By Jelmer Laks
The lean week
To me Holland Startup is not merely a venture builder, co-working space and investor hub. It is a vibrant community where we as entrepreneurs help each other to bring out the best in ourselves and others on the road to building a successful startup. The backbone of the processes that support us as co-founders are the 4 meetings that we attend each week. We call this the lean week and it looks like this:
Our week starts with the standup meeting at 10 o’clock sharp every Monday. In which (you guessed it) we stand, and discuss our learnings from the previous week as well as communicate exactly what we intend to get done this week. For me this meeting has two purposes; to allow everyone to learn from each other's failures as well as to solidify what your week will look like. It has the added benefit of providing accountability if the planned actions are not completed as well as context if there are any lessons to be taken from this week’s actions during the next standup meeting.
During this co-founder only meeting we try to pick each other’s brains for solutions to problems that co-founders are currently facing. We provide updates to what we are currently working on and have open discussions as to how we might do better or how we can solve our most immediate problem. In this way the entrepreneurs support each other and speed up problem solving significantly. I think this meeting really allows us to stay in touch with the other startups efficiently and understand where each of us stands in our development. Plus it’s also just a lot of fun to have a beer and reflect on where each of us is heading.
Every second Wednesday we focus on developing our business development skills. Ranging from growth hacking to sales we attend a workshop organised by the management team of Holland Startup. Here we cover the basic skills that co-founders need in order to efficiently build a business. Besides the workshops given by the management team, experienced entrepreneurs drop by to talk about their businesses, failures and entrepreneurial journey. It is incredibly valuable to have access to experienced entrepreneurs that teach us the basics as well as show us their failures and allow us to learn from their experiences.
The cornerstone of the week is the bi-weekly meeting in which we meet with the management team of Holland Startup. This meeting revolves around evaluating and managing progress, identifying opportunities for improvement and provides the opportunity to dive deeper into the current state of our startups. Exactly how we measure progress and what process we use to drive the development of our startups will be a topic for a later blogpost, so if you’re interested in that aspect of Holland Startup’s business development cycle I suggest you keep an eye on this part of the website or subscribe to our newsletter.
In my experience our weekly schedule pushes us to focus on the tasks at hand. While never missing an opportunity to learn from our own failures as well as those of others. Coming together a number of times a week allows us to to share our journey and receive and give advice to others along the way. If one thing holds true for entrepreneurship it’s that you never build companies alone. This value has been ingrained in the lean week from the very beginning and I believe we will continue to reap the benefits from going at it with all of our collective strengths and weaknesses.
Next to my own views on the lean week I thought it would be valuable to share some of our Entrepreneur’s as well. I asked three of our entrepreneurs to give us an insight into their opinion on the lean week.
The weekly process at Holland Startup has provided me with a couple of learnings. The weekly structure has had a positive impact on my view of how cooperation instead of competition can influence the efficiency with which one progresses. Our workshops and bi-weekly meetings provide a constant input for innovation and learning. The openness with which these are set up has helped our start-up to never be stuck for too long when we hit a wall in our development.
Carl van Heijst
The weekly structure facilitates the translation of long-term goals to weekly subgoals. Entailing multiple feedback moments, your thoughts are weekly confirmed either challenged by co-founders and the experienced HS Management Team entrepreneurs. For me, this translates to a high-pace, highly extrovert environment which enhances my performances. Weekly updates on the other HS startups gives you an insight in the theories translated to practice and the assumptions confirmed or falsified in experiments. Lastly, your feedback being heard, appreciated or disproved forms your entrepreneurial mindset.
I like the lean week a lot! It’s a good combination of moments to share your experience with other entrepreneurs, getting new inputs and learn cool stuff that you’ll need in the development of your startup.
We as co-founders focus on building amazing companies. What Holland Startup offers us is an environment that helps us mitigate the risks of building startups, fosters innovation and radically speeds up problem solving. This is driven by our weekly schedule but most importantly by our sense of community and shared vision of entrepreneurship. What we end up with is a self supporting group of entrepreneurs with the capacity to drive innovation efficiently and scalably. I’m excited to see what all of us will achieve with the support of Holland Startup in the coming years. Onwards and upwards.