Whether a limited project or an entirely new company, every venture requires pretty much the same daily dedication, planning, oversight, and diligence every teen needs. Ventures no more run themselves than any teen actually does, (psychobabble however to the contrary). Slip up on any one of these and the venture is just as certain as any adolescent to lose its way.
They need good genomes: Just as it’s easier for both of you if you can give teens good DNA, your venture needs good DNA. The venture must have a good basic business model. You must produce a solution that fulfills your potential customers’ needs better than their alternative options. Even if those potential customers don’t know that they have any need for what you do, you have to convince them they need exactly what you do. In this newly loyalty-free world, your customers are never much more than potential customers. And just as DNA gone bad causes cancer, product quality, efficiency, flexibility, adaptability, improvements, or price points gone bad kills the business model.
They need good bones: The best of models won’t run unless it’s supported by good systems, processes, and facilities. Just as the going gets painful for teens without good bones, so too will the venture grind down without good structures and systems. Your venture needs adequate feeding with talent, imagination, knowledge, and cash.
Know what they’re good at: Teens need to do what they are good at in order to keep moving ahead. To keep moving forward, your venture needs people who are good at what they do. You need to know who’s good at what so that you can allocate resources and fill in the gaps.
Know what they’re doing: Just as teens left to their own devices will drift off course and not recognize trouble when they hit it, so too will ventures run aground and spin off course unless you keep the pulse of what is actually going on. As with teens, you need to know day to day, ready to step in at any hour to redirect, correct, or pick up the pieces. Your people can’t do it all themselves on the fly.
Know where they’re going: Teens are learning to direct themselves, but sometimes toxic forces push your teens towards the edge of the cliff, and they need you there to push them right back. So too with the venture, you have to keep step with your people’s direction and push them back when they slide off on a tangent or alter the course out of turn.
With ventures, as with teens, long after you would have thought you would be pretty much dispensable, you still can’t lose a beat.