As the initial enthusiasm gives way to reality, you will need to get your nose to the grindstone before your happiness level rises again, hopefully higher than it has ever been. The importance of surrounding yourself with good people and effective resources should not be taken lightly. Your team and mentors will hold you up in times of need and share in the celebration of reaching new milestones.
Building Your Concept
We label the first phase of a startup as the build phase. You will want to organize your thoughts and ideas, establish your business model canvas and specs of your service or product. All of this is necessary to build a business that investors will look at seriously. One of the steepest hurdles that will meet you from the very beginning is validating your ideas.
Research your customer base, marketing channels, product value, revenue streams, activities, partners and resources.
You will also need to attract some top talent in this early phase, but you don’t want to bring in more people than you need. Instead, find just enough help to perform all of the tasks at hand.
Launching Your Startup
When your company has been fully fleshed out and you’ve developed a minimally viable product, it is time to launch your startup and work toward your revenue model. In the launch phase, you will validate your business further with real customers, improve upon your product or service and raise additional capital.
Scaling your new business is vital, but it can be very tricky for startups. A recent study showed that 74 percent of Internet startups failed because they scaled up too quickly. However, if you scale too slowly, you may lose some of your momentum and miss important opportunities. One strategy is to start growing out rather than up, which will give you some time to prepare to serve more customers.
Growing Your Business
In the third phase of a startup, you have already validated your business model and are scaling up or out to achieve at least $1 million in revenue or seed money. At this point, your business is ready to break into the big time, and you’ll need to keep an eye on cash flow, additional growth opportunities and major partnerships.
Cash flow is the lifeblood of your startup. It must flow continuously and smoothly without any sudden releases or bottlenecks. The cash-flow structure that works best for you will ensure that you are being paid the right amount at the right intervals to keep the business successful enough to expand comfortably.
Getting Help in Tampa Bay
Although it’s fun, exciting and extremely rewarding, starting your own business is hard and not all ideas succeed. You have resources and community right in your backyard to help on the roller coaster of the startup happy scale. Tampa Bay Wave is a nonprofit organization of entrepreneurs in Tampa Bay who work to bring success to other local entrepreneurs by turning ideas into viable businesses. Our mission is to help you progress through each phase of establishing a successful startup through the Tampa Bay Wave Accelerator program.