Intro: Structure, build and grow your business
Updated: Feb 17
Team is everything. Execute to your plan. Get to an exit.
3 Part Series: Team is everything. Executing to your plan. Getting to your exit.
I’ve been involved in 20 or so startups and turnarounds, some successful, and some … not so much. Over the years I’ve learned what I consider to be fundamental guidelines about what works and what doesn’t work when building, growing and ultimately exiting a company.
The guidelines in this 3 part series are based on my personal experiences in both early-stage and mature technology companies and are grouped around three main themes: focusing on the team, executing to your business plan and finally, getting to your exit.
Most are relevant for any business, but these particularly apply to technology platforms and B2B businesses, where my experience lies. Others may have a different take and certainly will have different experiences.
Importantly, there isn’t an exact way to build a company. Each situation is different, and therefore there isn’t a precise, quantifiable formula to follow. If there was, everyone would use that “recipe” and no company would fail. As it is, most companies fail. This is because the business world is dynamic, and recipes assume a static environment. That’s why the following guidelines should be considered as starting points to help determine the best way forward for your business.
It’s further critical to make sure that you’ve clearly defined the problem that you’re solving, for whom you’re solving it for, and to focus on the value that you’re creating. Sometimes in early-stage companies, people seem to create products for which there is no particular problem.
As a friend told me many times, “the hard part is getting people to part with their money and to do so over and over again.’ ‘Winning and keeping a customer is tough stuff.”
Also, worth noting, it takes more than hard work. As a founder or an early employee in a startup, you can put your shoulder into running the business as hard as you can, but if you don’t keep your head up and pay attention, your likelihood of success will drop precipitously.
You need to constantly be monitoring risks and opportunities and then demonstrate the ability to act accordingly.
Sometimes, you need a little luck too!
I hope you enjoy reading this and find it worthwhile as well.