When you first launch a startup, you think you are facing the biggest challenge possible — getting your company off the ground. Every responsibility, from designing a website to finding investors is resting on your shoulders.
Often, entrepreneurs feel alone and isolated in this experience. The reality is we have all been there. At that moment in time, the “one person in a home office” stage feels like it is and always will be the most stressful snapshot of your company’s history.
Take if from experience, there are only more hurdles to come. In order to achieve success each must be viewed as an opportunity rather than a setback.
When your organization begins to experience growing pains and you realize that you must scale and expand to survive, that insight can at once be terrifying, depressing, exhilarating and frustrating. You almost feel as if you have transitioned back to square one, a startup teetering on the edge of making it, instead of a successful, established business.
Again, this is normal. At this stage, what separates growth-locked companies and businesses on a rocket to the top are three things: vision, communication and action.
Vision: If you do not have a quantified and actionable goal you want to reach with your business, you will be turning your wheels going nowhere into eternity.
If you are unsure what an achievable goal will be for your business, begin by reflecting on the past. Analyze where you started, how much you grew and what you achieved in the first six months, 12 months, 18 months and so on.
In addition to measuring things like revenue, also factor in other success influencers such as hiring employees, website development, client wins, product development timelines, all of the components essential to your business operations.
Once you have a solid understanding of your growth record in the past, you can compute your next goal with the knowledge of what is achievable so that you can challenge yourself without going to extremes.
Communication: Once your goal is locked in and you know what steps need to be achieved to scale your business to the next level, it is time to determine how to succinctly communicate that goal.
In meetings with investors, the media, retailers, even when trying to capture the attention of customers, you only have a few moments to make your point. It is essential to be able to communicate why your product or solution is unique and better.
Failure to accomplish this will fatally stunt business growth and terminate your ability to scale.
Action: All the planning and preparation in the world will be for naught if you never act on it or approach your goal too timidly.
History is filled with stories of startups that have achieved greatness through bold action. Instead of saying we can’t do that, we are too small, try. Even if you fall flat on your face or are told “your idea is interesting but not quite right for us,” each risk you take is a learning experience.
Conduct a download with your team after each no you receive or setback and determine what you can change to better.
While scaling a business is challenging and at times discouraging, if you have a solid plan for what you want to achieve, know where you came from and what differentiates you from the competition or current marketplace, are not afraid to take risks and aim big, you can get there.
Phil Dumas is founder of UniKey, which provides a secure mobile platform to replace keys, codes and passwords by turning a smartphone into a convenient, universal electronic key.