Rewired http://rewired.co Structured and systemized technology function Fri, 16 Feb 2018 12:00:56 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.9.4 10 Reasons to Avoid Equity when Hiring your CTO http://rewired.co/avoid-equity-hiring-cto/ Tue, 13 Feb 2018 07:55:03 +0000 http://rewired.co/?p=292 The post 10 Reasons to Avoid Equity when Hiring your CTO appeared first on Rewired.

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If you’re a business owner and you’re serious about scaling your business, don’t give away equity too easily.

A Chief Technology Officer (CTO) who is going to turn your vision into your strategy needs to understand you, your business and where you want to go.

For more on what to look for in a CTO, head over to last week’s blog post.

The key thing to remember is your CTO must share your vision and be able to put it into action. You are serious about growth, scaling up and want to take your business to the next level, but how? Equity and CTO’s often come hand in hand but it isn’t always the best path to take. Avoiding equity can often see your business thrive and scale faster because you are not locked in with your CTO.

 

Here are 10 reasons why I think you should avoid equity when hiring your CTO

1. Giving equity to a CTO is agreeing to a business marriage

If you offer equity and combine it with your vision, you’re getting married to your CTO!

It’s important to remember this. Offering equity is a bit like getting married – is your CTO someone you want to get married to? Think about how you spend time with that person before you commit to an equity stake and start a business marriage. Work out a way to date your CTO first, before you give any equity away!

2. Your strategy needs to evolve to scale

A clear strategic plan on what technology you need is essential, as so is selecting the best person to action this. Work out how your CTO can scale with your plan.

If your needs change as the business grows, can the person that you initially thought would grow with you do so? They may not have the understanding to take your business forward. If you are tied into an equity stake this can be problematic.

3. Falling into the ‘title’ trap

If you have a technical co-founder, a significant equity stake is common because they’re trying to develop your business and they already understand the technology behind it. Ask yourself if they are a true CTO or if they hold that title for ease. A co-founder can be in love with your dream, whilst a CTO is unbiased. Differentiation of roles is key to success and growth.

4. Is your CTO scalable?

Think about the business marriage again. If you marry your CTO, is that person definitely right to scale, grow and turn your vision into reality? You must consider whether you’ve spent enough time with your CTO to understand whether they are right for the business to scale successfully.

5. Technical input doesn’t have to be full-time

If you need to deliver technology, giving equity to a CTO is not the only way.

Think carefully about getting technology input for the right price and crucially, from the right person. Instead of assuming a full-time CTO is the answer, think outside the box. A developer could be hired for a specific project, or the business could partner with a supplier.

Another option would be to take on a CTO part-time. Consider the wealth of ways to get technology advice without compromising an upfront commitment that could be difficult to move on from further down the line.

6. Rockstar CTO’s are not always the answer

Most rockstar CTO’s are in high demand and can also be very expensive. Approaching them for a part-time role is one useful option. Every business is unique. Consider whether you really need this, or something more tailored for you.

Head over to my podcast on ‘What is a Chief Technology Officer’ for more on this click here.

7. Equity costs businesses more

Giving a CTO an equity stake is often much more expensive that hiring a part-time CTO. This is a good option to consider when being creative about your scalability.

A CTO who can come in for a few days a week or month, can provide you with a short, sharp piece of work to help you understand things better. This could be a better outcome. This is a good way to start dating!

8. An equity stake can cloud business judgment

An equity CTO is married to your dream. You may think that without equity, your CTO wouldn’t be interested in the business. The simple answer is they may not be, but that’s a good thing.

Without equity, a CTO can be unbiased and offer alternative views. They could tell you they don’t think something will work and back it up with honest reasons. The truth hurts but it could be just what you need. Remember that equity doesn’t always mean that you get the right outcome.

9. Not tied in

If you tie yourself in through offering equity, you’re in a marriage. If your business takes a different direction or you change technology, this could make things difficult moving forward. As I’ve said before, rather than tie the knot with an equity CTO, find a way to date first and avoid a messy divorce later!

10. You retain control

If you set the plan and outcomes, you can continually take the business forward from your perspective. If you decide on a part-time rockstar CTO, agree your outcomes and terms. They need to understand business and technology, but also the people and processes, not only in the beginning, but also throughout.

This article isn’t to put you off offering equity, but to open your mind to the reasons why it may not be right for you at this time. If you decide to give equity to your CTO, do it once you’ve had a chance to date and work with them fully!

I really look forward to comments. Please head over to the Facebook page and let me know what you think. I’m live each week.

