context for your work, then you have the soul ready for scaling.
Remember, what I am saying here are not buzzwords that look fancy or jargons that don’t connect with you. I have used it to maintain the soul of the company, and I believe the commitment towards these things would help you too.
This combination would also help to give meaning to your work. Instead of it being merely transactional, the relation between the company and the stakeholders increases.
Employees connect with the exciting idea and with the perception of service to end users, and with the distinctive, intrinsic rewards of life on the job. Some People form emotional ties to the company, and those ties energize the organization.
I know how we are evolved currently with Everyonic, without giving up on the soul, which was to serve every customer with a unique experience, and giving a challenging environment and empowered space to the employees.
I believe every single employee, should have scale to the next level, as well as the customers, feel the same connect and aura with the company. As a startup, company should grow, but you should maintain the value of connect and communication.
Conclusion: Business intent
Most of the organizations I observed had their own defined supportive purpose. Usually this “business intent” originated with the founder(s), who communicated it to employees to persuade them to trade stable jobs. Entrepreneurs wanted to build businesses that improved people’s lives by changing the way products or services were created, distributed, or consumed. Many ventures define their mission or business scope, but the intent I uncovered went further, taking on an almost existential significance—a reason for being.
What set successful ventures apart was the urge to continue their soul and spirit for a larger cause of all the stockholders including clients, investors, vendors, employees and others.
I have been watching over startups, been a part of a few startups, and seen them grow beautifully, while keeping the soul alive. In some instances, I have been an inclusive part of the soul too.
I understand what you are looking for, when growing, and how difficult articulating growth can be for the startup founder. If you are one of them, Avail my Startup Ready Program where I will jog you down the memory lane, help you get the soul alive, make it flexible for growth, and ensure you thrive your growth on the original soul, making it beautiful with time.
So, are you in for some growth? Call or email me to get my help or consultation. I assure smooth growth and a fulfilling scalability.