READY FROM DAY 1:
Technological transformation is the new norm. Business models are continuously being redefined. New companies launch and fail on a daily basis. If giant corporations like Blockbuster or Nokia haven’t managed to survive disruption, how can startups and starry-eyed entrepreneurs navigate these waters?
Put simply: readiness.
Always-on readiness is the only solution to thriving in such an environment. That readiness comes from establishing a structured and digitised blueprint to follow. And within that structure, it comes from knowing and leveraging all your critical information – from documents and data, to the people who look after them. For startups and their founders to succeed in today’s climate, they need to start with the right framework in place.
From M&A to everyday
In 2005, we founded Ansarada with a simple solution for an industry that was in desperate need of one. We developed our intuitive virtual data room technology, specifically to serve M&A deals.
Since those days, we’ve accumulated more than a decade’s experience on over 30,000+ critical business transactions and learned what good looks like. The key takeaways?
● Businesses were in their best shape at the end of a deal, BUT;
● Preparing for and executing a deal was long, hard, stressful and expensive.
● Businesses needed to be ready much earlier to reduce risk and seize opportunity.
● The process needed to be significantly simpler and cheaper.
This learning may have started out with M&A, but we realized it was so much bigger. This premise extends to every business, and every possible outcome or material event – from simple audits, to raises, to complex tendering processes. We learned how we could add value at every stage of a business’s lifecycle, and enable an always-on state of readiness.
So we built a platform
We started by looking closely at our data and identifying what really mattered – the critical information that drives a business, including assets, contracts, customers, financials, IT, legal, strategy… all of it. We then worked backwards from thousands of outcomes and patterns in data to classify into specific Pathways.
Ansarada Pathways provide a template to structure your most important data and work toward an outcome. This template is built off 30,000+ previous transactions to show you what best practice looks like. It’s the difference between having to draw your own picture, rather than simply colouring within the lines.
Get the framework in place
For founders, establishing this structure early and digitizing this data is a crucial advantage.
You may not have a human resources function, for example – but there still exist HR responsibilities that need to be met. When you are starting out, you might have your founder or CEO covering 5-6 different areas, but as you scale, you can hire specialists until eventually there’s one person looking after each of them.
As you grow your management team and move from generic to specialised functions, you’ve already got your structure in place; it doesn’t need to be reworked – you’re simply adding specialisation to it. The team is educated, engaged, and empowered to reach their outcome as efficiently as possible.
Set clear accountabilities
Following a structured template is as much about people as it is information. Sure, getting your house in order and keeping documentation visible and organised is important – but it’s also about clarity of ownership. Accountabilities need to be outlined, with the right people, in the right roles, doing the right thing.
There is visibility over who owns each area, who is responsible, and what good looks like, and clear expectations on deliverables set for the management team. This is then perfectly aligned to future events in your company, from audits, to exits, to compliance.
Leverage your data
With all your information digitised, accessible and visible, you can extract immense value from it. Moore’s Law states that anything digitised will offer twice the performance and capacity every eighteen months. And AI technologies can extract valuable insights from digital information, making everything that it touches smarter – including us.
Economic models are being redefined to adapt to the digital takeover, and being able to garner insights from this volume of raw data needs to be a key priority for business leaders.
At Ansarada, we like to remain on the forefront and constantly seek ways to make our clients’ lives easier. That’s led to the development of AI and machine learning tools that identify patterns and opportunities, automate tasks, remove risk, and help businesses make smarter, faster decisions when it matters most.
Get ready, stay ready
With the speed of business today placing a greater premium on readiness, leading businesses have already made the shift from reactive to ready.
My advice is to focus on your tech infrastructure and ability to analyse data. Lay the groundwork with a proven structure for your material information and be ready to pursue your most important outcomes when opportunity arises.
Smart, integrated, ready companies will soon be too far ahead for the rest to compete with.
Just follow the Pathway.
1) Readiness is critical to realising potential
2) Structure is key to efficient scaling
3) Data is your most valuable asset
Sam Riley is CEO and co-founder of Ansarada, a software company with the mission to help every business raise and protect their potential. Established with just $30k in capital, Ansarada now has 200 employees globally and annual revenue of ~$38m. More than 300,000 professionals use Ansarada’s platform for transactions like M&A, capital raising, IPOs, and more.