So, you’ve put in the hard yards. And not without effort your business is starting to grow. But what do you do now? There are plenty of guides out there to get you thinking about your own self-starter journey, but it’s important to have an idea of what to expect along the way.
To get an understanding of the lay of the land, we spoke with Nick Birrell, adjunct Professor at Monash University and advisor to venture capital firm Innovation Capital and a number of tech start-ups.
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A strong foundation
Growth begins with brainstorming, sketching and discussing potential problems and uncovering unexpected solutions. It’s a time to make sure you clearly and concisely define goals than you can focus on, both long and short term.
“Having read dozens, if not hundreds of business plans, I am convinced that if the essence of the plan cannot fit on one page then the entrepreneur is not sufficiently clear on their goal and how they are going to achieve it,” says Professor Birrell.
“I have become convinced that the most important discipline required of a self-starter is focus.”
He says the key is knowing your goal, working out how you’re going to get there, and staying focused on it – despite the many distractions you’ll face when starting out, and the multiple excuses for letting them get you off track.
Staying on target
Once you’ve made a plan, and know where you’re heading, you need to start setting up for the long-game, promoting your service or product and handling the responsibility of running a company.
The path towards success can be rocky, but Professor Birrell believes that focusing on your goals and how you’ve planned to reach them is most important at this stage.
“Maintaining a focus on the core elements of your plan should allow you to see if that plan is failing, being disrupted or that there is a better way,” he says.
“Keeping focus on the big picture should also help you not to chop and change plans just because the small picture, day-to-day details are a struggle.”
Setting up for success
When things start going well, decisions need to be made between exploiting opportunities for expansion, or keeping the ship stable and steady to grow a stronger base. Success offers opportunities to bring others onboard, delegate, and to work on your business, not in it.
But how will you know that you’re succeeding? Are there set signs to let you know you’re heading in the right direction?
“I think it is important to set explicit metrics that will enable you to determine whether your plan is succeeding,” says Professor Birrell.
For example, he says you can increase scale – like the amount of something you’re selling or the profit margin you’re receiving from sales.
The age of disruption
Once your team is on top of their daily operations and your business is growing and seeing profit, your options might seem limitless. But bold changes need careful consideration, and the continual evolution of business brings unique challenges.
“The nature of our economy has changed greatly over the last half century or so,” says Professor Birrell.
“In the first half of the 20th century, you could set yourself up in a business and largely expect to be able to make a success of it over the medium term without having your business model disrupted.”
He says that disruption of a business model is now the rule, rather than the exception, for enterprises of any size.
“We have seen our retailers’ plans disrupted by online shopping, and we see banks scrambling to take on or take over fintechs,” he says.
Step up? Or step down?
It can be challenging for companies to keep maintaining growth, and self-starters often find themselves choosing between pushing further forward, or stepping away from the business that they’ve served so well.
“Many self-starters are not the right person temperamentally or by experience and training to lead a business from its early growth stage to more mature stages,” says Professor Birrell.
“It can be very difficult for the creator of a business to let go of their baby but that can be what’s best for the baby’s development. Entrepreneurs should be aware of their limitations and their personal aspirations and plan accordingly.”
“This can involve grooming a successor or bringing in appropriate people from outside. Leave it too long and it can be disastrous.”
So there you have it. Setting out on your self-starter journey means making a number of tough decisions, but at RedZed, we help make a huge commitment less complex. Because every individual’s situation is different, our credit decisions aren’t made by computers.
Just like you, our experts are living, breathing and empathetic. Your best interests are always at the front of our minds. To find out more about a RedZed loan, contact your mortgage broker. Or, to be referred to an accredited RedZed Lending Solutions broker, call us on 1300 722 462.