The Agile Startup Week 10: Tackling Today, Planning for Tomorrow

Note: The Strategic Agility Institute is following GILD Collective, a startup in the crafting industry, as it goes through a nationally recognized startup accelerator. Check out previous posts to get up to speed on this project. 

Every business—and every leader, for that matter—has to balance getting today’s work done while ensuring the foundation is in place for a secure tomorrow. In what I think of as “startup time,” however, all of that has to take place seemingly all the time, and everything happens and changes very quickly. And in startups that are looking to scale significantly like GILD Collective, that process is even more aggressive. 

Now that the GILD Collective team has completed 10 weeks in their program at the Cincinnati-based startup accelerator The Brandery, they’re starting to focus even more on how to take their concept and momentum and turn it into something even bigger. Given that they’re part of a structured timeline within The Brandery, they have a rather specific date in mind: Wednesday, Oct. 7—Demo Day

Demo Day is the hallmark event of the accelerator trajectory.

It’s the key opportunity for GILD Collective and the rest of the startups in The Brandery’s current cohort to pitch their business to a room of investors. And the investment possibilities of that day could have a serious impact on each startup’s growth. 

So that’s a big part of the “tomorrow” on the minds of the GILD Collective team. They’ll need to craft their story and actual pitch, but they’ll also need to build a foundation of doing the analysis necessary to figure out what growth for them “looks like”—when and where they might expand, how much funding that will take and so forth. At the same time, though, their continuing to manage the day-to-day operations of their business and do whatever they can to learn, grow and improve. 

Part of that learning and grassroots-style marketing has included involvement in various events in the Cincinnati area. One of those events in which they participated recently was one held by the regional publication Cincy Chic.

Here are a few photos from that event. 

As far as their perceptions of volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity (VUCA) are concerned, the GILD Collective team appears to have had slightly less VUCA this past week but anticipate that to increase in the near future.  

Here are the summaries of their ratings of each. 

The team continues to adapt and evolve. 

One challenging aspect of running a startup is figuring out how to spend one’s time, and the GILD Collective team continues to work on this—like all good startup founders. They’ve learned this week that some events and projects are much more worthy of their attention than others, so they have to be picky. Without the structure of a typical (i.e., non-startup) workplace, they have to do their best to balance their time between those of immediate versus strategic value, and between those of unclear versus more certain value. 

The team is also excited about its new collection of projects, which are online here. The team is also actively pursuing new ways to reach their market, including potential partnerships with people who are creating their own crafts. Above all, they’re working on cracking the code of their customers—understanding the process they go through in purchasing, and trying to figure out how they can streamline the process from learning about GILD Collective to purchasing to advocacy. This kind of sensing and responding, combined with deep customer focus, is at the heart of agility. 

Be sure to check back in next week for another update from GILD Collective as they navigate the VUCA world of startups. 

About GILD Collective
GILD Collective is the brainchild of three friends—Kelsey Pytlik, Rachel Bauer McCreary and Jessie Deye. It’s a business focused on crafting, which happens to be about a $29 billion industry. GILD Collective seeks to join that industry by offering instructor-led craft parties, in which customers will pick the project, location and participants. GILD Collective will bring the supplies and expertise, allowing party participants to explore their creative sides and make something with their own hands. For more information, visit:

About The Strategic Agility Institute™
The Strategic Agility Institute™ (SAI) is a collaborative, global effort dedicated to the production and communication of agility-focused knowledge. We're building a community founded upon a common interest in helping people and organizations become agile and thrive in the face of volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity. For more information, visit: