The journey of a thousand miles begins with a step. In the life of a startup, that first step is very critical as it serves as a platform via which future steps and decisions will be launched. If the right first step is taken, this will ensure the startup stays on track. It is usually a safer bet to start small and scale from there, especially if you are trying out a business model that has not been proven to work across different market conditions. Applying these recommendations will help your startup survives ‘the storm’ and you can thank me later.
NB: You might want to check out Bootstrapping 101 before you continue.
- Beware of people you choose to work with: A startup is a body, an aspiring corporation, and should never be treated as a persona (an aspect of a person). As a body, a startup is as whole and healthy as the parts that make it so; and when one part of the body is missing or not functioning properly, it affects the entire body. Unlike the human body, the startup is a kind of body whose parts must be assembled by the founder. Imagine if you will, that you had the opportunity to choose a body part, would you choose a non-functional or crooked part?
- Have a ready-made plan for monetizing your idea: One singular and powerful factor that can derail a startup is when it runs out of fuel in the middle of ‘nowhere’. This is why every startup must have a revenue-generation plan as soon as inception. This cannot be over emphasized. So, you have a big cache of money in the bank but how long before you run out?
- Acquire some of those skills you would have outsourced: As a startup founder without technical skills, you will most likely be tempted into outsourcing almost every things that needs to be done in your startup; thereby reducing yourself to an ordinary title holder. Knowing a little of everything required to run your startup makes you a super-efficient manager. In addition, if you pick up new skill and do some of those things you’d have outsourced, you will be saving more money by cutting expenditure and shoring up more profit (that is if you are already monetizing).
- Factoring monetization without a long-term goal is a time bomb: When your startup enters the growth path, maintaining the ‘vision’ of that startup requires you stay innovative and relevant. With increasing valuation, startups turn to corporations, become ‘fat’ and move really slow with increased bureaucratic bottlenecks. No matter how much revenue and/or profit your startup makes over time, without a preconceived plan on what to do with this additional capital you will eventually choke your startup or run out of steam.
Till next time!