If you’d like to see talking about this in more detail on my video, please watch my video below and head over to this link to subscribe to my podcast.

I really look forward to comments. Please head over to the Facebook page and let me know what you think. I’m live each week.

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What to look for in your CTO? http://rewired.co/look-for-in-cto/ Tue, 06 Feb 2018 07:55:30 +0000 http://rewired.co/?p=286 The post What to look for in your CTO? appeared first on Rewired.

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What to look for in your CTO?

As a business owner, you need to take control in order to grow. One of the most important ways of doing this is to make sure your leadership team is strong, adaptable and, crucially, scalable.

A Chief Technology officer (CTO) is at the heart of this and will shape the direction of the business, both now and in the future. They need to appreciate the core values and vision of the business, but they also have to understand you.

In my blog post and podcast last week I defined CTO for you. Go ahead and have a look if you haven’t done so already by clicking here.

A CTO is someone who gets your business vision and then has the skills, knowledge and experience to realise and act on that, through a strong technology strategy.

For many though this isn’t always the case, especially when you’re in the first few years of business.

What situation are you in right now?

1. Your CTO is your co-founder

This person will often be someone that you started the business with. They will have a background in technology, have a good understanding of where your business is going, and will grow with you as the business scales.

2You want more from your CTO

There’s already a CTO in place and the business is growing well. They may have an equity stake, but you’re at the stage where you’re expecting more from them. You’re not sure if this is the right person to move forward with your business vision.

3. No CTO

If you’re a start-up, it’s often the case that you don’t have a CTO at this time. You will be actively trying to find one and will have someone within your small team who is trying to do the work of a CTO on a daily basis. In essence, you’re looking to fill this role in order to move the business forward.

Although CTO is one title, there are many different interpretations of the role. Each business and business owner will require a different approach, based on personality, business model and the overall vision.

The 4 types of CTO

The Founder CTO

This is someone who has been brought onto the team early when the business was initially set up. The role will typically involve long hours in order to get the business up and running and established. It’s a fast-paced, ever changing role to gain stability.

The ‘I Can Do It All’ CTO

This will be someone who is a jack-of-all-trades who was potentially offered equity as part of the role. They will have joined a little further down the line and will be doing great things in a team of around a dozen. You know there’s alignment there, but you’re struggling to send them in a particular direction and are unsure of whether they fit into future expansion plans.

The Silent Operator CTO

This person is very good at listening to your goals and vision and knows how to implement ideas to get things done. This type of CTO is the person you are looking for as you scale upwards of 10 people.

The Strategic CTO

Having had lots of exposure to managing projects and teams, this person could have risen through the ranks and may have an equity stake. They’ve proven themselves to be knowledgeable and have the experience to back it up.

How to hire well

There’s no set formula for hiring but what you need to focus on is that feeling of whether the potential CTO understands you, your vision and can then link that to a tech plan and strategy to move your business forward. My blog post on how to develop a tech plan is very useful reading on this. You can find it here.

Equity often gets offered as part of a CTO role, but you must be aware of the limitations that this can bring. If you lock someone in with an equity stake, you need to be certain that this is a person that can scale with you and the business. As you grow, you will take on all kinds of different people with varying skillsets and experiences. You need to be sure that this person will be able to align with teams and realise your vision.

My advice? Think ahead, make the right decisions and don’t lock yourself in.

Please go ahead and let me know what you think on our Facebook group. I go-live each week.

Here’s a video of me talking about this in more detail.

Make sure to visit my LinkedIn page where you can join in the debate about what a CTO is and what you should expect from them. You can subscribe to my podcast by clicking here.

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What is a Chief Technology Officer (CTO) http://rewired.co/chief-technology-officer/ Tue, 30 Jan 2018 07:05:54 +0000 http://rewired.co/?p=274 The post What is a Chief Technology Officer (CTO) appeared first on Rewired.

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You may have heard of a Chief Technology Office and the term CTO – but what does it mean?

In this week’s podcast episode, video and this article, I explain exactly what a Chief Technology Officer is.

In the past few blog posts I have shared tips and advice on developing a tech plan and developing a tech strategy.

Where does the CTO come into all of this?

 

Let me ask you a question…

Who is the single person that you need in your business to build your technology function?

Who is the single person who helps your business vision become a reality?

Perhaps you are just starting your business.  Or, maybe you already have a business and a technology team but you want to do more with them.

My answer to you is that person is your CTO.

 

My definition of a CTO is…

… A CTO is the person who helps you to make the right investment decisions, at the right time, to really delight your vision and make sure that your vision can be realised through your technology teams.

