Category Archives: small business

Maximizing Your Startup’s Potential: How to Choose the Right Accelerator Program

Maximizing Your Startup’s Potential: How to Choose the Right Accelerator Program

Are you a startup founder who’s considering joining an accelerator program, but not sure which one to choose? Don’t worry, you’re not alone! Recently, I had an older colleague reach out to me with the same question, and it inspired me to write this blog to help others in a similar situation.

When choosing the right accelerator program, there are many factors to consider. One of the key factors is the industry focus. Some accelerators specialize in specific industries, which may be a better fit for your company. Another important factor is the accelerator’s network of mentors, investors, and alumni. Having a strong network can be a valuable resource for a founder.

Funding is another factor to consider, as most accelerators provide funding to participating companies in exchange for equity. It’s important to evaluate the amount of funding offered and the terms of the investment. Additionally, the length of the accelerator program and the location of the accelerator can impact a founder’s ability to access resources, talent, and investors.

Reputation is also an important consideration. The reputation of an accelerator can impact a founder’s ability to attract investors and customers. Finally, the curriculum and resources offered by an accelerator can impact a founder’s ability to grow and scale their company.

For example, when I was choosing an accelerator program for my ex-startup, SellGone, we found that StartupNV was a great fit for us. They specialized in helping tech-based startups in Nevada, had a strong network of mentors, investors, and alumni, and provided funding to Nevada-based startups who participated in their program. We also appreciated their curriculum and resources, which helped us grow and scale our company.

So, if you’re considering joining an accelerator program, be sure to evaluate these factors and choose the one that’s the best fit for your company. Good luck on your startup journey!


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Driving Success: How TPMs Help Resolve Dependencies Between Teams

Driving Success: How TPMs Help Resolve Dependencies Between Teams

In today’s fast-paced and competitive business environment, cross-functional teams are becoming increasingly common as companies seek to innovate and stay ahead. However, with multiple teams working on various projects, dependencies between them can be a significant challenge, resulting in delays, miscommunication, and even project failures. Technical Program Managers (TPMs) can play a crucial role in resolving dependencies between cross-functional teams. This blog post will explore how TPMs can help facilitate effective communication, collaboration, and coordination between teams to ensure that programs are delivered on time and achieve organizational goals.

Facilitating communication: TPMs coordinate communication between teams, identify gaps, and ensure that everyone is on the same page. Regular meetings or stand-ups can be set up where teams provide dependency updates, identify roadblocks or dependencies, and prioritize tasks. These sessions can be used to share progress reports, discuss risks and mitigation strategies, and align on timelines and deliverables.

Identifying dependencies: TPMs often have a high-level view of all the programs executed within the organization. Thus, they can identify dependencies between teams and track their status to ensure they are being addressed in a timely manner before they become a blocker for achieving the company’s objectives.

Prioritizing and tracking dependencies: TPMs have a deep understanding of intra-team and inter-team dynamics, given the cross-functional nature of their role. Thus, TPMs can manage inter and intra team dependencies to ensure that one team’s work is not blocked by the lack of progress on the part of another team. They can prioritize the work of different teams based on their impact on dependencies and the company’s objectives, and identify and mitigate risks associated with dependencies across different teams.

Building relationships and trust: TPMs can help build relationships and trust between cross-functional teams to ensure they can work effectively, particularly when dealing with dependencies. This can be achieved by sharing information, being transparent, conducting joint brainstorming sessions, breaking down silos, defining ownership, setting clear expectations, and strengthening personal relationships by driving offsite events.

Improving transparency: TPMs can provide the necessary transparency to the team to drive efficiency in resolving dependencies. They can communicate deadlines to the right stakeholders to adjust plans accordingly and use tools like JIRA, Asana, Microsoft Project, Wiki, and collaboration platforms like Slack or Microsoft Teams to facilitate communication through shared dashboards and/or weekly reports.

In summary, TPMs play a vital role in managing dependencies between teams by facilitating effective communication, tracking and prioritizing work, building relationships, and improving transparency. They ensure that teams work together effectively and that all dependencies are identified and addressed in a timely manner to ensure program success.


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How to change your organization to innovate faster?

Picture of PhysicsFirst of all, I would like to thank you all for such an overwhelming response to my last blog. I haven’t yet responded to all of your emails and personal messages, but I will respond to them within next few days.

While going through your messages, I have also realized one thing, most of you are not happy with just innovating at a restricted budget, but you are looking to innovate at a faster pace than before. With the technology and the world moving faster each day, I can definitely understand your sentiment. Thus, in this blogpost, I will provide you with some strategies through which you can increase the speed of your innovation at your workplace.

