For start-ups, every decision requires the utmost scrutiny. With finances fragile, the wrong choice could quickly lead to failure. Whether it’s the hiring process, research and development, cash-flow or marketing, start-ups must tread carefully.
Knowing when to change things up and when to persevere with your usual course of action, therefore, is a difficult decision to take, particularly if the latter is not working. For start-ups, knowing when to stick and when to twist could prove the difference between success and failure, so here are some consideration to help you make that decision.
Have a focus
Before any start-up can successfully pursue new revenue streams, they must first ensure that they have a suitable focus on their core operations. Can you quickly sum up your organisation is a sentence or two? This is often referred to as an “elevator pitch” because you should be able to share it with someone in the time required for you take an elevator up or down a few floors. Coming up with one of these can be a good way of ensuring your organisation has focus.
For smaller firms, taking a scattergun approach to your operations is likely to leave your staff spread thinly and your customers confused. When starting out, being a jack-of-all-trades is not as effective as being a master of one.
Be more mobile
Although start-ups may have to be more cautious in terms of their finances than larger firms, in other ways they can actually embrace risk with greater freedom. Smaller businesses, for example, can adopt new technologies much faster than more established, larger competitors because they do not have to break down layer upon layer of admin and bureaucracy before implementing change.
If an independent restaurant business wants to introduce a new Online Ordering System or if a retail start-up thinks that a mobile app would boost orders, then there is little to stop either from doing so. Digital tools are accessible and usually affordable, allowing start-ups to steal a march on the slow-moving giants that they are competing against.
There is such a thing as too much growth
Although growth is desirable, too much can be put a lot of strain on start-ups. Do not be afraid to turn down orders or defer projects if your company is not ready for them. Huge projects, for example, have bankrupt start-ups in the past because they simply did not have the financial weight to complete them, despite the company being generally successful. There’s no shame in having to stick in order to survive.
What to do when things aren’t working
If you’ve invested a lot of time or money into a project that isn’t working, it can be difficult to know whether to preserver, pivot slightly to a new focus, or switch to something entirely new. It may be tempting to continue in the hope that things pick up, but don’t let emotion sway your decision. Look carefully at the market and your finances and if you need to pull the plug, you should.