Congratulations! You’ve raised your funds and now it’s all systems go to build your business and grow like you’ve never grown before.
There’s excitement mixed with a little anxiety – you have the chance to really make something of your venture, but you’re doing it with other people’s money and you don’t want to stuff it up. Sound familiar?
Your growth plans are probably ambitious and aggressive. You have so much to do and it seems it all should be done in such a short timeframe. So, how will you get it all done?
Now is the time to prioritise and understand the outcomes you need so that you can make good decisions.
The role of roadmaps
This is where your roadmaps really come into their own. You’ve poured over these plans and have created your dream roadmap, a more realistic one for your investors and, hopefully,
an operational roadmap for how you’ll actually run the business.
It’s a great idea to also start developing some short-term roadmaps during your fundraising – a 30-day and a 100-day plan can be particularly useful. These short term plans help you to prioritise where your time needs to be spent.
Make sure you have a ‘float’ in there as well – we all know the best laid plans can go awry.
Know what success looks like during growth
It’s important to be clear on what success is for your venture. It’s not the same as any other venture – it’s unique to your business and the outcomes you want to achieve.
Success metrics can change depending on the phase of growth you’re in and they’re more than financial and customer acquisition KPIs.
To develop great metrics, understand what you want to achieve, the timeframe you need to achieve it in and what really drives that outcome.
Your roadmaps provide insight into your success metrics and they should align.
Be consistent and spend time on monitoring your metrics, modifying and refining along the way if necessary – but don’t be too hard, nor too kind, on yourself and your team – things happen but you are still working to deadlines!
Optimise your people investment
Most ventures invest a good portion of their funding into people – key people who will help take the venture into the future. It can be tempting to fill a role with someone who’s ‘near enough’ – if you find yourself in this space then proceed with caution!
Your people are valuable assets and they need to contribute to your business, allow you to delegate to people you can trust and to spend your time on what you need to do (which may look quite different from what it did before). The wrong hire can disrupt not only yourself but your team and your venture. Don’t rush into hiring people, hire on a mix of skills and fit and avoid hiring clones of yourself.
Use your roadmaps, they should include who your key hires are – the ones that will really make a difference to this stage of your growth and who should challenge you.
Fill from the top and always find a person for the role, not a role for the person.
Transition from product to business
Now is the time that you move from proving a product and market to proving you have a sustainable business.
Your mindset and the way you run the business will most likely change. Your product & customer focus must remain but you will have new and different decisions to make. You’re scaling and you have to do what’s right for the business as well, differentiate between opportunity and distraction and understand the risk associated with your decisions.
Ask for help and be open to the input from your senior leadership team – you don’t need to have all the answers yourself.
Surround your venture with good advisors and leverage the experience and skills of your investors – they have a vested interest in your success!