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Not only are the Startups coming across as a new culture in modern India, they are also the new “cool” thing to be a part of. This reminds us of the BPO boom that India witnessed in early 2000s. While many thousands of unskilled under-graduates benefited, the sector also earned a bad name for giving a “quick fix” job pushing India against Graduating (which is the benchmark for education for many a middle class families).
There were many reasons why the industry couldn’t continue to progress beyond a certain age and it gave away quite too much to other developing countries like Philippines, Egypt etc. One such major bottleneck was companies were not inclusive of Operations Specialist in the power circle of their respective boards.
Here are the 5 reasons why I feel startups should not ignore Operations Specialist in the core team:-
1) Go to Market, Go to Ops Floor
After the initial blueprints & strategies brainstormed in the board rooms, Operations is the execution temple. Operations Specialist’s are doers who will now get the product come alive by day-to-day working, managing customers, building leads and will provide raw data sets to the board for cross examination of the initial staging of plans. A specialist will not only make this process easier but will consistently make amendments in the business approach as per initial traction feedback and requests.
2) Numbers & figures
There are two kind of number crunchers in a startup. One is the majority board where unrealistic goals can become realistic targets over coffee discussions. The other is the ground connected Operations Specialist who can add a bit of realism and assist the board to keep the carrots at the right place. The operations board member can add a bit of reality check of what is working on ground vs on paper. Numbers are very important for a startup but setting the right goals is equally important for the team to take them seriously.
3) Day end Reporting & Analysis
Discipline and work ethics are important traits in a startup. It defines the culture and engagement levels of the employees. Devising the right kind of reporting templates which change from time to time, analysis, pre-shifts, post-shifts, contents and many such floor level initiatives can be executed by the Operations Specialist. Getting the right analysis of work, motivating to push ahead and showing a reason for the team to go further is a kind of pitch that the specialists will give in week after week, month on month and sometimes even daily. And, that too without making it sound repetitive.
4) Team Management
Operations is the bridge between the board and revenue generating employees. Its a known fact that employees leave managers and not the companies. Attrition (primarily considered a domain of HR) can be addressed right on the Ops Floor. Specialists will address the areas of concerns and start team addressable sessions either one on one or by town-hall meetings. Every employee is different and it takes some deep skills to handle people to people issues. These can have a drastic impact on the nature of progress in a startup. Specialists make the right kind of bonding in the team. Neither friendly nor cold. Just business-friendly.
5)Ultimate responsibility of Revenue
Operations department is the real revenue generator in any company. While its good to have top notch developers, designers, strategists and others all around, the fact remains that they hold non-ops executive positions in terms of revenue generation. Their salaries would be paid on dependence of total sales, customer acquisition and growth of the startup. There are no doubts that it takes skills to build a product but taking that product to the next level is not a one day journey. Since Operations will drive and execute the plan at the end of the day, Specialists work closely from the top of Organizational Structure to the bottom down. Strategies aside, generating revenue and closing deals is a serious business best left to professionals.
So, there we go with the 5 reasons why one must consider getting Operations Specialist into the Startup boards.With years of experience, we can safely say that Operations is the most ignored department in the failed startups. And, that included mine too.
I have been asked by many Founders what makes a good Operation Specialist. Basically a great Ops Specialist will have great public speaking & team building skills along with knowledge of Sales, HR, Branding, MarCom and ofcourse, must have technical know-how. Yes, you got it right. Jack of all trades and also, master of many. Ending with a cheesy line for all the Startups out there – “Keep Calm and let the Operations Specialist in your board handle it”.
Do comment below if you feel for or against the motion. Love or Bricks, both are welcome!