Your new business is just getting off the ground. You have fantastic ideas and a strong team, so there’s a great chance of success, right? Not so fast. Even the strongest start-ups need stable grounding behind the scenes.
This week, LinkedIn Influencers weighed in on the oft-overlooked secrets to new business success.
Creel Price, author, entrepreneur and founder of Accelerate Global
Creel knows something about start-ups. By the time he retired in 2007, Creel had launched 10 businesses in 10 years, in industries such as financial services, e-commerce and recruitment.
New firms should be ruthless about cutting unnecessary meetings, marketing materials and even relationships, Creel, based in Sydney, Australia, wrote in his LinkedIn post Prune Your Business Before It’s Too Late.
“There is a common misconception in business (and life) that more is better, when in fact the inverse is usually true,” he wrote. “As an avid gardener I’ve learnt that the secret to encouraging plant growth is to prune rigorously. As a result, valuable resources are naturally reallocated to the areas of the plant you want to develop and thrive.
“In business it is exactly the same — the more you can ruthlessly cut the clutter from your business, the faster your business will grow. Yet it is a lesson that both first time entrepreneurs and seasoned executives often fail to heed,” Creel wrote.
Think about cutting back your offerings, he counselled.
“To win at the game of business the idea is not to have the widest range of products or services … Focus on just a few awesome products or services that can be clearly articulated to a niche target market — don't be afraid to alienate a customer segment.”
Facebook friends are not real business friends
Among his other chestnuts: Facebook friends are not real business friends.
“Start getting real with your prospect and client databases. ‘Likes’ aren’t clients. And be brave by removing excess suppliers and clients who are weighing you down.”
Geoff Yang, Partner at Redpoint Ventures
Once a company is six to seven months along, it is time to focus board meetings on the overall strategic direction of the firm, wrote Yang, a partner at San Francisco venture capital firm Redpoint, in his post CEO Playbook for Early Stage Board Meetings.
Since most start-ups haven’t thought out their board strategy, he offered concrete suggestions.
“For the first year or two, board meetings should be once per month. After this initial phase, they should occur every six weeks, and eventually work towards five-to-six meetings per year,” he wrote.
“I like a minimum of three people and a maximum of five. Two is too few, while three is only getting to critical mass. When the number climbs above five, the meeting loses its effectiveness. Additionally, there should be no more than two from the company present at the meeting; otherwise (it) can turn into a staff meeting (which is a waste of everyone’s time).”
Meetings should never be longer than three hours, he added.
“You might be wondering, how am I really supposed to cover everything I need? How am I supposed to share everything that is happening in the business? Well, you’re not. The board and these meetings should be viewed as a resource for you, the CEO. These meetings will provide valuable insight from outsiders and will help drive the strategic direction of the company, not the day-to-day decisions that must be made.”
Don’t be afraid to launch a new business, even if you are older than the typical risk-taker, wrote Vivek Wadhwa, Fellow at the Arthur & Toni Rembe Rock Center for Corporate Governance at Stanford University in his post No, You Are Not Too Old to Innovate — The Truth About Entrepreneurs.
Sam Shank, chief executive officer and co-founder of HotelTonight wrote about the unique experience of working at a brand-new company in his post 8 Unfiltered Views on Startup Life.