Starting a business is not for the faint of heart. It takes guts, courage and a lot of hard work. And at times it may feel like you are never going to get out of the start-up phase. For some, this phase can last years and feel like it may never end.
A Startup Business is a fledgling business still trying to figure out the answers to basic questions.
It is not, however, defined by time. You may still be in Start-up phase even if you are in year three of your business. Probably the longest duration of the start-up phase would be five years because by that point most people have given up or become complacent with the fact that they are running a "Non-Profit, For-Profit" business.
The goal is to go from the Start-up phase to the Implementation phase. This is the stage where the business has shape and a foundation and is making money but still struggling because isn’t all that steady. Don’t worry, the Implementation phase is necessary for you to get to the Sustainable phase and that is where the money gets good.
But you are still in the Start-up phase. Let’s start by defining the Start-up business.
Start-up business criteria
- No clear definition of what the business is or what it offers.
- No defined systems for how you work with your clients, lead generation, visibility strategy, revenue creating activities, etc.
- No visibility. The business is unknown in its industry.
- Inconsistent cash flow, client loyalty, and products and services.
- No credibility because of undeveloped business.
Now let’s look at what the Start-up business must accomplish to move to the Implementation phase of business.
Clear definition of:
- What the business does. (What change in the world are you providing.)
- Who the business serves.
- What the business is selling.
- How the product/service will be delivered.
- Legacy Operations Plan – What you do? How you do it? Who does it?
- Legacy Marketing Plan – How do you get in front of buyers?
- Legacy Sales Plan – How do you close sales?
- Legacy Profit Plan – Setting Revenue & Profit Goals. What numbers you’re tracking? How do you do it?
The difference between a start-up and a small business
Recently I read a great article on Forbes.com Are you Building a Small Business or a Start-up? written by Neil Thanedar. In the article, he says that "small businesses are driven by profitability and stability, while start-ups are focused on top-end revenue and growth potential."
So where are you? Still stuck in the Start-Up business phase? Pay close attention to what you must accomplish to move your business forward.
If you are struggling with designing the Operations, Marketing, Sales or Profit plans for your business then you should get a copy of our Decisive Business Planner. It will walk you through the exact questions to help you decide this once and for all. It will be the best $17 you have ever spent.