This blog is part of  Brandhorizon business talks  –  Leading the present, Shaping the future  !

A P J Abdul Kalam said and I quote — “'Dream is not that which you see while sleeping. It is something that does not let you sleep.'”  To me, this is so very relevant  in a start up journey .

Statistics suggest that  only 10 percent of the Startups survive a three year life cycle. The reason for the abysmally low success rate  are the multitude of Challenges faced by Startups and new projects .Let us analyse - Why do Startups fail - although this may not be an exhaustive list and each Startup venture would have its own unique roadblocks and headwinds .

  • Business idea has not been well homeworked or researched in a scientific way.
  • Severe competition in the Startup Race and pressure to be unique
  • Lack of Product/Market fit  resulting in poor Customer Value Proposition.   
  • Team headed by  technocrats and therefore commercial  comprehension and support inadequate.
  • Best of business ideas can emanate from an entrepreneur who lacks  experience in  team management.
  • Venture running into bottlenecks when it comes to funding at various phases due to lagging behind in agreed milestones.
  • Lack of professional finance support resulting in cost overruns and consequent deadlocks .
  • Time overruns causing damage to credibility of investors and collaborators.

Well, these are just some of the bottlenecks that we can envisage. 

This is how a  project  manager can add value -

  • Ideally the project manager would be one who has been in the hot seat of one or more successful  Start ups  and has by virtue of that experience has the tenacity and to face challenges headon and therefore will be like a pillar of strength to ensure that the ventures sails through smoothly through every bottleneck with least disruption to overall project plan.
  • Also ideally the project manager should be one with diverse experience in all functions thereby making him a right pointer to bounce back founder’s ideas . In fact a well chosen  Project manager can be a good substitute to a cofounder to a significant extent.
  • Where there are cofounders, a Project manager can be looked upon as a healthy umpire when there are differences of opinion and the Project manager would veto  with a fair and business centric approach and ensure  project does not get held up due to lack of decision.
  • A good Project manager is a good interface between the investors and the entrepreneur who will protect the interests  of Startups in terms of valuations and possible takeover bids.
  • Finally, even to the best of enterprenuers with high multitasking skills, it becomes almost impossible to devote due attention to all aspects of business . Hiring people for all functions at the initial stages may not be a viable proposition due to limited budgets. This is where a Startup Project manager can fill multitude of roles as a one stop shop  without causing heavy financial burden arising out of retained employee costs .

Thus  a  well chosen project manager should be one who not just mentors but actually helps implement the mentoring .  This way, he not just adds value but actually pays back his costs multiple times through  his diverse and cross functionality skills.

Having said all this, it is also true that there are some Must have characteristics in a  founder that no Mentor / Project Manager / Outsourced CEO can fully replace but can only help unleash them. That is - Passion to turn ambitions into achievement and the courage and grit to face the inevitable setbacks and come out with flying success stories.

Brandhorizon is a platform that offers Brand management services and Project management support  to Startups and New projects .

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