The Entrepreneurial Race Part 3: On Your Mark, Get Set, GO!
July 8, 2013 3 Comments
Gentlemen, start your engines!
When it comes to racing, the start is one of the most important locations on the entire race. Just a few seconds can make the difference between finishing first or last.
The same is true for a new business: the launch is critical. Once a team of founders has explored funding options and assembled a Board of Advisors, they must figure out their launch strategy. Here are some tips for getting a startup off to a good start:
- Enter the right race- If you are a dirt track race team, you want to make sure you don’t enter the Indy 500. If you’re Usain Bolt, you don’t want to enter the Boston Marathon. Just as any good racer knows which events to enter, a good entrepreneur knows which markets to enter and when. Remember that timing is everything: launch too early and you run the risk of your market/product/team not being ready, launch too late and you may miss your golden opportunity to hit it big. Always enter markets that play to your strengths and are a good fit for your product or service.
- Prepare your team- Racers don’t just show up to a race without any practice beforehand (if they do, they typically don’t do well at all). Make sure your team is well-rounded and ready for the business to enter the marketplace because once you’re in the race, things move quickly and its difficult (even devastating) to make major adjustments in team dynamics. Equip everyone on the team with the knowledge they need to succeed in their role and clearly outline your expectations for them within the organizational structure.
- Reexamine your car- Is your car fueled? Does it have the appropriate tires on it for the weather conditions? Depending on what market your company enters, you want to make sure your product/service is in working condition before you launch it into the public eye. Naturally, there will be some adjustments that need to made, but it’s embarrassing to launch prematurely, fail hard, and have retreat from the market to go back to the drawing board. The initial launch of your company will be what consumers remember you by; be sure to make a great first impression.
- Execute your strategy- Though many races may seem like going in an oval for hours, there is a lot of strategy involved: Where do you want to start? When do you want to make your move for the front? How do you plan to get the lead? The same applies in the entrepreneurial race. Whether you have a full business plan or not, your company should have a strategy for entering your market, gaining a customer base, generating cash flow, and gaining market share. Though the launch may not go exactly as outlined, having a plan in place (preferably with different scenarios outlined) will help your company adjust to the race environment rather than getting in a wreck. Follow your plan and adapt when necessary.
This general checklist will enable your company to get off to a good start in launching the company or introducing a new product into the marketplace.
On your mark, get set, GO!
Learn It. Love It. Live It.
[image credit: Ed Schipal on Flickr]