For anyone that’s started their own business, you would know, probably better than most, the fundamental importance tof making it through that first year. Scarily, the average 9 out of 10 startups fail in their first year, and in startup post-mortems, many founders accredited their business failure down to one simple (yet incredibly complex) thing: A failure to Plan.
CFPro has worked with businesses at all stages of their life cycle; some were just starting out on their business journey, others had made it through and were embarking on a next growth phase, while others were long established organisations that simply needed extra hands-on support to keep them compliant and focussed. And we’ve seen it before. A lack of planning – wherever you are in the business life cycle almost surely means a one-way destination – and not in the direction you have in mind.
We look at 4 of the biggest challenges experienced by early-stage businesses.
Not having the right quantity of Cash
For many entrepreneurs who are just starting out, the glamour of Dragon’s Den is simply not an option. For most, they are faced with dipping into their own pockets to setup and grow their business initiative, perhaps with the help from family and friends, and, if they’re lucky, through grants, loans and investment. But how much is enough? How much is too much? How much is too little?
For many early-stage businesses, not having a clear vision of who they’re trying to reach today and where they see themselves in a few years’ time simply means that they are unable to plan sufficiently – having a direct impact on cash-flow and long-term investment. Not having the right amount of cash for your business means that although you may have all the best intentions in the world, you simply cannot see your way to make it happen. And that’s when the wheels come off, and your business becomes yet another statistic.
Lack of the right business support
Starting a new business is scary. And if you’ve made it through your first few years, you’re probably incredibly proud of the fact that you’ve been able to sustain your business through its startup phase. You may still be in that phase, but the signs are there telling you that it’s time to grow. And although you may feel comfortable with the day-to-day, growth means taking considerably new risks – ones that you may not feel completely comfortable with. That’s when you start to ask for help. For many, though, asking for help is where things go wrong. We know that sounds contradictory – but stay with us for a second. At this crucial step of your business future, seeking advice from the wrong business channels hold far more dire consequence than not seeking advice at all. Our economy is filled with individuals with opinions – so make sure that you seek council from professionals who have been where you are, who have helped others who are where you are, who have long-term experience in delivering growth and helping people like you move from one business phase to the next, and most of all, who not only talk, but deliver.
Failing to plan for the long-term
Similarly, as important as it is to make it through your first year – your focus shouldn’t be stuck in the gloopy syrup that is startup introspection. With one eye on your day-to-day, you need to be, as the leader of your business (even if it is just you), be looking towards year 2, 5 and 10 and even, if you dare it, beyond that. Markets change constantly – consumer demands evolve almost overnight, and if you don’t have your focus attached to the world around you and how the future of your business fits into that picture, then you’ve lost before you’ve even tried. But we understand that many early-stage business leaders simply don’t know how to plan for something they’ve yet to see. And that’s ok. Because then, you rely on people who can, to help you get there.
A huge part of growth is adding talent. Developing your team today has a direct knock-on effect to what your business looks like (and what it delivers) tomorrow. And that’s where many early stage businesses get it wrong. They hire the wrong talent for what the business needs, and what the business culture should be. All connected, if you’re not planning, you don’t know what it looks like. If you’re not learning from those who can guide, then you don’t know what it looks like. If you don’t have the right amount of cash (and do the right things with it), then you can’t hire the talent that your business really needs. The development of your talent pool starts with you. And if you don’t know where to start, then you need the right people to help.
So, why are you reading this? If you’re still with us – then it’s clear that you are ready to build your business. You have the right mind set, and you’re ready for action. You may not know just quite what you’re going to do, but that’s ok. The next step is obvious – you engage with us – and allow us to help you develop a path for your business that takes you from startup to greatness – and exponential growth. So, you have nothing to lose. Call us today.