Kareem Elsirafy on Resource Allocation: Using Process to Mitigate a Lack of Available Resources
Few startups have the luxury of operating without any regard for budgetary concerns; instead, it is typically the case that every startup entrepreneur has to rely on a variety of strategies to overcome the budgetary limitations naturally associated with an early-stage startup endeavor. A general lack of resources is the most obvious limiting factor endured by startups, underscoring the reason it is so critical for startup entrepreneurs to recognize the many ways in which a good process is an effective tool for mitigating a lack of resources during the initial stages of a startup’s growth.
The Importance of Process
It is worth noting that effective processes are necessary for ensuring the success of any endeavor, regardless of whether that endeavor is fully funded or must operate for an extended period of time with severely limited resources. In developing a process, it is also necessary for startup entrepreneurs to recognize the specific ways in which process and innovation interact with one another.
Focusing too much on process, for example, might limit the feedback opportunities needed to refine or improve the startup’s products or services. Neglecting process entirely, however, is a risky proposition often leading to scaling issues in the future. Striking the ideal balance between innovation and process is, therefore, necessary to ensure the startup is positioned for success in spite of any resource limitations.
Focus on Optimizing Efficiency
Efficiency is of paramount importance in developing an effective process under circumstances in which resources are limited in some way. Operating within the context of the “Build, Measure, Learn” model of development, startups should focus on optimizing efficiency in such a way that the final stage, learning, is reached in as little time as possible. Tightening up the process in such a way allows the startup to recognize the areas in which adjustments are necessary while devoting resources only to the tasks considered most essential.
Generating Results Despite Resource Limitations
Startups that adopt efficient processes resulting in quick timelines for the development and refinement of deliverables are more likely to thrive despite the existence of clear resource limitations. When streamlining developmental processes, striking the right balance between innovation priorities and process priorities is critical. At a certain point, increased process development will yield diminishing returns. Those over-engineered processes can create future risk for a startup.
With a balanced approach to the process in which efficiency is clearly optimized, startup entrepreneurs can easily overcome any challenges associated with the limited availability of resources. Innovation should never be sacrificed for the sake of efficiency, but since the reverse is also true, the need for balance between efficiency and innovation ought to be plainly evident -- especially for entrepreneurs who do not have the luxury of access to unlimited resources yet still aspire to create a successful startup venture.