 

What a CTO is not

 

A CTO is not a developer. I strongly advise against making your developer your CTO.

A CTO is not a technical architect either. They should continue to focus on design.

A CTO is not a project manager either.

A CTO does not follow a technology vision. They help you to develop your technology strategy but always ensuring that it aligns with your overall business vision.

 

10 important things to look out for in a CTO

 

A CTO….

  1. Understands you as a business owner and leader, and gets your vision
  2. Makes the right decisions based on the people, processes and tools that you need to help your business grow
  3. Helps you to make the right investment decisions – they help you to invest as you scale up and avoid making costly mistakes
  4. Helps you to make decisions at the right time – they take into account your current and future demands
  5. Is there to make sure that you avoid making costly mistakes and prevents you from investing in software, systems and ‘shiny objects’ that you don’t need
  6. Understands your tech strategy and business vision and can help make decisions – they can join and even represent you during funding rounds and when finding investment
  7. Can ‘talk human’ – they translate the technology jargon into language that makes sense to non-technical people
  8. Needs to really stretch you and your people – you want to get the most out of your technology and your technology team
  9. Really delights your vision – they develop solutions and push innovation
  10. Should be prepared to grow with you – they partner with you, they help you and hold your hand along every step of the way as you scale up

Here’s a video where I talk all about this topic in more detail:

 

Please go ahead and subscribe to my podcast – click here.

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Create Your Tech Plan In Under An Hour http://rewired.co/tech-plan-in-hour/ Tue, 23 Jan 2018 06:55:00 +0000 http://rewired.co/?p=249 The post Create Your Tech Plan In Under An Hour appeared first on Rewired.

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If you are a business owner and you are getting yourself ready for growth this year, then most likely you are getting ready to scale up.

When putting your tech strategy together, it’s really important to make sure that you don’t make costly mistakes.

Growing as a business is good, but you need to make sure that you are ready to accept growth in your business.

Can you cope with new customers? Do you have the processes and plans in place?

The last thing that you want is to grow at a pace that you cannot handle, and fall flat on your face!

In my blog post and podcast last week, I took you through a 5 step process to develop your tech strategy.

To recap, the steps are:

  1. Select somebody that you trust who is not in your business
  2. Set-up interviews between them and the members of your team
  3. Ensure they ask your team the right questions – what is their biggest challenge? How would they do it differently? What is holding them back? They need to repeat the questions until the team member runs out of ideas – 20-30 minutes per person
  4. Don’t get stuck in technology – look for patterns in the processes
  5. Create a list and rank it in importance

If you have done this already then hopefully you gained a considerable amount of clarity on your business. You will have a good idea of what you need to do this year at a strategic level, but now you need to put a plan in place.

How do you get your plan together?

There is a 4 step process to creating your plan.

  1. Define your mission: What is the single mission for your business? For example, if you are an online shop selling garden furniture then your number one mission is to sell garden furniture. It may seem simple but people can get hung up on distractions and forget what their mission really is. Look at your mission as your annual plan.
  1. Define your objectives: What are the objectives that are going to make a really big difference this year? I recommend choosing 4 key objectives – 1 per quarter. For example, coming back to the online shop selling garden furniture, one objective for quarter 1 could be to get a single view of the customer. Look at your objectives as a way of setting-up as your quarterly plan.
  1. Work out your strategy for achieving your objectives: You have defined your objective, now it’s time to work out how you can achieve it. Coming back to the online garden furniture shop, if they want to obtain a single view of their customer, this may involve interrogating their multiple customer databases and creating a single database. As a tip, I recommend having (at least) 12 strategies – 1 strategy per month. Look at them as your monthly plans.
  1. Develop tactics – what are you going to do on a week-by-week or day-by-day basis to achieve the goals set out in your plans? You have a strategy but how are you going to implement it? For example, coming back to the online garden furniture shop example again, you may need to define the various steps involved in migrating customer records from one database to another – who is going to do what, when and how? Look at this as your daily tasks.

Get your team aligned

Every week you should meet with your team, and ensure that they take tasks forward for the week ahead that are aligned to the overall plan. This is a critical step in moving forward.

The process that I have taken you through here is nothing new. It may be considered ‘old school’. But I promise you, it’s the simple stuff that works!  These methods are tried and tested and have proven they work over many decades. I have seen this first hand more times than I can remember.

Get my free Tech Strategy Planning Guide

I have developed a free downloadable guide that takes you end-to-end through the entire process. My template will help you to get your strategy defined, as covered in episode 1 of my podcast and in last week’s blog post.

