Startups provide fuel for today’s innovation economy. Brilliant ideas turn into tangible tools, products, and services that, in some way, make our lives easier, better, or more efficient. However, successfully taking an idea, creating a company, and executing on a vision is an enormously challenging undertaking. There are themes that can help guide entrepreneurs along the way, and below are some thoughtful tips that could and should be incorporated to every new startups’ strategy process.
Set a clear, strategic roadmap
Strategic roadmaps help you scale your business. They outline the long-term vision of your company, and without it, you’ll quickly realize the goals you’ve set are more geared for short-term success and likely won’t sustain the long haul. Planning needs to incorporate the short, medium and long term.
Flexibility to respond to the demands of changes in business is what keeps many startups afloat. Speed, responsiveness, and innovation will keep your business at the forefront of its industry and provide your target audience with the most desired product or service. Take Airbnb for instance, whose demand was high and yet the company was still fresh. As it continued to grow, Airbnb put processes in place to ensure it adapted at the pace the company was reaching, and to the demands of the market.
Execute, Execute & Execute
According to authors David Nortan and Robert Kaplan who wrote The Balanced Scorecard, “90 percent of organizations fail to execute their strategies successfully.” It’s not only important to create your strategy; it’s highly critical that you’re also prepared to execute your strategy as well. Make sure you have the talent and resources needed to get the job done and done right.
Constantly analyze your financial performance
Develop the Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) that best measure the financial performance of your business. Keep them top of mind throughout the organization and manage to them on a monthly, and in many cases weekly, basis. As you grow, these KPIs may need to change, but without financial metrics to manage to your business is flying blind.
Recognize if it’s time to throw in the towel
If you aren’t seeing measurable and sustainable progress – in terms of growth, customers, or even profitability – within the first two or so years after your organization is in place, consider winding down and scaling your business back. Take a closer look at your financial performance to assess your next steps and determine “if there’s a THERE there…”.
Today’s business is ever-changing, and startups are what constantly provide markets with new growth opportunities. Some of the most utilized brands today like Instagram, Pandora, and Zapier had a starting point with a wild, high-potential idea and un-forged avenues to success. Whether you’re new to entrepreneurship, or you’re ready to IPO, hopefully these recommendations have provided some insight on how to better your business in this fast-paced, exciting environment.
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