It takes more than an idea to build a Successful Company #TWBR

February 13, 2016
3 min read
Photo Credit: <a href="">Stephan Geyer</a> via <a href="">Compfight</a> <a href="">cc</a>

The week has been pretty hectic and fast. While trying to meet up with deadlines, I realised that the journey we started together #TWBR is really an extra task. Just as we announced last Saturday, we are reading ‘Built to Last’ this month and I must confess that it has been an enlightening read for me so far. I am able to outline 3 things I have picked so far on the successful habits of visionary companies and I will like to share them with you briefly so you can get back to reading.

It might start with an idea but the company is the real creation

Part of me thought that ideas are the reason for starting a venture. It came, not necessarily has a shock but, an eye opener for me to know that ideas may or may not exist at the start of the venture.

The research done on visionary companies in ‘Built to Last’ revealed that companies are not the vehicles for products but rather the products are the vehicles for the companies. The real creation in the long term isn’t a product but a company; this for me is a secret (held close) to help build companies that span generations because products will outlive their purpose.

But if you see the ultimate creation as the company, not the execution of a specific idea or capitalising on a timely market opportunity, then you can persist beyond any specific idea - good or bad - and move toward becoming an enduring great institution - Built to Last

Profit sustains but purpose comes first

If you can’t answer the question ‘why does this company exist’ then the purpose of the company is not made clear yet. Purpose is a set of fundamental reasons for a company’s existence beyond just making money.


The only sacred cow in an organisation should be its basic philosophy of doing business - Built to Last

Making sure the company is profitable is necessary for existence and a means to an end but it should not be the reason for the company’s existence.

Change is inevitable but core ideologies remain

It is important to question everything and always remember to align with the core ideology. It will help to understand why companies that are self confident and self criticising do find a balance. Who we are, what we stand for and what we are all about are the questions that help make clear the company's ideology. The set of basic precepts that plant a fixed stake in the ground can be a clear way of knowing the company's ideology. It is critical to make adjustments as the market requires it but it shouldn't change the core that defines the organisation.

A visionary company does not seek mere balance between core and progress; it seeks to be highly ideological and highly progressive at the same time, all the time - Built to Last

While reading through I started seeing some companies not mentioned in the pages of the book. Interestingly, the first I saw is Facebook and how the company continues to provide updates almost every single day if you keep track of the experience on the platform.

For me it’s clear short term goals and incremental evolutionary progress for work and life are beneficial for the long term drive. Yeah, that’s it for me for now. I will keep you posted weekly till we conclude our reading of ‘Built to Last’ together.

Remember to share your thoughts in the comment section below.

I love telling stories using text, pictures and videos. It's all about the little details.
I love telling stories using text, pictures and videos. It's all about the little details.
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