2. Work with your mentor to map out the journey
You have your destination, now you need to map the journey. This is the track your business will run through to get there. There will inevitably be twists and turns, so the planning should be intuitive, allowing flexibility for unexpected changes or new opportunities to be factored in, understood and reacted to effectively.
I would recommend working with your mentor to create a regularly updated business plan, a marketing plan and a product development plan. Depending on the business, you may also wish to plan for market research, fundraising and recruitment.
3. Get advice on team building
You should never underestimate the importance of the people around you. As William Blake wrote, “we become what we behold” – i.e. we inevitably come to reflect the behaviour and attitudes of those around us.
In my experience, collective endeavour is far more valuable than individual brilliance. However, this is only true if you create a team dynamic and culture that good people want to buy in to. Shared responsibility leads to a shared sense of purpose, ensuring your team will drive together towards the end goal. Sharing responsibility also means sharing the wealth created within the business – so never be afraid to bind the team in with equity, share options and bonus schemes.
The business case for diversity is also well-established now: in simple terms, your team’s diversity of background, thought and expertise will give the business a competitive advantage.
4. Have a ‘risk register’.
I would recommend spending some time auditing all potential risks, with a corresponding plan to mitigate each risk. I call this a ‘risk register’, as it allows risk to be understood and your responses planned in advance. By pre-empting risk, you know what to do if the worst happens.
Ask you mentor to help you create one. It’s important.
What would you do if you turned up to the office and it had burnt down? Implement the disaster recovery plan, of course! Without a plan, nobody would know what do. Future acquirers and investors will also want to know about your risk mitigation plans.
5. Learn how to outsource
As you grow you may need to outsource – don’t feel that you have to build every capability within your business. There are a range of new digital tools and services that can make core business functions both cheaper and more efficient. It could be useful to brainstorm with your mentor which of these are nest for your business.
Outsourcing will keep central costs lower and allows you to access expertise without the need to pay for full time staff –this is particularly true for marketing, HR and IT. However, make sure you run due diligence on any new supplier!
Published in UKTN 27. OCT 2018