Many entrepreneurs, mostly to their detriment, view their startups as a sprint. No sooner have they identified the invention that they run frantically chasing deals and big investments. About 90% learn the hard way that startups can be a tasking marathon that may take years to perfect. They close after the first 100-meter dash — the first three years of the business. The biggest problem that entrepreneurs have to deal with is the business processes. You may be having the best idea and fail. How you structure and execute your business plan is imperative. To avoid this pitfall, consider doing the following things.
Map Your Processes, Resources, and Functions
Scale your idea in the most straightforward way possible. Apart from the idea, ensure that you have a clear understanding of the resources available to you and the business. Do not make assumptions about resources. If you think you can get financial backing from a friend or relative, make sure you have an agreement in place. If you make a business decision based on a resource that you don’t have, you will most certainly have problems re-adjusting. Budget shortfalls for a small business are usually fatal. The core functions of any business are product development and marketing. Make sure that there is a strategy to back them.
Thoroughly Analyze Your Options
The proof of concept can be chaotic—scattered teams, abandoned projects, and run-down processes. Discipline is key once you get into structuring your business around a proven product. You cannot allow things to hang around. You have to be lean and consistent. Simple, standard and repeated processes are vital in establishing an efficient system. At first, you have to review your procedures thoroughly. For repetitive tasks, you have to create a primer that will be repeated to perfection. Each task has to be adequately resourced. Ensure that each task has qualified personnel. Back it up with a transparent reporting process.
Try Digital Integration and Automation in Small Doses
Though technology is great, it has to be served in the right doses. You must evaluate technology before you invest in it. The cost-benefit analysis of every technology is imperative. Don’t be shy about adopting explosive technologies though, but you must align company health with your new acquisitions. You can get a workflow tutorial to guide you on simple processes that can replace technological upgrades. Adopt core communication technologies, and develop a user policy and guideline for it.
Outsource Where You Don’t Have Capacity
New processes require new hires, which can be quite expensive. Some functions are seasonal, such as auditing and filing taxes. You don’t need to make new hires for such processes. For instance, you don’t need a network engineer in your startup if you are not a technology company. You can outsource a service whenever you need it. However, it is not wise to outsource core business functions such as product development and marketing. Instead, create a core business process out of it and staff it appropriately.
Let every step in your growth be viable. If it is a marketing process, ensure that it has favorable returns on investment. Never use your gut feeling when committing company funds, have a solid basis for it. Unsustainable expenses choke your budget, which can create a vicious cycle. Your budget cannot be ruined by extraneous expenses, so make sure every penny spent increases sustainability by being an absolutely necessary expense.
Business processes are inherently simple. While trying to be complex and sophisticated, most startups end up in ruins. Ensure that your systems serve the intended purpose. Ensure that they all support the business plan, the budget, and the resources. Before committing to a function, ensure that it is sustainable and necessary. Furthermore, make every decision a commercial one—the returns must outweigh the investment.