I have built the revenue of client companies as well as my own startups and built a consumer-facing company to $9M in five years.
1. Never rely on friends and family input
2. Do the Due Diligence
3. Know your product's core customer
4. Justify the value your product provides to its core customer
5. Determine the optimal channels to reach your core customer
6. Study what your competitors do well and their weaknesses
7. Reward your team because the quickest route to slow growth is an unmotivated team or constant turnover
8. Pay close attention to what produces income and don't dwell on what doesn't
9. Expand your market share mindfully
10. Know your limits as a leader and never hesitate to engage competent advice.
I have witnessed too many startups shutter because the founder didn't ask for help and missed out on major revenue. Need an assist? Call me.
1. Get a coach who acts like a coach in a sport, asks tough questions that you may wish to avoid, and talks you through those lonely moments when you have a problem that can't be shared with stakeholders.
As a coach myself, I keep practicing and adding deep questions to my tools more than tricks and secrets to show off.
2. Watch your labor costs weekly. Unless you make nuclear reactors, that one line on the income statement has the most controllable impact.
The greatest lesson I’ve learned is to use the huge amount of public data available to validate my business assumptions. It has helped me dispel many incorrect assumptions and identify pockets of opportunities that have made all the difference.
At times the team you put together will either build you or destroy the dream you are trying to attain. Learn to listen to your gut feeling more often and cut off the dead weight.
Understand that start-ups, scale-ups and more mature companies are completely different animals, regardless of whether you maintain a "start-up culture" as you grow or not. This means that as your company grows, you need different kinds of leaderships and skillsets. The person who successfully leads a company in the first years may not be the leader the company needs as it grows. It requires a complete different skillset to lead an organisation with 50 employees than one with 10. Of course, your leadership & management skills may grow as your company grows, but be honest to yourself and invest in a great leadership team that can help you lead the company. For many entrepreneurs this is a tough decision, but in the end a necessary one. Too many start-ups and scale-ups have failed due to bad/inadequate leadership.
I can think of two major lessons I learned. Lesson one is stay focused on your mission and avoid trying to be all things to all people. You will burn through your financial resources chasing every customer that is outside of your strategic focus. Lesson two is not all customers are good customers. You must have the discipline and strength to know when to hold the line with customers and be willing to walk away. The goal is not just to scale, but to scale smart.
- Good food
If you eat shit your performance suffers. If you don't exercise you get too stressed. if you aren't mindful you worry too much. If you don't sleep you never recover.
Get these right and many startup issues disappear or are solved quickly and easily
lots of good advice here - one gem I would add that it took me many years to learn and appreciate. If you want to make money, do business with people who have money. It sounds obviously, but this little elegantly simple principle was an essential step in turning our business into profitability. One companion addon I'd offer that contextualize the first lesson, was be ready to invest in your clients. Again, obvious but over the years its been the clients we've put the extra effort and attention to who have succeeded (not just with us, but in general) and because of that these folks end up being lifelong partners and supporters of what it is we do/offer.