Starting a business is one of the most grinding, challenging and impossibly rewarding undertakings out there. We watch reality shows that feature budding entrepreneurs perfecting their pitches and monitor the big swings VCs are taking, trying to read between the lines for shifts in trends. But here’s the catch: most stories end there, as does our attention.
What’s less sexy—but infinitely more important—is what happens after the first round of funding is secured. Questions arise like:
- Who do we need to hire first? What values are most important in prospective employees?
- What is our realistic roadmap, and how do we map our daily actions onto our higher goals?
- How do we delegate? How much trust do we have in each other?
- What’s our burn rate and runway? What needs to be done before we go for another round?
- Where will we work? What will be our company culture? How will we practice our ethos?
- What is the one thing we want to do first?
No one knows all this better than Curbio CEO Rick Rudman. “The personality trait that’s contributed the most to my success as a leader is determination,” he says. “The most important advice I’d give is to focus on what you want to do and why you want to do it. I’m always asked ‘Are you trying to do an IPO?’ or ‘Do you want to get acquired?’ My answer is always the same: we want to build a great company. We want to make our employees happy and our customers happy, and the financial piece will figure itself out.”
So how do you map a successful business? Here are some thoughts:
- Don’t succumb to confirmation bias. If you constantly look for data that proves your hypothesis right (and ignore the data that disproves it), you’ll probably burn through your cash before you can figure it out. Take every challenge as an opportunity to reset: Are these still the things we believe? Do we still think this is the best solution? The best leaders are the adapters, not the laser-focused visionaries.
- Hire people you trust. Many entrepreneurs fall into the trap of perfection: they want everything done their way, which means micro-managing the talent they bring in. A plan like this fails for two reasons. Burnout, obviously, and the lack of management to recognize that when you bring more people into an idea, it gets stronger, not weaker.
- Balance the high-level vision with the day-to-day plan. Too many leaders get tied up in the former and forget that the devil is in the details: an organized roadmap is the spinal cord of a business. Without it, you cannot be mobile, flexible or hope to grow. Not only is this a core principle (one you don’t just learn once, but again and again), but mastering it is an art form in and of itself.
4. Stay ahead of the curve. Competition in your space is the primary focus, but don’t lose sight of other controls like your demographic’s changing priorities, the landscape of your industry and the world itself. Being able to stay proactive instead of reactive will help you soar to the top.
For more information, visit https://curbio.com.