For months or years, you sacrificed your family and friends, and gave your dream project your everything. Abstaining from human contact, you survived on an unhealthy dose of caffeine and junk food, and ignored that personal trainer you had hired with hopes of getting a six-pack. But finally the big day has arrived – your product is public ready. And, now you think you get to relax!
However, you forget, ’relax’ is one of those words that shouldn’t feature in an entrepreneur’s dictionary at all, at any time. Well, if you thought with the launch of your start up, you could sit back and relax, you couldn’t have been more wrong. In fact, the launch is just the beginning of the task at hand.
Here are the immediate next steps for every start up entrepreneur
Assignation and delegation of responsibilities
So far, you have more or less single handedly helmed many fronts; you have been the business development head, the marketing guy, the salesman, the office peon and the telephone operator. But, with the launch, you need to stop donning so many hats. You need to assume only that responsibility you can handle the best. As for the rest, it’s time you crafted key roles, hired people and delegated responsibilities.
Solidify the foundation
With the launch, you must be raring to grow your start up by leaps and bounds. A nice sentiment, but not a very wise one. Haste has never served well. Take one step at a time. Instead of drawing big salaries, think of reinvesting the money. Instead of hiring a big team of people, try to hire a few people who can multi-task, and try to do as many tasks in-house, as you can. What you learn today from your mistakes will help you take wiser business decisions tomorrow. Focus on making a rock solid foundation before you start splurging.
Chart out short and long term goals
The temptation to do hundred and ten things simultaneously is too hard to resist, however, try to contain that reckless enthusiasm. First things first, bring out that big yellow legal pad and make a list of short and long term goals of your start up. It will help you stay focused and on course. Make sure the goals are realistic and attainable and that you don’t drive yourself and your team too hard. But do find interesting ways of keeping them on their toes.
Innovation is the name of the game. As you start growing, the risk of staying tied down by your old product or service, is very great. However, consumers expect constant change, and if you dish out the same old products and services, it might drive them away. Hence, it is crucial to your business to come up with innovative features in your product or service to stay in the game.
Market your own start up
The world needs to know your product exists, and who better to tell them than you, the founder and the creator. Whenever you are meeting people, socially or professionally, never leave an opportunity to talk about your product.Understand your target audience, and keeping the business objectives in mind build a concise pitch to market your product.
Sustaining people: clients and employees
Remember, you now have clients and employees on board, hence the added responsibility towards them. Unfortunately our industry is plagued by an abnormally high attrition rate, and you need to work your odds at beating it. Treat your employees well and be sincere to your clients. Instead of being on the hunt for new people, take care of your existing ones. Your employees are your human capital. Focus on them and mentor them to make them ready for high performing roles in the future. Remember, Rome wasn’t built in one day, and here you are building a unicorn! You are going to need all the help you can get.
Build a work culture
It’s a myth that only large organizations need a work culture. Start-ups need one as much. Building the right company culture and a healthy environment are extremely important for boosting employee productivity and for improving internal and external relationships. Your company’s values, vision and mission should be such that people want to be associated with. While this will only come with time, it will require consistent steps and efforts on your part.
Keep a tab on your competitors
Remember the old adage – ‘Keep your friends close and enemies closer!’. There is a reason why our forefathers have lived by this rule. Don’t be shy of donning the garb of CIA when it comes to keeping tabs on your competitors! Always remember that in order to eliminate the competition, you need to know the competition. You must know what is hitting the market before their product becomes available to the public. Moreover, you must learn from the mistakes they made so that you don’t necessarily repeat the same mistakes in the future.
Keeping these steps in mind, you must also remember one crucial thing – do remember to pat your back and revel in those small moments of happiness. After all, your brain just delivered a baby!