How to Encourage Spinoffs
As a serial entrepreneur, you are always ready to create a spinoff, approve a new line of business, or simply let employees experiment. There is a right way and a wrong way to do this. Whenever one of my businesses embarked on a new project—one that was not part of its main business—we would set it off in its own small building. It could be across the street or down the block, just so long as it was not under the same roof. It is also necessary to give the project manager a separate checking account filled with just enough money to get the job done. No need to set up a separate payroll, but to give the team wide latitude when it comes to covering the incidentals.
That separateness fosters some of the idea of a start-up among the team members.
And you very much want that. Start-ups can move quickly because their founders can make decisions without all the wasted time that goes with more structured management systems or decision trees or "efficient" purchasing programs.
Being separate also allows a team to focus on invention without all the day to day hassles of producing and servicing the current products. If you are interested in spinoffs, make sure you let teams operate autonomously. Give them some money and, above all, some space.