Look, whether you’re excited about your brand new startup or you’re starting to lose excitement from objections, conflict, lost revenue or a bad business plan — none of that matters. The reality is you can’t grow your startup to a grownup without operating with urgency, utilizing your haters, staying focused and growing your business.
If you have a desire for your startup to be a success — act hungry and stay hungry. The worst thing you can do is start trying to suppress the idea that you want something great. Don’t suppress it, because suppressing something means you demotivate yourself. Let that desire for success rip.
Startups are on the rise, and according to the Kaufman Index for Startup Activity, “The Startup Activity Index rose in 2015, reversing a downward trend that started in 2010 in the middle of the Great Recession.” The reality is that nine out of ten startups fail because too many entrepreneurs stay in ‘startup mode’ way too long.
Keeping a small business in startup mode leaves you standing on the brakes.When you keep telling people you’re, “just a startup,” you will never take the massive actions required for massive growth.
It’s time to move from startup to grownup and from planning to doing. In two years, you want to look back at the startup phase of your company as an important part of your thriving business’ history. You want to be able to say, “I remember when I was sitting on my floor packing boxes myself. Now I employ over 100 people.” This is the mindset you want to move towards and here are five ways to do it:
Hire great so you can delegate
When you are in your startup phase, you are handling everything yourself. To become a grownup business you have to start investing in great people to do tasks you can no longer do. Three-quarters of all small businesses have zero employees which highlights the fact that people are resistant to delegating responsibility — they don’t trust others to do the same quality and level of work.
Look, you have to grow your business to become and stay successful. It is a misnomer to think people cost money; a lack of production and a failure to grow your business cost you money — far more money.
Choose your battles
Don’t get wrapped up for weeks deciding on the perfect logo color when it ultimately doesn’t matter. Your brand will evolve as your business evolves so your logo is likely to change. There are many more important things to obsess over — gaining customers and making money. When you are hunting big game, don’t swat mosquitos.
Make your haters love you
The single biggest problem every startup has is becoming known in their industry. Your most important task is to get attention for you, your idea and your company — it’s the gateway to every dollar you raise. Muhammad Ali told the world he was the greatest long before anyone knew him.
He infuriated people and got attention — he became a household name, he became omnipresent. But he then proved himself which turned criticism and hate into worldwide admiration. Get attention. Get haters. Then turn those haters into admirers.
10X your pitch
Instead of saying, “I own a small web design company,” say, “I own a web design company like no other. We guarantee your company increased sales.” Notice the difference? The first makes you seem small and insignificant and easily ignored. It makes no claims — it has no hooks.
The second makes you seem confident, unique and capable of being a moneymaker. Know how to pitch yourself and your business, be ready to quickly explain what your company does and know how to tell people it is better, faster and adds real value to the marketplace — then make huge claims to the world. Make sure they don’t forget who you are.
Create urgency for your business
If you start a business venture without setting specific timelines for action and achievements you will be stuck forever with excuses and will join the 90% of startups that fail. One of the biggest mistakes I have made in business was not operating with enough urgency.
Being an entrepreneur is a marathon activity with lots of sprints — if you win a lot of the little races you will provide your people and your company with momentum. When we shot our television show at my office I told the editing staff that I wanted rough cuts in half the time they thought necessary.
I followed up with progress calls every day including updates. This pressure to perform didn’t lead to an inferior product, it lead to the product being finished months ahead of schedule. Urgency is the key to getting things done.
Remember: Your vision is not improved by staying in startup mode. It’s time to accelerate, become known in your space and start grabbing market share from other, more established, players. It used to be the big who ate the small. Today, it is the fast who eat the slow.