Why Operations Are Key to Driving Growth for Under-Recognized Founders

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In today’s rapidly evolving entrepreneurial landscape, startups led by under-recognized founders—comprising individuals who have historically faced limited recognition and representation, including women, BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and People of Color), and LGBTQIA+ individuals—are reshaping industries and driving innovative solutions. These founders bring unique perspectives, insights, and experiences that enrich the entrepreneurial ecosystem. However, their path to success is often hindered by systemic barriers and biases. That’s why prioritizing and establishing strong operational foundations within these startups is crucial and more important than ever.
In this article, we’ll discuss why startups led by under-recognized founders require lean and streamlined operations to support their success, amplify their impact, and explore the essential steps in adopting a process-driven approach in their business, ensuring that operations are no longer overlooked or an afterthought.

Challenges Faced by Under-Recognized Founders

Under-recognized founders face a myriad of challenges on their entrepreneurial journey due to historical biases and systemic inequities. These challenges, rooted in limited recognition and representation, have a significant impact on their path to success, like:
  1. Access to Funding: Under-recognized founders often encounter significant disparities when accessing funding sources critical for their startup’s growth. The investment landscape has historically been dominated by established networks with limited diversity, resulting in biases that disproportionately affect funding opportunities for under-recognized founders. This lack of equitable access to venture capital, angel investments, and loans can hinder their ability to secure the necessary financial resources to launch and expand their ventures.
  2. Limited Networks and Mentorship Opportunities: Building a robust professional network and accessing mentorship is pivotal for entrepreneurial success. However, under-recognized founders frequently face limited access to established networks and mentors who can provide guidance, industry insights, and valuable connections. This disparity in network access can hinder their ability to receive crucial advice, gain industry knowledge, and create meaningful partnerships. Overcoming this challenge requires proactive efforts to seek out and cultivate diverse networks, engage with support organizations, and participate in mentorship programs tailored to under-recognized entrepreneurs.
  3. Implicit Bias and Stereotyping: Under-recognized founders often confront implicit biases and stereotypes that undermine their ideas and capabilities. These biases can result in preconceived notions about their abilities, experience, or market potential, leading to decreased opportunities for growth and investment. Overcoming such biases necessitates perseverance, self-advocacy, and the ability to challenge societal norms. Under-recognized founders must consistently prove their worth through achievements, successes, and the impact they create within their industries.
  4. Resource Constraints and Doing More with Less: Startups led by under-recognized founders often face resource constraints that require them to navigate challenges with limited financial capital, restricted access to established business networks, fewer professional services, and limited mentorship opportunities. The ability to “do more with less” becomes crucial in overcoming these resource limitations. Under-recognized founders must employ resourcefulness, efficiency, and strategic resource allocation to maximize the impact of available resources. Embracing lean methodologies, leveraging technology, and cultivating partnerships ca

The Role of Operations in Supporting Under-Recognized Founders

Operations play a pivotal and multifaceted role in supporting startups led by under-recognized founders. Beyond addressing the challenges these founders face, effective operations contribute to their growth and success in several significant ways:
  1. Streamlining Processes and Efficiency Optimization: Strong operational foundations allow startups to streamline processes, eliminate inefficiencies, and optimize workflows. By conducting thorough process assessments, under-recognized founders can identify bottlenecks, remove redundancies, and implement automation and technology solutions where applicable. These process improvements not only save valuable time and resources but also enhance overall productivity and operational efficiency. By fostering a culture of continuous improvement, startups can constantly refine their processes to stay agile and responsive to evolving market demands.
  2. Scalability Strategies for Growth: Effective operations provide the framework for startups to scale their businesses sustainably. By establishing scalable processes and systems, under-recognized founders can efficiently manage increased demands as their customer base grows. Intentional operations strategies empowers under-recognized founders to explore new markets, expand their reach, and seize growth opportunities while staying lean and profitable.
  3. Building Credibility and Trust through Effective Operations: Well-structured and smoothly running operational frameworks help establish credibility and instill confidence in customers, investors, and partners. For under-recognized founders who may face additional skepticism or bias, efficient operations demonstrate professionalism, reliability, and a commitment to delivering high-quality products or services. By ensuring consistent and reliable operations, startups can foster trust among stakeholders, build strong relationships, and position themselves as reputable players in their respective industries.
  4. Resource Management: Operations play a crucial role in resource management for startups led by under-recognized founders, who often operate with limited resources. Through comprehensive audits and assessments, these founders can identify and optimize the allocation of their limited financial capital, workforce, time, and other resources. Having effective operations helps founders make decisions from a data-driven approach; founders can maximize the impact of their available resources, achieving more with less. Strategic resource allocation enables them to focus on their core competencies, invest in growth opportunities, and mitigate risks effectively.

How Operations Business Has Helped Under-Recognized Founders

Business Laid Bare, an operations consultancy and fractional COO service provider, is dedicated to helping under-recognized startup founders build the operational infrastructure necessary for sustainable growth. Through our Orgasmic Operations® method, we have supported numerous under-recognized founders to create Orgasmic Operations® in their startups and achieve remarkable success.

