Make Your Startup a Design Masterpiece by Doing These 3 Things

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Let me rephrase Leo Tolstoy by saying that all happy companies are alike, but every unhappy company is unhappy in its own way. The first question that arises from the above statement is how to differentiate a happy business from an unhappy business? It’s simple. The first is an organization that people are happy to work with and work with. About the latter it is better not to say. The red thread that connects all happy companies turns out to be clever design intertwined in all elements of the company.

When we hear the word design, we often associate it with beauty and function. Whether it’s the dynamic user interface of the iPhone or the simplicity of Post-its. These products meet a critical user need while satisfying the senses. In other words, design is a fusion of science and art. The genesis of this process begins with the deliberate creation of form out of disorder. Designers have a knack for seeing patterns that others often miss. Who else is immersed in constant chaos? It’s us, the entrepreneurs, right? It means building a great business; we should borrow the designer’s point of view.

Related: Want your startup to do a better job? Avoid these 3 myths.

Here are some different tips entrepreneurs can take from the designer way of working.

Embrace Design Principles

Whenever we explore a new subject, we should start with the principles. We can adopt a design concept called CRAP, developed by Robin Patricia Williams. If there was a perfect acronym, this would be it. You need to go through CRAP to build a successful business from scratch.

  1. Contrast: Too much uniformity breeds boredom and unproductivity. Innovative teams therefore promote differences of opinion and freedom of thought. Complementary skills and contrasting styles make a group grow and shine. By the way, did you find this cutesy line? If you answered yes, don’t worry, you and I could still form a great team based on our complementary skills!
  2. Repetition: Aristotle says it so well: “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence is therefore not really an act, but a habit. To project professionalism and achieve mastery of their core business skills, teams must practice their craft repeatedly. Behind every successful product, for example, are hours and hours of verification and validation testing.
  3. Alignment: A perfectly aligned company is like a well-composed symphony orchestra. Perfection rarely exists in real life. But there’s no denying that aligning all elements of a business with its vision and long-term goal is a winning strategy. In a startup, founders, employees, and investors need to be aligned on goals.
  4. Proximity: Proximity is the power of startups. Just as who you date decides your trajectory to success, the ecosystem in which a startup exists plays a crucial role in its destiny. Support, shared resources, and efficient knowledge transfer make a compelling argument as to why smart companies often co-locate. Proximity is not limited to geographic locations alone. For example, most social interactions have shifted to cyberspace in the pandemic era. The key is to adapt over time.

The benefits of editing

How to turn a draft into a masterpiece? By polishing its structure and composition. Likewise, how can we elevate our photos to look more professional? Using photo editing tricks, of course! To achieve perfection, designers meticulously refine their work to remove clutter and retain only desirable elements. Organizations also need regular cleaning to stay healthy. Untreated toxic elements can spread like a cancer and affect the entire organization. To avoid overflows, be surgically precise in your editing. Adopt the mantra: “Be pragmatic about additions and ruthless about deletions.” Why ruthless, you might wonder. Deletions are generally trickier than additions due to resistance to change. The more skillfully you handle them, the less pain you will inflict. Even a diamond must be cut to shine. The result of such hard work? An organization that works cohesively.

Handle comments like a champ

In the early days of our startup days at my company, the team consisted of a group of scientists who thought that if they could write research papers, a business plan should be a breeze. Imagine the look on our faces as we gazed at the red lines covering 90% of our masterpiece when we searched for outside commentary. Despite the sting, these comments forced our team to do some soul-searching. We redeemed ourselves by winning the world’s largest business plan competition. In hindsight, what seemed like an affront to our abilities turned out to be what freed us from the limitations of groupthink. Encouraging and receiving sincere feedback demonstrates courage, while discerning what to keep or toss is an example of wisdom. Turning feedback into valuable output remains one of the key skills designers and contractors must master; this is what makes their creations accepted by the market.

Related: 4 Ways to Create a Culture of Innovation in Your Startup

As we complete our journey into the designer’s way of working, we can see that the lessons for designers and entrepreneurs begin to converge. I started this article by mentioning happy companies. The truth is that the definition of happiness is subjective. However you define it, as a founder, you are the architect of your organization’s destiny. Design it well if you want to arrive at the right destination.

Related: 8 practical tips for successfully launching your startup

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