Reflections of starting a new company

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Dec 4th, 2000

As the first year in the new millennium draws to a close, I’m looking back and reflecting on the journey we’ve been on over the last 15 months. When the two Pauls and I agreed to give up the relative safety of contracting and start a business together, we knew it was a big step–and we’re very happy with the way it has gone, so far.

We chose the name Psi Weavers, to reflect the intellect and the craft involved in what we do. Our strap line is “e-business is our business“, and “our aim is to provide you with the appropriate technology to make your presence on the internet as positive and exciting an experience for you and your visitors, as it is for us and our existing clients“.

This has been a busy year, with work going on behind the scenes with our music download service (Now.FM), which on top of signing up a few regional labels, is now getting real interest from EMI (and what a back catalogue they have) and venture capital firm 3i. We hope this will really take off, because it is so important to us that artists and their recording companies don’t get ripped off by people copying CDs and sharing the MP3 files online. Watch this space.

Alongside our new business ventures; we have also won our first big contracts over the last year, first with Book Club Associates (BCA) and then with Reading Borough Council and City3K.

As we have taken on more business, we realised we needed to grow, to bring in a team, and we already have two developers working with us. More than this, though, we have come to realise that we are in a great position to be able to advise customers (especially new start-ups) on various aspects of their business. Hopefully that’s not too arrogant of us. Time will tell.

In our thinking on both of these areas, I have been drawn again to the work of the McKinsey group with their 7S model of how organisations are set up for success.

We tend to focus most readily on getting in people with the right skills, and formal aspects like how we are structured plus the tools we use and processes we follow, however it is all too easy to leave out the critical area of our values and our behaviour. I tend to think of this as the soft underbelly of a company, we’re vulnerable if we don’t pay attention to and protect it. By including the ‘shared values’ and ‘style’ dimensions, McKinsey have ensured that we think about our business ‘in the round’.

Of course, this is a relatively inward looking way of thinking about our companies, so we will be thinking about how we can advance this thinking ourselves over the coming months.

Have a great Christmas everyone, and to misquote Prince “let’s party like it’s 2000”.

This article was first published on our website psi-weavers.com (no longer online).

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