25% Increase in Revenue and 50% Reduction in Employee Training Time

About: Dana Smith, Founder and Owner of Spiritual Essence Yoga (SEY), faced overwhelming day-to-day operations that contradicted the peace and balance her yoga practice preaches. As a yoga instructor, she was supposed to be happy and stress-free, but instead, she felt overwhelmed and anxious.
Scope of Work: Business Laid Bare partnered with Spiritual Essence Yoga in a two-phase approach. The first phase involved conducting an operations audit to identify revenue gaps and specific needs, resulting in an actionable strategic roadmap. In the second phase, operations implementation, the strategic roadmap was brought to life.
Results: By addressing the revenue gap and operationalizing key focus areas necessary for smoother growth, SEY achieved a remarkable 25% increase in revenue within three months of completing the work with Business Laid Bare. Additionally, SEY experienced a notable 50% reduction in new hire onboarding and training time while maintaining desired efficacy. The full case study on Spiritual Essence Yoga can be found here.

30% Increase in Revenue Capacity

About: Alex Frumberg, Founder of ALX Creatives, recognized the need to upgrade their processes as their business approached a significant revenue milestone. Concerns arose regarding the team’s ability to handle increased workloads while maintaining excellent client experiences. Project timelines were slipping, and consistent quality was challenging to maintain without constant leadership oversight.
Scope of Work: Business Laid Bare collaborated with ALX Creatives in a two-phase approach. The first phase involved conducting an operations audit to identify areas that required streamlining to handle client work more efficiently. In the second phase, operations implementation, the identified systems were implemented.
Results: Through a comprehensive assessment and implementation of improved project management, sales processes, client onboarding, and other systems crucial for delivering a divine customer experience, ALX Creatives significantly increased its revenue capacity by 30%. This growth was achieved while maintaining the desired level of quality and enhancing the overall client experience. The full case study on ALX Creatives can be found here.

4x Increase in Efficiency and Client Capacity

About: Farah Allen, Founder/CEO of The Labz, recognized the need for a more robust and permanent system for her business operations. Existing processes felt makeshift, and she was unsure how long they would sustain her needs. Additionally, the complexity of the sales process was hindering the achievement of overall revenue goals.
Scope of Work: Business Laid Bare was able to pinpoint exactly what areas were causing The Labz the biggest chafe (and money leak) with our Operations Audit, and immediately got to work plugging holes and creating airtight sales and customer management systems.
Results: The Labz experienced a remarkable 4x increase in efficiency and client capacity without experiencing burnout. The revamped operations enabled the sales team to work more effectively, closing deals with ease. The end-to-end sales process tailored for The Labz contributed to their overall success. The full case study on The Labz can be found here.

Easy Steps to Optimizing Operations

Optimizing operations doesn’t have to be complex. Here are five easy steps that under-recognized founders can take to begin streamlining their operations and prioritize being a process-driven venture:
  1. Create Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs): Develop clear and comprehensive SOPs for key processes. Document step-by-step instructions, best practices, and guidelines to ensure consistency and efficiency in your operations.
  2. Identify Areas for Improvement: Identify areas where things may not be running as smoothly as they should. 1) Pinpoint bottlenecks, inefficiencies, or pain points that hinder productivity and customer satisfaction. 2) Write down these inefficiencies and why they need optimization.
  3. Seek Feedback from Team Members: Interview and engage with team members to gather their insights and feedback on current operations. Their frontline experience can provide valuable perspectives and help uncover areas for improvement.
  4. Partner with Operations Experts: Consider partnering with operations experts or consultants specializing in optimizing business processes. Their expertise and outside perspective can offer fresh insights and guidance tailored to specific needs. Business Laid Bare proudly celebrates and supports under-recognized Founders to help them create immense growth and impact through Orgasmic Operations®.
  5. Stay Informed and Take Action: Sign up for our newsletter to receive weekly actionable tips and insights for optimizing your operations.

Here’s the thing—an overwhelming amount of founders are unaware what operations are, let alone how it can make or break a startup’s success. But it’s not their fault.

After working with countless clients and engaging with founders in workshops, teaching sessions, speeches, and networking events, we’ve realized that their lack of awareness and sometimes negative perception of operations stems from two main factors:
  1. There’s a serious lack of proper education around operations. It’s not something that’s commonly taught or discussed in the startup world.
  2. Founders have often had unpleasant encounters with dysfunctional or complicated systems that felt like Franken!systems that did not feel pleasurable to use.
Operational inefficiencies are costing startups a minimum of 30% of their annual revenue. We strongly believe that this number is at least 50% for startups.
Startups operate at lightning speed in a fast-paced ecosystem, with fewer team members wearing multiple hats. It’s a recipe for chaos if operations aren’t properly addressed.
That’s where you come in. By incorporating operations education and awareness into your programming, you can make a world of difference for founders.
Help them understand the critical role operations play in their success and equip them with the knowledge and tools they need to optimize their processes.
But wait, there’s more! You can also partner with us to become the conduit for operations expertise. We’ve seen the transformative power of streamlining operations firsthand, and we want to spread the word far and wide. By teaming up with us, you can bring the operational know-how and pleasure-filled systems we’ve developed to your network of founders. Together, we can empower them to create lean, efficient, and thriving startups.

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