A shocking nine out of 10 start-ups fail – so if you’ve successfully navigated the startup landmine landscape you deserve a hearty congratulations. But then the question becomes “Now what?”
If you’ve made it past the startup phase your concepts and ideas have been validated by customers, more than likely, early adopters of your offer. But now it’s time to take that validation to the next level. Your challenge now is to move from starting your business, to building it. From our ongoing research at TrueSpace and with our partner The Gallup Organization, I would like to offer some important perspectives to help you consider scaling your business:
- See your business as a set of closed-loop systems– The potential of any business, is ultimately assessed from the capability of the entrepreneurs to create, measure and manage business conditions over a protracted period. Start-up stage companies are all about doing everything and anything to build the business, but a second stage company needs to focus on successfully replicating their product or service and turning it into a closed-loop model. It’s all about wash, rinse and repeat. Feedback (from a set of closed loops) is a vital piece to developing scalable model. In order to create a closed-loop system, business leaders must be able to evaluate quantitative and qualitative feedback in order to know what is working and what is not. Scale is a result of learning and enabling your businesses inputs and outputs to continuously teach. Your work then as the leader, is to intentionally apply new discoveries and use them to scale.
- Optimize and Scale – After feedback is received and evaluated, entrepreneurs should build upon the things the company does well and let go of the things they are unable to scale. This can be especially difficult for many entrepreneurs who are natural idea generators.
- Get Organized– If you are a second-stage company you are at a remodeling stage. The types of roles needed in the company are changing as are the teams. In fact, most entrepreneurs struggle with having the leadership skills and business acumen to navigate this tricky period. Taking time to ensure the company has the right people, with the right strengths in the right roles is key for your company’s growth.
- Invest in People– At this point in your company’s evolution, it’s important to have dedicated talent in human resources, finances and sales. Many businesses get stuck at the capacity of the owner either due to an unwillingness to bring people on or bringing on the wrong type of help. No one person can do it all if you want to have a successful company.
- Loosen the Reigns– Entrepreneurs in the second stage can be their own worst enemy because this is the point where they must lessen their control over their baby and let her walk on her own. In start-up stage, owners do everything from CEO tasks to running the copier and that needs to change dramatically at this point.
Starting a business and building one are two different efforts even though the subject remains the same. Coming to terms with this fact is the first step toward building and scaling your business. By following the above tips and connecting with resources and mentors who have previously endured this journey, you can reach and then push past the $10 million mark, increase personal wealth, stimulate job growth and improve economic growth.
Jamee Fred is the president of Truespace.