Plus, it takes you through everything covered in today’s article and episode 2 of my podcast – turning your strategy into a plan.

You can use my Tech Strategy Planning Guide to get your tech plan in place for 2018 – click here to download.

I would love to see what you are planning for the year. Please also go ahead and join my Facebook Group. In the group I am available to answer questions and I go-live on a weekly basis.

Here’s a video where I talk all about this topic:

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How To Build A Simple Tech Plan In Under A Day! http://rewired.co/simple-tech-plan/ Tue, 16 Jan 2018 07:00:23 +0000 http://rewired.co/?p=244 This week, in episode 1 of my Rewired for Success podcast, I share lots of great tips and advice on how to build a simple tech plan in under a day.

The post How To Build A Simple Tech Plan In Under A Day! appeared first on Rewired.

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How to build a tech plan in under a day

This week, in episode 1 of my Rewired for Success podcast, I share lots of great tips and advice on how to build a simple tech plan in under a day.

Sounds crazy right? I can assure you it’s not. Let me explain.

Businesses don’t run on technology alone

Firstly, we need to remind ourselves that businesses don’t run on technology alone. There are many businesses that seem so focused on technology that it may feel like decisions are dictated by the technology.

However, when it comes to making decisions, we need to bring our focus away from the technology.

Technology wouldn’t exist without people

Do you see a new shiny piece of technology, or an all singing, all dancing piece of software and you simply have to have it?

Stop! Hold back on the urge and look at your overall tech strategy.

It’s really important to steer clear of making irrational technology decisions.

All businesses need customers and money coming in, of course. But, there are three key ingredients that make up any successful business.

1 – The best people

Without people there is no knowledge in your business. You need the right people doing the right roles

2 – The best processes

This is your DNA. It’s what makes your business unique and what glues your business together. This is where you delight your customers

3 – The best tools

Your technology. Select the right tools for the job.

It’s all about timing. Bringing in the right people, tools and processes at the right time.

If you are starting out and you want to set up a good foundation for growth, then they are the three key areas to look at.

 

How to build a tech plan in under a day

How can you put a simple plan together?

It’s important to look at this from an internal and external perspective. Internally is what I’m focusing on in this article (people, processes and tools). External would be more about how your customer views you and your business and how can you provide a better service (something I’m going to focus on in future articles, videos and podcast episodes).

I have a 5 step process for developing a plan in a day and it goes like this…

1 – Select somebody who you trust who is not in your business – e.g. a mentor, trusted advisor, potentially even a customer

2 – Set-up interviews between them and the members of your team – if you are a solopreneur this can be a 1:1 meeting with you. If you have 5-10 people then everyone should be interviewed. If you have over 10 people then 50-80% of people should be interviewed

3 – Ask them to ask the following three questions

  • What is their biggest challenge?
  • How would they do it differently?
  • What is holding them back?
  • Repeat until they run out of ideas – 20-30 minutes per person

4 – Don’t get stuck in technology – look for patterns in the processes

5 – Create a list and rank it in importance

Important tip: Make sure you create the right environment for people to feel comfortable sharing.

You now have the start of a scale-up tech plan.

Take one item from your list, starting at the top, and implement each week. This may involve just doing one different thing each week.

Resist the urge to invest in tech

First and foremost, resist the urge to invest in tech. First off make changes involving your people and processes. Potentially tweak your software but don’t invest in new technology. We don’t want to make costly mistakes.

Do not be that business that invested in new technology then it crashed and burnt and you lived to regret it.

By following my process, you may not get to all of the answers but you will understand your business better and you’ll be one step closer to making the right technology decisions.

I would love to know what your challenges are. Please comment below or contact me on Facebook.

Here’s a short video where I talk about this topic:

 

The post How To Build A Simple Tech Plan In Under A Day! appeared first on Rewired.

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The Scale-Up Readiness Checklist http://rewired.co/the-scale-up-readiness-checklist/ Sat, 30 Dec 2017 10:53:35 +0000 http://rewired.co/?p=225 The post The Scale-Up Readiness Checklist appeared first on Rewired.

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Clear Path

10 reasons you need to rewire your business for scale-up success


In this, my very first blog post for Rewired. I want to share why it’s so important, that you kill that urge to buy that next piece of technology. Well at least for now, and only once you have read this post.

I would like to share with you why your technology strategy is interconnected with your business in every way. Why it’s really about putting you and your business first, firstly.

 

Don’t create a chicken and egg problem.

