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Failed Methodology

In 1984, to validate the concept, a radically new development methodology was utilized for an experimental endeavor of the time called "Small Business Incubation." Texas had it's first business incubator and that incubator wasn't doing well. And this was, ah, Texas, you know? Consequently, a collaborative team consisting of "best and brightest" personnel from the SBA, the SBDC, SCA, SCORE, several economic development corporations, community colleges, universities and chambers of commerce agreed to create, test and implement a structured development methodology for that business incubator and, when successful, have it serve as the platform for future incubator development in Texas.

As you probably know, Dear Reader, the fundamental process for a structured development methodology is to first identify, quantify and utilize the resources available, then to define the intended results as a measurable output and finally, to determine the procedure to achieve those desired results using the available resources.

The team rapidly agreed on available resources, yet had some very pronounced difficulties in reaching consensus on measurable output, with one side (primarily and not exclusively business owners) saying the growth of the incubator client companies should be the measurable output and the other side (primarily SBDC personnel and exclusively without business ownership experience) saying the output should be additional funding for the incubator and the team. Since no agreement was obtainable regarding output, the team amiably split into two groups: "client company growth" and "increased funding." The client company growth team started a second business incubator in Texas, which remains in operation to this day.

The increased funding team focused on the existing incubator, which ceased operation after several years and numerous infusions of additional funding. Why? It couldn't grow its client companies. It could only grow staff to obtain more funding. Unfortunately, the "increased funding" team continued to apply that model to several other new incubators it founded in Texas and, because of its SBA and SBDC connections, across the United States, which, predictably, also failed. It was most disheartening for the team that validated the methodology (which actually grew client companies) to watch the team with the flawed approach continue to obtain funding and produce one failure after another.

Regrettably, there still exists the mindset that perpetuates itself by making its only measurable result increased funding, so it can increase staff to obtain more funding, so it can add staff, add funding, more staff, more funding. Get the picture?

The model of the successful methodology designed to accelerate and measure business growth of client companies resulted in the second incubator in Texas becoming Texas' oldest.

 

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