You built the prototype. You launched the beta. You presented at TheNextWeb conference. And you got the funding. But how do you manage the next growth phase that will present radically different challenges from the previous one?
This is the first post in the series “After the Funding”. In each post I will outline a post-funding challenge, describe what worked previously, what changes are taking place and how to unlock startup growth. “After the Funding” is a reminder that no matter how brilliant your idea, execution is everything and relentless attention to detail will be needed to win big time!
Base Decision-Making on Long-Term Strategy instead of Short-Term Constraints
In the early days, the startup changed course frequently while the core team sharpened its vision. Many decisions were made based on resource constraints. Your idea was new and different and there were limited opportunities to pitch it and find allies. And you were working in a small, tightly-knit group where the founders were heavily involved in every decision.
Your team, your customer base and your partner network will grow quickly now. And with funding providing additional resources and plenty of exposure the startups needs to shift from a mode that is driven by limited resources to one where the right opportunities are selected and pursued for maximum gain.
Decision-making needs to be based on long-term strategy and decisions need to be made by a number of people based on their roles. Owners – often by nature energetic and visionary – need to channel their drive in the best interest of the company. To facilitate decision-making, they need to spend time defining a clear and concise strategy that is detailed enough to provide guidance while not being restraining. They then need to relentlessly communicate this strategy internally and externally. And carefully consider the inherent cost before making sudden and frequent strategy changes.
In next week’s post I will look at how to succesfully expand sales.
No Funding Yet?
Here are some great links for people who are still looking for funding or have not pulled the trigger on starting their own company:
- Paul Graham’s “18 Mistakes that Kill Startups” on his blog
- Guy Kawasaki blog article on “11 key points for fulfilling The Art of Innovation”
- Mark Fletchers’s “15 Startup Commandments” at startupping.com