 

Getting your technology strategy right, is less about technology. It’s way more about getting you and your business organised. Everything else can follow from that.

Do you believe that?

Think of it this way. Technology wouldn’t exist without people. To train a dog, it’s better to train the dog owner first, right?

At rewired, technology is the dog. Well until artificial intelligence challenges this, most likely in the 2030’s. For now we need to get your business in the right shape.

Once you have customers and money coming in. Then there are 3 ingredients that make up any business. That is, the very best people, tools and processes.

Not only that. You also want the best people, tools, processes at the right time. Why would your business need a server farm the size of Amazon, until well, your business was the size of Amazon. Duh!

 

Tech Design

What does this have to do with my tech strategy?

 

If you want a great tech strategy, don’t assume that technology can solve all your problems. Understand your challenges first. Then apply technology in the right places, at the right time. It’s all about business outcomes first, technology is your tool, to get you there.

Move away from the one-size-fits all technology, rather focus on the right tools for the job. Many niche tools, are better than that all-in-one wannabe. Chances are it will be way cheaper too. Don’t get corrupted by that next shinny piece of software.

First, discover what you need, and test it in the wild. Once your processes are robust and repeatable. Then this is your chance to consider bringing on the right technology tools, avoiding costly mistakes.

Scale-up, by making your tech decisions at the latest responsible moment. When you know exactly what you need.

Those 3 ingredients again are the very best people, tools and processes, at the right time.

People

Without the knowledge that people have, there is no business. You have to know how to select the right people at the right time, as you scale-up. Your business must have the right people and you must allow them to lead on the right outcomes.

Example:  Don’t ask your research analyst to be your project manager, seriously!!

Tools

Tools are there to help you to get the job done. Technology tools are exactly that, tools. Take a penknife. Great at a lot of things, but when you try the screwdriver and it just doesn’t quite work….It’s trying to cover all possibilities. Get the right screwdriver, and you done, in no time!

Example:  Don’t buy an all in one printer, scanner, fax machine (going old school) , when it breaks you can’t print, fax or scan.

Processes

Processes are the real knowledge of your business, the thing that makes you unique. Your DNA. It’s the glue that brings your people and the tools together. This is how you really delight your customers.

Are you serious about scaling-up your business?


Do you feel like you are stalling? Or, can you see the next tsunami of growth hitting you, but you are not ready. Worse still, that scale-up tsunami has already hit you, and you are drowning.

So, what can you really do? How can you really rewire your business for scale-up success?

We all think that growth is just great success. But with success, comes the truly scary and stressful reality that you are not in control. You want to get back in the driver’s seat. You want to be ready to scale-up.

Its time to consider what you can do about this. Its time to consider if you are ready to scale-up, and if you are serious?

Rewired is a rapid technology strategy process. It starts with your people, draws out your DNA and then plugs technology only where it is needed. It’s about having an unbiased non-techie technology partner that gets you and understands your business. Helping you scale-up rapidly to get more customers and be more successful.

 

The Scale-Up Readiness Checklist

 

  1. Find where you have too much work in progress, and crack that open. Look to distribute the load. Don’t overload your people, it will stall your business 
  2. Remove those key man dependencies. Jack of all trades won’t help you scale. Outsource tasks to other people, existing and new. Use technology tools to automate common processes 
  3. Go small, first. Don’t scale with software that can’t scale. Rather start with something very flexible, systemise things and be ready to pivot at each point as you scale 
  4. Don’t be seduced my fancy software, make sure the technology does just that one thing you want well. To prevent having all your eggs in one basket, make sure your software can talk to each other 
  5. Get your people focused on the core process you want to execute on your technology. Use the tools you have, and make sure your people are trained. Make new technology choices wisely. 
  6. Test your process, data and design first. Use a spreadsheet or something basic. In this way, you will know your design needs first and this will allow you to select the right software 
  7. Has your technology served you well, but you feel its not ready to scale? This is ok, just review and update your tech strategy and make the right decisions. 
  8. Don’t let it all fall over, it’s just not necessary, focus on a recovery plan. 
  9. Outsource, don’t try to build your own technology, unless your business is technology. 
  10. Consider getting support from a non-biased party, this will help your teams open up and provide a fresh perspective. You will find out where your roadblocks to success are lurking.

Are you ready to rewire your business in 2018? Are you serious about scaling-up but feel stuck or are just not ready for what’s coming?

Torben is a flexible CTO that works with business owners to avoid the pitfalls of bad technology decisions. You can book a free strategy session with him here.

Please share your scale-up story below in the comments, I look forward to answering your questions.

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