Developing an Accountability Plan for Startups in the Community

One of the goals with the Atlanta Tech Village is to create an environment of accountability and competition such that the member tech companies and startups achieve a greater level of success than if they were on their own. The ultimate measure of ATV’s overall success is the number of companies that build sustainable, meaningful businesses. Now, how can we create and foster this type of environment in a way that’s positive and fun?

Here are a few ideas for an accountability plan for community startups:

  • Monthly or quarterly check-ins with an entrepreneur, mentor, or community manager
  • Accountability questions like what did you accomplish, what are your going to accomplish, and how can you improve whereby the answers are recorded in a Google Spreadsheet for review during the next period
  • Continually measure objective items related to revenue, new users, page views, downloads, App Store ratings, etc
  • Regular peer feedback survey where the other startups rate how they see their peers doing across several dimensions

We want tech companies and startups that are continually moving onward and upward such that the Village is known for having an environment that breeds success. Accountability is going to be an important part of the equation.

What else? What are some other thoughts on developing an accountability plan for startups in the community?

6 thoughts on “Developing an Accountability Plan for Startups in the Community

  1. “The ultimate measure of ATV’s overall success is the number of companies that build sustainable, profitable businesses…”

    What if we ATV residents believed that that measure should include: “that have a positive impact on our community”? (striving for significance, not just success)

    A recent Harvard Business Review article about ‘conscious capitalism’ summarized with this comment: “Conscious businesses are galvanized by higher purposes that serve, align and integrate the interests of all their major stakeholders… Evidence is mounting that such businesses significantly outperform traditional businesses in financial terms, while also creating many other forms of well-being.” The book referenced, “Firms of Endearment”, was co-authored by an Emory prof.

    • I like your sentiments (in part at least) @Todd. Ultimately however, a firm can’t hire employees and help grow the economy if it isn’t profitable. I prefer to address my measurements of success based on how well all stakeholders do as well. As an example, an alumni of my alma mater tied the wage of the least paid employee to no more than 25 times his pay as CEO. I found that incentive structure interesting. While I am not necessarily advocating that, I did find it unique how, on a personal level, he measured his success not just by how well he was doing, but how well the “least” of his organization was doing. 25 times is by no means success-bashing either – it allows for the fact that the CEO adds a different level of value relative to say the cleaning staff – but it did add an element to addressing the role of all stakeholders that I found commendable.

  2. One idea is that Quench could run EO-style forums for entrepreneurs and we could require participation in some sanctioned accountability group (EO/Quench/YPO/Vistage) – to bring forum-style accountability to ATV companies.

    By the way— one of the guys coming in looking for jobs/connections turns out he could be the perfect operator/sales-guy/co-founder for Quench. If I can get him up and running, that could pick up steam nicely. I already am getting inquiries for the next class of “Tech Company Young Reps Forum” from ATV folks.

  3. Rachel Orston posted her thoughts about this topic on her blog Rachel said, “I like many of his suggestions. My recommendation would be a simple master commitment website that covers every member of the community and what their top 5 prioritized commitments are for that month – not just startup founders, but mentors and investors too. Folks should be able to look up members by photos and see what they are currently signed up to do and by when. Make it public. Names, faces and yes (gasp!) promises too. I commit to using it and putting mine up there. Does anyone else find this interesting? Would you be willing to put your startup commitments on a public site?”

    I have been encouraging my mastermind partners to do this for more than a year. Sometimes some of them do post on our private Basecamp account, but I agree with Rachel in that putting your prioritized commitments on a public site will create some REAL accountability. I’m willing to put mine up there for all to know, see, and be accountable for completion.

    Who else is willing to take her and David up on the challenge?

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