In any new business, the first two years are absolutely critical. It’s about more than just keeping the doors open and the bills paid; it’s really about building a foundation that will allow you to grow in the right way at the right pace. All of this requires good planning, more than adequate funding, wisdom and a little bit of luck.
But that’s not all you need. Here are a few ways you can help protect your business from dying young while also preparing it for growth in the short and long term.
Keep it simple
Have you ever asked someone to explain what they do and why they do it and, ten minutes later, you still have no real grasp on either? This sort of confused vision and mission can kill a business in its infancy. Think about it, if you don’t know what you’re doing and can’t communicate it, then how are your people supposed to be motivated. Your employees need a reason to be there beyond a paycheck, or that is all they will bring to the business. And your customers need to have a reason to choose you over your competition. So, what’s your vision? Go ahead, you have ten seconds…
Don’t let yourself depend on presumed safety
Working without a net requires greater focus and commitment, two elements that are absolutely vital to business success. While it’s smart business to have enough finances to make it work, if you have too many reasons to be comfortable early on, your chances for growth are stunted, and your likelihood of stagnation increases. If people don’t see your excitement and feel your motivation, they won’t show it or embrace it either. Then, suddenly, you’re just a bunch of people coasting, and that’s a recipe for failure in any business.
Learn to make it with less
Unless you need it to make money, you don’t need it. What you do need is more resources put directly into what makes you money and grows the business. Streamline your processes, work on a shoestring and keep your cash flow focused on the people and processes that produce the sales that will sustain you as you grow.
Be strong and agile
Today’s marketplace is always flexing. You’re not running across a flat, wide valley, you’re trying to sprint across a trampoline with a bunch of other people jumping all around you. You will trip up. You will fall down. You need to be agile enough to change direction and solid enough to pick yourself up and keep running. Bottom line here, don’t just expect change, plan for it.
Finally, don’t quit
Don’t be like 90 percent of the other startup CEOs out there who get bored, distracted, lazy or discouraged. Keep at it, stay focused and embrace success.
How have you implemented these ideas in your business? Is there anything not on the list that should be there?
David Milberg is an experienced credit analyst in NYC. He is a long-time owner of Milberg Factors, a factoring and finance company with locations in New York, California, and North Carolina.