The steps you take to build your start-up could either make or break it. Here are some tips to make sure you do more of the former and avoid the latter.
Fully knowing the limited resources your start-up has is essential before executing any grand plan. One of the few, crucial tools in your inventory is time.
Setting up a timeline for the things that need to be done goes a long way in ensuring effective planning.
Human capital is another one of the weapons you have in your arsenal. I cannot emphasise this enough, but a start-up’s team is its biggest asset. The people are what helps the business grow.
Start-ups burn cash while not making money in the beginning. That is just the way things are. This makes it crucial to spend wisely. Make sure to focus your efforts on tasks that have top priority, so that you will not be burned out – worse still, with no good results.
I meant what I said earlier – think before spending. It is completely understandable for you to want nothing but the best for your start-up. The best office space, laptops; the list goes on.
However, write down your priorities from most to least important first and stick to the order. This early on in the business, a start-up needs to channel its efforts to staying afloat rather than attempting to full-on swim.
As a guidance to start off your decision-making journey, here are three steps Forbes recommends that you take.
The first one is to figure out how much space you require. The next is determining what specifically goes into your inventory. Last, but far from the least, is your budget question. Here is where you decide how much to spend on what.
Every start-up has that one team member who is concerned about the minor details. A little too concerned, in fact. Just make sure – if the start-up is yours – that member is not you.
Yes, the small details do matter, but fretting over them to the extent of worrying yourself cannot be a good thing. Murphy’s Law exists for a reason. It is good to be prepared, undoubtedly, but you need to remember that you cannot ensure that every microscopic aspect is in perfect order.
Take a step back, look at the big picture, and try to fix up the most important links first. Remember, priority-wise is a great way to work worry-free.
Forbes once again has a reliable set of three steps to offer as help.
The first one is to have the basic materials that you require. An office space and laptops are good examples. Next, do your paperwork right and get it in order to go about getting your business legally up and running. The final step is simple: fix the opening date and go for it.
You can be as prepared as you want, but you have to accept that events may take their own course as well sometimes. Do not let the fear of anything going wrong hold you back from executing a solid, thought-out plan.
A question most of you may have asked is, “Which is worse? Doing too much or too little?”
Personally, I would rather be overprepared than lack adequate preparation. Not having the tools you need in a crucial moment is the last situation you would want to find yourself in.
Having a business plan in place is what is going to save you from landing in those situations. From the employees you hire to your go-to-market methods to revenue model, it is vital to have it all down and decided before you launch your business.
Use your business plan as a guiding stick. It will keep you on the most viable path. Even though the structure is more or less fixed, it still offers the flexibility that would allow you to make changes you wish to as you go along your start-up journey.
Narrow down the activities to focus on
As I said earlier, it is inevitable that start-ups spend more than they make in their early days. The high opportunity cost involved puts more pressure on getting the wheels of the company to move as quickly as possible.
The most logical line of action here would be to channel your limited resources into the most essential aspects – the ones that could potentially make you a big name in the start-up industry.
Out of the hundred and one activities you have, however, sieving out the unfruitful ones may not be the easiest task. Many of these can present themselves to you as necessary measures, when in fact, they are not. The resultant time wastage is something many start-ups experience initially.
Do not lose hope. You can still salvage the situation and make good use of your time in the future by learning how differentiate between actual and phoney progress.
According to YC Partner Adora Cheung, determining your primary key performance indicator (KPI) and setting weekly goals related to it would be a recommended way to go about doing that.
This would aid in shearing the unnecessary parts of your to-do list down to only the activities that affect your selected KPI.
Choosing the perfect KPI to focus on could be a slight challenge, but for most businesses, results that show the value they provide to their customers is what serves as an ideal indicator.
How do you find out the value that customers are getting from your product or service? Conducting surveys, expanding marketing efforts, and collecting their responses to those efforts could help greatly.
Not only is it in line with your goal of finding the specific information you need, the results you gather also let you know if you are on the right path. Consequentially, they help you plan your next moves as well.
If you ever decide to take up this advice, talk to people about how it worked out for you. Who knows, someday we could all know you as the next big thing in the start-up industry!