Planning for the long-term
Let’s start off with planning, as the old saying goes “failure to prepare is preparing to fail”. Sounds super generic and sh*t, right? Well, it’s actually very true. Duncan said that the most important factor to scaling a startup is planning, you should try and plan as much as you can, in as much detail as you can. However, you have to be careful you don’t set your targets too high, you should try and be as sensible as possible and set clear KPI’s, this keeps you from over-promising and under-delivering to your investors. Another factor regarding planning, try and think as long-term as possible, Rome wasn’t built in a day, it takes time to build a successful business and you should plan for the long-term to avoid acting on the spot.
So which factors in particular should you plan for? Duncan recommends placing a large emphasis on funding, you need to know how much you’ll need and when. Although this can seem like a hugely daunting process, there are companies out there that can help you with this, or finding an experienced advisor should have the same outcome. Because at the end of the day, you can’t grow a business without money, and knowing when you need it is key, as it allows you to work backwards to achieve it.
Another factor which needs detailed planning is recruitment, you can’t scale a business without having the right staff. You can try, and you may succeed, but it’ll be way harder than it needs to be. You should be able to anticipate your recruitment needs if you have a decent understanding of your business model and industry. For instance, we build apps, we know that if we want to take on say 3 more large projects we’d need to take on perhaps 2 more developers. We’d measure our projection and recruitment leads by keeping an eye on our sales and seeing which projects will be starting soon.
And the last factor for planning is “churn”. So what exactly is churn? Churn is customer turnover. Let’s be real, as you grow, you’ll almost certainly encounter customers leaving you, or not purchasing your products anymore, it’s only normal. However, if it isn’t accounted for or planned/modelled, it can quickly escalate and start affecting your targets and overall business performance.