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Knowledge management strategies for building sustainable high-growth startup companies

A “sustainable high-growth startup” may seem an ambitious goal, but in modern business this concept is a true benchmark for planning. Managing knowledge is the working machinery of all businesses. Your sales, your marketing information, productivity and similar baseline information must be very well organized.

Anybody in business will tell you that good, efficient and productive knowledge management is absolutely essential. As a startup, your ability to access and manage knowledge is truly critical to your success.



Defining core knowledge management strategy

Knowledge management strategy includes planning all your information access and information dynamics for your business. Your knowledge management strategy will effectively define your business. Even sharing knowledge on a site like a Corporate Wiki can be a major issue.

Knowledge management requires a very clear, properly integrated range of resources to achieve maximum benefits. If you’re a startup, and you’re looking at your knowledge base and information system needs, be patient. This is a true bread-and-butter exercise. You will need to be very methodical, covering all bases for business information.

Please be aware: The “startup mentality” can be extremely demanding for startups. You need time and space to develop your knowledge management strategy. You’re starting a whole new business, and you have thousands of things to do. Put some time aside to thoroughly explore your knowledge management strategy, and do some appropriate modelling. This will be very productive, and ensure that your knowledge management systems and people are properly fitted to your business needs.

Now the good news – Visualising your knowledge management strategy is a lot easier than it looks.

Your business model is a virtual map of your knowledge management needs

Consider the information systems required for each business operation, accounts, finances, marketing, and operational systems at the goal-setting stage of your startup. You will easily see a pretty straightforward range of obvious knowledge base needs.

Your accounting system is a fundamental knowledge base.  This system is a good guide to every aspect of your business. Accounting information includes cash flow, financials, business reports, sales, expenditure, and similar critical information. (Accounting systems are excellent as catch-all knowledge bases, particularly if you have a good accountant.)

Marketing information requires its own knowledge base. This range of information includes your promotions, market research, advertising, and defines your business activities. It is critically important when developing growth strategies. Your marketing information must be integrated into your knowledge base to ensure currency of information. Current market information is critical to deliver competitive advantages.

Business preferable information and report must be comprehensive and easily accessible. This information is typically provided in virtual real-time, using a “dashboard” reporting system. With this type of fully integrated knowledge system, management can access any and all information quickly and efficiently. Your dashboard can include current sales, business records, stock, accounts, reports, and everything else you need. Business systems and software must be customizable to your needs. Obvious as this may sound, there is no One Size Fits All business system. Your business systems represent a significant outlay, and they must deliver real value. Be fussy and make absolutely sure that your business systems are 100% suitable for your needs. (This will save a lot of time and money during the startup phase.)

Your human knowledge base management

Every business is different, with a range of unique characteristics. Human knowledge is sourced internally and externally. One of the most important of those characteristics is the people in that business and external sources of information. Having information is one thing; managing it properly is another. Typically, startups will get help with their knowledge base from talented people, inside and outside the business.

Again, your business model will be invaluable in defining your human knowledge base needs. Good placement of talented people is one of the most basic elements of business success. Selective hiring is also critical, and your knowledge base should clearly define your needs. For example, sales performance is a typical metric for hiring a sales manager. All this knowledge can be factored directly into your knowledge management strategy.

Knowledge management is a moving target

Knowledge acquisition is not a passive process. Your knowledge management strategy must encompass the capacity to acquire information and apply that knowledge efficiently. Current market information, accurate forward costing, and similar critical information must be instantly accessible and actionable.

As a startup, your information requirements are extensive. Please be aware of a truly critical factor in your knowledge management strategy – Your knowledge needs will evolve over time. This is why a truly effective knowledge management strategy cannot be passive.

Your new business will generate a lot of new and very useful information. Your ability to handle and develop that information is the other, truly crucial part of your knowledge management strategy.

High growth requires excellent knowledge.

Your growth strategies will include sourcing, market penetration, product and service development. The knowledge base here it is entirely predicated on the availability of current information. This information is your primary business asset for any type of growth strategy.

Your high growth strategy will also be based on knowledge.  This very broad base of information really is a formula for success. It includes evolved knowledge, in the form of projections wide profitability, viability, costing and information from your business operations, market reports, and business initiatives.

“Sustainability” is about business survival

This core business principle is all about knowledge. It’s based on ensuring your supply of resources, financial viability, and sometimes very demanding management decisions, based on your knowledge. Your knowledge management assets will be used to find the best resources, finances, and other critical needs.

Markets can change, rapidly.Market information is the ultimate moving target in any kind of business knowledge management strategy. Your knowledge management strategy will be to be able to deliver useful information, metrics, and hard numbers at all times. (This big range of types of information is also known as business intelligence, and having good knowledge management in place is absolutely vital for your start-up to be competitive from day one.)

The knowledge management strategy bottom line

Good knowledge management is quite literally the make or break of all startups. It’s no coincidence that startups succeed or fail. The critical points here are all about good knowledge management strategy . Lack of business knowledge is not an option. Consider for a moment the possibilities of not having the information listed above. Imagine not having timely and accurate sales figures. That basic idea applies across your entire knowledge base.

Good business is based on good knowledge.Some of the world’s most talented business people are true experts in their fields. That expertise is based entirely on knowledge and access to knowledge. In the tech sector, for example, understanding the commercial applications of new technologies is critical knowledge. The same applies to every other type of business. Your knowledge management strategy is the key to growing your new startup. It’s that simple.



Guest Author’s bio:

Emil is the Founder of Helpjuice, a leading knowledge management platform used by large and medium-sized enterprises. He is an expert in knowledge management & author of Knowledge Management: A Theoretical and Practical Guide for Knowledge Management in Your Organization






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