It’s a tough gig, being a startup founder. The overwhelming majority of startups fail, and it can be hard to stay motivated when everything is on the line. That said: If you’re determined to grow your business, there are ways to achieve exponential growth in just 18 months — if not sooner.
Work out WHERE you want to be in 12 months time
Before you start on a solution, it’s important to define the problem. In this case, our problem is how to grow our business and make enough money from it so we can quit our day jobs within 18 months.
This stage of planning will help you set goals that are specific and achievable. Don’t worry about other people’s goals. (They don’t know what they want anyway.) Instead, be ambitious but stay realistic! Having a clear goal in mind will help keep your motivation high.
For example: If your business has been going for 6 months and sales are averaging $100 per month right now, then a good goal would be “to increase online sales by 500% within 12 months” or “to generate $900 per month within 12 months” or whatever number seems reasonable based on your current cash flow situation (how much income is coming in vs how much expenses are outgoing).
Work on the foundations of your business
Work on the foundations of your business. A successful startup needs to be built on a solid foundation. This means establishing a business plan, setting up a marketing strategy and creating financial plans. These are things you can do now that will help you in the future when it comes time to grow your company.
Get legal structure in order. Having legal structure ensures that the business has clear ownership, protects against liabilities, provides tax benefits and makes sure that paperwork is kept in order throughout its lifespan as well as during any major life events like an expansion or partnership with another company.
Build a team of people you can trust who will help make decisions when you aren’t around (which will happen). Make sure they know what they’re doing so they can answer questions from customers effectively without having them contact you directly all the time; this is especially important if there isn’t anyone else working at home besides yourself!
Work out a plan
Write down your goals and visualize them.
Start by writing down all the things you want to achieve, then look at the list and break it into chunks — what do you need to do today, this week, this month? Once you’ve done that, look at each step in turn and think about how long they will take.
Now create a timeline for each step of your plan: which ones are quick wins? Which ones are going to take longer? Work out what is important right now and focus on that first. If something isn’t working or needs more time or resources than expected, prioritize accordingly.
The final step is to take action on your plan. Once you’ve set up a business plan and are ready to start building your business, make sure that you have a way of tracking the work that’s being done so that it can be reported later. This will keep everyone on track and ensure that your team is working hard toward reaching their goals each month.
In addition to tracking their progress, make sure that each person has a clear understanding of what they’re supposed to be doing each week or month so there aren’t any surprises when it comes time for review meetings or annual reviews at the end of each year (or even quarter).
Once all these steps are in place, then it’s time for some discipline!
Avoid overwhelming yourself by setting goals.
As you start to build your business, it’s easy to get overwhelmed and feel like you’re doing everything yourself. Don’t worry about the future; focus on the next step. You can’t do it all — and even if you could, it wouldn’t be sustainable. So don’t be afraid to ask for help from friends and family, or hire a virtual assistant (VA).
Don’t be afraid to delegate tasks that aren’t core competencies of yours or your VA’s expertise, such as social media management or customer service inquiries — your customer is more likely to respond well when they feel they are being taken care of by someone who knows what they’re doing! This also frees up more time for strategy planning so that when big opportunities arise, both parties will be ready for them!
Focus on the next steps and don’t be tempted to skip ahead
We’ve covered some of the basics of starting your business and getting it off the ground.
You may be tempted to skip ahead and start doing things like hiring employees or buying expensive office equipment or setting up an online store. Don’t do it!
That’s not what this section is about at all. Rather, it’s about making sure that you’re doing everything right in terms of managing your finances and building out your product — and that means sticking with the plan outlined here.
Most importantly: don’t think you know better than anyone else (including me).
It can be tempting to think that you know best when it comes to running a company, especially if everyone around you is telling you how great your idea is going to be.
Never forget that there are experts who have spent years studying these issues from every angle imaginable — and who are able to offer advice based on real-world experience with businesses just like yours.