Startups are risky. The vast majority of them fail. Like a shark, if a startup team wants to succeed, they need to get moving and then keep moving — quickly.
If you’re planning to launch a new company, here are four key areas you want to consider to ensure that you hit the ground running.
1. Use Targeted Tech Tools
Technology is a powerful option to help a startup team stay productive and efficient. However, it’s easy to overspend on too many tech solutions. When you’re managing a menagerie of applications, it can be expensive and even lead to its own inefficiencies.
Rather than bog down your business with unnecessary tech expenses, look for cost-effective tools that address specific needs. For instance, many collaborative workflow tools, like Trello or ClickUp, are free or come with a small fee and can help companies stay organized.
Ideally, you should also look for software solutions that combine multiple functions into a single tool. Thryv, for instance, cuts through the excessive technological chatter by offering a “cure-all” tech platform explicitly designed for small businesses. The software functions as a central hub for startups and smaller enterprises to consolidate and optimize key activities, such as:
- Customer acquisition
- CRM management
- Communication solutions
- Growth and marketing tools
Whether it’s free and affordable tools that meet specific needs or more comprehensive solutions, always engage with startup tech with an eye toward utility. Every tool you invest time and resources into should have a targeted and clear purpose within your fledgling company.
2. Keep Your Founding Team Small
It’s tempting to build big startup teams to ensure everyone is in place as soon as you get going. If you have seed funding, the initial resources are also available to bankroll a larger team. However, in most cases, if you want your new business to gain momentum fast and then keep that progress going over time, it’s smarter to keep things lean and mean as you get going.
A smaller startup team doesn’t just have a longer runway, financially speaking. Ankit Kumar Pansari, founder of the productivity app OSlash, points out that small teams are able to work fast, make pivots, and respond to change. They can act decisively and tend to lack the bureaucracy and centralized approval structure that larger organizations struggle with.
Smaller teams understand who is responsible for what. When your focus is to stay lean, you also make each hire thoughtfully. Everyone needs to bring something important to the table — or they shouldn’t be on the team.
Of course, a lean team will require more third-party support to help fill gaps. YEC Women suggests several helpful ways startup leaders can support smaller teams, such as conducting one-on-one meetings regularly, maintaining an open-door policy, and keeping your team aligned with your mission and vision.
3. Go Past Vision and Build a Roadmap
It’s important to build your company vision before you hit the ground running. A developed and fleshed-out vision statement gives a new company a reason to exist. It considers future goals and desired impact. It breathes a clear purpose and passion into why it’s worth building your organization into something worthwhile.
However, vision isn’t reality. It’s merely a hopeful image of current potential. Turning a vision into a healthy startup — and especially doing so quickly — takes focus, clarity, and incentive. That’s where a roadmap comes into play.
Abdo Riani, CEO of the startup development company VisionX Partners, compares a startup launch roadmap to “shortstops.” These defined and purposeful benchmarks keep you moving toward a specific endpoint.
Roadmaps focus on short-term goals and answer how to reach them effectively and efficiently. They consider essential elements, such as developing a revenue-generating product or service. They also consider tangential factors, including customer acquisition, consumer expectations, and product functionality.
A vision and even a business plan are essential starting points. However, if your startup wants to achieve momentum quickly, you want to translate your vision into an actionable roadmap to achieve your short-term goals as quickly as possible.
4. Embrace the “Lean Startup” Gospel
Remember to stay flexible as you build your team, choose your tech tools, and flesh out your vision, plan, and roadmap. In the past, companies have built distinct and clear paths to success. Teams could adapt to circumstances within those plans as they went along, but they didn’t wander far beyond its borders.
In essence, this created a “one shot” concept for startups. A business plan either worked or it didn’t, with little room for alternative options.
The “lean startup” bucks this tradition. Harvard Business Review defines this concept as a business-building methodology that “favors experimentation over elaborate planning.”
Lean startups focus on customer feedback rather than the intuition of their founders. They also embrace iterative product design that develops along with a company rather than primarily taking place upfront.
A lean startup tests new ideas, measuring success as you go along. At the same time, it minimizes downside by mitigating unnecessary risks, failing fast, and embracing shortcomings as a learning process.
Helping Your Startup Gain Momentum and Hit the Ground Running
Okay, let’s recap. When you launch a company, you want to make sure you gain speed quickly. This comes through tending to a few critical areas.
Invest in target tech tools. Keep your founding team small and supported. Build actionable short-term roadmaps. Embrace the lean startup mindset.
Following these tips can give your startup the best chance of defying the odds of success by gaining momentum right away — and keeping that momentum going for the foreseeable future.