Launching a startup is inherently complex. As a business owner myself and an accountant, I’ve found that maintaining success means keeping it simple — distilling your mission down to three simple areas.
By Amy Vetter, Global VP of Education and Enablement, Xero
You’re all-in or you’re out
Although being invested in multiple projects is a great way to put yourself out there, more often than not what seems like opportunity may be distraction. Dandapani, a former Monk turned entrepreneur, explains that where your attention goes, your energy follows. When getting a new venture off the ground, we distribute a lot of our energy to it. Once we see this venture start to become successful, our focus expands and our energy follows.
Xero founder Rod Drury has built a business from just a few customers to a global enterprise processing $1 trillion worth of financial transactions in the past 12 months, along the way servicing more than 800,000 subscribers across 180 countries. Often he’s asked if he’d like to invest in up-and-coming startups, mentor or sit on boards. Quite frequently, his polite response is, “Sorry, I’m all in on Xero.” It’s his way of exercising focus and energy.
Focus on the fundamentals
Too often, businesses fail because they don’t have enough customers or money — unfortunate realities which usually go hand-in-hand. For that reason, invoice and collect routinely. Do so as soon as practical, preferably before starting or finishing a job.
Don’t operate under the assumption that the bigger the client is, the faster they’ll pay. Quite often it’ll be the opposite. Establishing clear payment terms and even offering early payment discounts where possible is great motivation. If possible, reduce 90-day terms of trade to 60. It’ll help give your cashflow a boost.
The list of fundamentals like these is almost never-ending for startups. The number of businesses that fail to get key contracts in place or fail to engage the services of a bookkeeper or accountant from the beginning is quite surprising. By investing time and energy into both of these areas, you can increase your chances of success exponentially.
Prioritize passion and fun
As a boss, being energized about your company will create a sense of hustle. Display a sense of passion about your product, your customer, and most importantly of all, your people. Create a team that shares this passion and that you can’t help but gush about. Invest in their learning and champion their ability.
Create a fun work environment and make that fun infectious. By energizing your people about the customer, the resulting product and customer experience will become unrivaled in your industry.
They key to startup success boils down to three things: focus, remembering the fundamentals and never forgetting to have fun.
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