The most important thing you always need to carry is sitting on your shoulders
Your business will be what you make it
Navigating that pathway from early stage to growth is a make-or-break time for any start-up. While it might be difficult, it’ can be worth it the extra effort.
If you’re going to spend your time making a product for your new business, then spend your time making sure it’s the right product for the right market.
As a start-up should you should not be satisfied with single-digit growth rates after months of hard work. If growth is not happening after a certain amount of time, then the growth will not happen. A start-up that is not growing is shrinking and could well be at risk.
The pathway to growth is littered with failed startups and stories of unfulfilled promises.
Getting caught up in the day-to-day activities, while being essential in the early startup phase can lead you to the graveyard. Your time and resources should always be focused on what is important to make the business successful and to achieve your aspirations.
Successful business people understand that they must work on their business, not in their business. You can’t drive a bus unless you are in the driver’s seat.
“I am committed to making sure my future is more than just a graveyard for what I have created”. Peter Sergeant
In a small business, roles and responsibilities will overlap. But some of the most important components of a startup are those annoying issues of business process, business plans, business models, and budgets. They are annoying because most people starting a business have little understanding of these issues and would rather be doing tasks they like doing.
There are many things that can send your business to the graveyard. The best way to avoid it is to first understand what could send you particular business to the graveyard and then to do something about it as quickly as possible.
Avoiding the graveyard and creating the lifestyle that works for you, is not about creating a life of luxury for everybody, it’s about creating a life of possibility.
Establish the right customer acquisition model
Without customers, you don’t have a business.
For many businesses, the shift in focus from searching for the right product/market fit to ramping up profitable growth typically requires focusing on making sales. In the early days, the business is usually scrambling to find customers because of a lack of a customer acquisition model, or lead generation system.
Once you start gaining traction, you start seeing more and more opportunities and hit a certain volume of customers. However, it becomes clear you need to build a consistent sales function, every organisation needs cash to survive.
Getting to the breakeven point is a terrific milestone for a startup business. Building your sales function can help you sign up more customers than ever before, but it also adds to the cost of acquiring them. Unless it can balance out that cost by raising prices or otherwise adding revenue to compensate, a startup can soon be on the road to the graveyard.
Many things can take you to the startup graveyard
There’s an old saying: You become a farmer because you can’t imagine doing anything else.
The same applies to anyone wanting to start a business. It’s such a demanding journey, you should do it because of you absolutely, positively want to start a particular business. Never, ever start a business for the money as your primary motivation.
The danger that high customer acquisition costs can quickly lead you to the graveyard. Equally important, you must be conscious of retaining customers and their continuing need for your products and services.
Failure to adapt to modern marketing methods can quickly see your business idea overtaken. As a minimum, you need a website and to make it easy for people to find you. Social media, analytics and content marketing skills are now very important if you want to avoid the graveyard.
As long as your price and/or your revenue rises along with your business costs, you’re safe. More often than not, the number one problem is startup businesses are simply not charging enough money.
“They say it’s better to bury your sadness in a graveyard or garden that waits for the spring to wake from its sleep and burst into green”. Conor Oberst
Underestimating the level of competition in the market can be a big mistake. Often for you to win a new customer a competitor has to lose one. When you are a new business you won’t usually cause much stress to competitors. However, once you start to take their customers on a regular basis, expect them to react. In many cases, they will be in a position to cause you a lot of grief.
The startup graveyard is full of businesses who ran out of cash. It is one of the major reasons businesses fail. Rapid growth can quickly take you beyond your cash resources to cope. with the increase in debtors and inventory.
Technology has been having a significant impact on smaller businesses and non-profits. It has become more user-friendly and is more freely available at affordable prices. Cloud computing leads the way with far better applications to run the business and provide good customer service.
Every start-up is backed by a team of people. Family, friends, partners, suppliers and customers. The more skilled and versatile your team is, the better chance they have of avoiding the graveyard. Always value your relationships and the community in which you live and work. Keep good family and friend’s relationships at the fore, they are your best supporters during rough times.
How many ‘NO’s’ can you take, how many hurdles can you jump over and how many mistakes can you make before you call it quits and end up in the graveyard?
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I am always seeing people who seem to be hell-bent on getting to the graveyard. Why because they have worked out some strategies that don’t go anywhere. They are failing to act on what they need to do.
Don’t say things are good when your strategies are not working. Do whatever it takes to find out why they are not working.
Try a new approach to developing more successful strategies:
- Don’t have too many strategies, focus on your priorities.
- Gather and analyse related information and knowledge.
- Communicate you strategies to employees from conception, they are your front line.
- Monitor and evaluate your strategies, be prepared to make changes along the way.
- Be prepared to seek external advice.
- Become action orientated.
Above all, don’t lean on your own understanding and talk more about you vision and objectives and less about what’s bad. Don’t let your problems and frustrations control the conversations you have and don’t beat dead horses. if the horse is dead get off before it’s too late.