Eliminate hierarchy: Large organizations often find it hard to respond to new market opportunities and change quickly due to the hierarchical burden that comes with these organizations. Thus, if it is possible, we should create smaller R&D teams in our organization which has its own budget and, who can work independently within this organization. If you don’t have that liberty to independently manage the R&D team, then you should at least keep it simple. Try to keep the product cycle small, and perform frequent inspection. Purpose of these inspections shouldn’t be profit based, just yet, but it should be a checking point to make sure that the research is headed in the right direction.

Change incentive system: From Microsoft to Google, we always hire R&D personnel from science-oriented background, and hence, their interests lie in technology, not in markets. These employees, being from technical background, are not trained to engage their customers in the decision making process. Thus, if we want to change this culture of “obsolete innovation”, then we have to start by changing the incentive system, itself. If we use stock options to align the work of our technical staff with the firm’s financial performance, then they will be able to understand the business environment in which your organization does business, and they are more likely to innovate things that help your business.

Create new roles: Changing the incentive system alone wouldn’t help you to change the culture of the entire organization. In order to kick start this organization-wide change, you need to create some new roles within the organization to focus explicitly on customer engagement. This can be done with either existing or new personnel who are placed in important positions within R&D where they can effect change. You can also build new, multi-skilled teams to help change existing practices within R&D. This might involve building teams with both marketing and technical skills to reduce traditional barriers between R&D, sales and customers. It may not even be necessary for all R&D personnel to change or take on a more customer-focused role. Just having one in five in an R&D team being more customer-focused might be enough.

I have seen this strategy work for many small businesses, and I am sure that it can work for you too, if implemented correctly. Please provide your feedback on this blogpost through your comments. Thanks – Bhavin Gandhi


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Software or Tool selection strategy that you should be using in your organization


Recently I was called upon to help one of our local business to fix their existing ERP System, which they had outsourced couple of years ago. After some initial investigation, I quickly realized that this was not the right tool for their business. They were using an all purpose ERP system, which was made for bigger organizations, and they were trying to use it for a very specific purpose. Due to the complexity of the entire software suite, no one really knew how to use this tool completely, and they always ended up hiring some help to fix even a minor issue. Thus, through this blog, I am trying to provide you with some pointers that can help you select the right tool/software for your organization.

Finalize your requirements: Let’s assume that you own a Gas Station and a Convenience Store, and now you are thinking about streamlining your inventory through an automated system. Since you are a small and locally owned business, and you don’t have much knowledge of IT, you decide to hire a third party to help you with your IT needs. Stop right there. Before you even hire someone for helping you with your software needs, you need to have some rough idea of your technical and non-technical requirements. Maybe it is difficult for you to come up with your technical requirements, like – How many servers will we need? What kind of back-up system will we need? etc.; but you should at least jot down your functional requirements, like – What are we trying to achieve? How this new system will help you with your day-to-day business? Etc. Once you have the list of these requirements handy, you can then use this list as your checklist while selecting any software/tool for your needs.

Don’t go overboard: Even though there are many latest and greatest tools available out there, you shouldn’t be choosing your ‘tool of need’ just on the basis of how new and powerful it is. Sometimes most powerful tools might not suffice your actual needs, while some not-so-latest tool will do. Obviously, this is a very difficult decision to make, and hence, you should be evaluating your options based on selected attributes along with their respective weightage. This approach will take out all the human emotions from the tool selection process, and it will help you get the right tool for your specific needs. You should use license cost, training cost, user friendliness, and tool’s features as your attributes; while giving the higher weightage (a high number) to the most relevant attributes during tool selection process. Once that is done, you can then make your final selection based on the final score calculated for the tool(s).

Start small: Most of the executives and small business owners that I have met, try to implement everything at once. After all, they are buying a software/tool to help them out in making their current process efficient. Unfortunately, not everything works right out of the box. Thus, as a business owner, you need to go back to your requirements and identify your top 20% of requirements that you absolutely want to have, and then start it from there. Make sure that the consultant or the company that you have hired shows you incremental deliverables of the product that you are buying. With a pilot run, you will have the opportunity to provide your feedback in real time, and you won’t waste lot of your money before you realize that this software doesn’t meet your requirements. If the pilot run is successful, you can purchase the license or acquire the tool.

I hope, my blog can help you select the right tool/software for your business. If you have any other recommendations, then please feel free to share it here. Thanks – Bhavin Gandhi


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