Entrepreneurs Share Q1 Advice for Startups
:: By Corey Bray, LegalNature ::
Congrats! Your company made it through another year despite a lot of odds stacked against it, or maybe your business has not yet launched, and you are hoping to make 2017 your year.
Wherever you're starting or continuing from, let the following advice from several successful entrepreneurs help you begin the first quarter right.
“Slow is smooth and smooth is fast” –Alexis Robin, Co-founder, pLink Coaching Center
It is tempting to roll into the new year and dive right into your old habits and the overwhelm of the post-holiday emails that have collected while you’ve been celebrating. If you want to kick off the year with a bang you will want to channel your “fresh start” energy into a proper plan. At pLink we love the saying, “Slow is smooth and smooth is fast,” and that’s an approach you can take to lay the foundation for a kick-ass year. Spend your first days back in the office defining the answers to these questions:
● What are my intentions for this year?
● What do I want to have accomplished by the end of 2017?
● What will have the biggest impact on my success this year?
Got it? Good. Now ask yourself:
● What do I need to do today to set myself on the right path?
● How am I going to go after these intentions? (Note, this may change throughout the year and that’s great. You’ve got to be nimble and adjust to ensure you stay on track.)
The key is to be crystal clear on where you are going this year and then stay honest. Every choice will get you closer to or further from your goal.
“These are the four guiding principles that have been key to running a successful startup for us” – Adrian Ridner, Co-founder, Study.com
● Get Things Done (GTD) – You need to move fast to make the most of your money before it runs out. Pick a few things to focus on and diligently go after them, don’t get distracted. You will never know less about the problem you are working on than you do at the beginning. Do not let perfect be the enemy of good. Just get something live and then learn and iterate on it.
● Decide with Data - You have limited resources and budget, so you need to make smart decisions. When in doubt, test it out, and then decide with data. Double down on what works, and quickly iterate or drop things that don’t.
● Simplify – Don’t make solutions more complex than they have to be. Break problems down so that you don’t get overwhelmed and can make incremental progress forward. Keep your end goals in mind and don’t get lost in the details.
● Be exceptional – It is important to team up with great people. Recognize what you are good at, where you are weak, and then surround yourself with great talent. When you have a smart and passionate team, everyone pushes each other to be better.
“Work on achieving the bigger picture” – Frank DeGeoege, Co-founder, YouStake
After spending quality time with family and friends during the holidays, it is time to get back to work, and what better way to do this than jump in head first. There are key areas I like to focus on as a business leader to ensure another year of success, with emphasis today on Q1. The first is to review accomplishments and challenges from the prior year and then truly understand the drivers behind each one. Next is to determine stretch goals and major milestones with my team. This gives us a roadmap and ensures everyone is on the same page. Lastly, work on achieving the bigger picture, but make sure to keep the smaller tasks on track and in mind. At YouStake, every day we face exciting new opportunities, and we know that with the right amount of planning and proper execution, we will have another prosperous year!
“Take the time to evaluate your risk profile and coverages” – Rashimi Melgiri, COO and Co-founder, CoverWallet
This is a great time to evaluate your company's risk and performance in order to lay a strong foundation for the year. As part of that, one key item to review is your business insurance, particularly given that many companies aren't aware of key limitations to core policies. As you get set to grow your business, take a little time to review changes in your operating functions (would you be protected in the case of errors or omissions?) and corporate structure (are your directors and officers protected in the case of shareholder issues?). A key example to consider is that the majority of small businesses went out of business within six months of a cyberattack. While you're prepping for growth and potentially launching new product lines, taking the time to evaluate your risk profile and coverages can mean the difference between successful implementation and significant financial trouble.
“Create a strategic plan for innovation and thought leadership within your company” – Mike Stemple, CEO & Founder, Inspirer
This year is going to be an interesting year for businesses, and I think there is a lot of opportunity for growth and innovation. My best advice for startups is to create a strategic plan for innovation and thought leadership within your company so you can lay that foundation early in the year. Infect your company culture so your employees feel empowered to think differently, solve wicked problems, and talk about their ideas in public without fear of retribution. When your company as a whole is given the opportunity to innovate, rather than a specified team or individual, it creates very interesting results that can benefit startups and give them a competitive advantage in the market that their competitors, and even large companies, cannot compete with.
What are your tips for starting off Q1 to ensure a successful year? Let us know in the comments!
Corey Bray is the CEO and Founder of LegalNature. A serial entrepreneur, Corey has successfully exited several startups and is currently focused on revolutionizing the business document industry.