What must your business have in order to thrive and keep winning?
There is a lot of hype and distractions out there. There is a lot of mediocre advice that will send you on all types of detours. Along with a healthy dose of daily challenges every new startup and mature company has to deal with. Here are the real fundamentals your businesses need to thrive.
Bootstrapping is great and possible. Some may even see it as being noble. Yet, there is no escaping the fact that businesses need money. Many try to dispel the fact that it takes money to make money. It is absolutely true. In one form or another, your business runs on money. It’s the fuel it runs on.
If you hope to have a fast-growth startup that can grow really big, or already have a big company to maintain, you’ve got to have free cash flow and capital. No matter what stage your venture is at, your number one job as the leader is to simply make sure your company doesn’t run out of money. With it, you can find ways to thrive. Without it, it is very difficult to just survive.
In order to get investors excited when fundraising, you will need a pitch deck to capture the essence of your business in 15 to 20 slides, so that you are able to get investors excited. You may want to use the best pitch deck template you can find to get things in motion.
Bill Gates credits Apple and Steve Jobs’ success with him being such a visionary and great marketer and his ability to cast and mesmerize others with his vision. There are going to be endless small and large bumps along the way, and plenty of blah days in between. You and your team don’t just need to keep going, you’ve got to keep believing and aiming big. If you don’t have one yet, get a really big vision, get buy-in from your investors, team, and customers. Keep it front and center.
Some people try to say that passion is overrated. They probably haven’t tried to build a business from scratch for years before. It’s not easy. In fact, it is very hard. There is no overnight success. You need to make sure you are taking on a mission you can commit to for years, no matter what. Something that is worth all the sacrifice. Something that keeps you awake at night. Consider Elon Musk. He may be heralded as a multi-billionaire genius in the news, but some days he may be broke, and despite all of his accomplishments says he can still often be found sleeping on the floor of a factory, and working crazy hours, getting his hands dirty to make things work, and push the needle.
It is easy to work on the days you are pumped up and things are going well. Anyone can do that. What makes the difference in a business that survives and thrives and goes big and long is putting in the work on all of the other days. The grinding on the small daily tasks that create those big overnight success stories. Especially on the days, you don’t feel like it. As writers put it, putting your backside in the seat and fingers on the keyboard.
Great morning routines and business coaches can really help in this area if you haven’t mastered it yet.
Marketing drives everything. Marketing drives great hires, PR, fundraising, leads, and sales and profits. You need real marketing pros and conversion optimization experts to have a thriving business.
Being busy does not mean that things are working or that your business is thriving. There are plenty of busy workers and entrepreneurs that aren’t going anywhere.
You need to be getting regular results and seeing regular improvement and growth to keep the organization thriving. You need it so that you and your team and investors don’t feel you are just banging your head on the wall. This doesn’t just happen by accident or luck. It’s the result of strategy and well-timed execution. It relies heavily on staging PR, ads, and marketing to keep juicing.
Perhaps second only to money when it comes to things your business needs to thrive is happy customers. If you have happy customers, then the money will also show up much more easily. You don’t just need reasonably satisfied customers inline with your competitors’ NPS scores, or captive customers. You want raving fans and brand ambassadors. In turn, that means you’ll be getting referrals, repeat business, and more positive reviews.
If you have to be there holding the reins and with your sleeves rolled up in the trenches every day, then you don’t really have a business. You have a job. You might have a fancier title and bigger bonus package, but you are working pretty hard for it.
This also means the business and its performance all rely on you. Making payroll, customer service, delivery, and returning investor money is all on you. You are either going to burn out and go down in flames. Or, you will be the biggest roadblock to company growth. You need time off to rest and get recharged and invest in leveling yourself up. To do that, you need your company to be able to run autonomously without you. When you achieve it, that’s one of the best badges of success you can wear.
If you are flexible and agile, you can thrive no matter what comes. Things will always change. Thrive by being the fastest to adapt. Or, push innovation and be the one to lead the change.
Don’t just survive it, embrace challenges, and find the good in it.
Alejandro Cremades is a serial entrepreneur and the author of The Art of Startup Fundraising. With a foreword by ‘Shark Tank‘ star Barbara Corcoran, and published by John Wiley & Sons, the book was named one of the best books for entrepreneurs. The book offers a step-by-step guide to today‘s way of raising money for entrepreneurs.
Most recently, Alejandro built and exited CoFoundersLab which is one of the largest communities of founders online.
Prior to CoFoundersLab, Alejandro worked as a lawyer at King & Spalding where he was involved in one of the biggest investment arbitration cases in history ($113 billion at stake).
Alejandro is an active speaker and has given guest lectures at the Wharton School of Business, Columbia Business School, and at NYU Stern School of Business.
Alejandro has been involved with the JOBS Act since inception and was invited to the White House and the US House of Representatives to provide his stands on the new regulatory changes concerning fundraising online.