If you've launched a business recently, you've probably been putting your heart and soul into it, doing the work of many, spending long hours and sleepless nights focused solely on survival. But to accomplish a business evolution, you need to move beyond startup mentality and into successful business mode.
Consider this advice from successful business owners who have accomplished the evolution of business strategies necessary to move beyond startup mode.
Focus on Profit, Not Revenue
Many business owners make the rookie mistake of flash over substance. While a wildly enjoyable launch party or a fancy social media campaign can be exciting, unless your business is making a profit, they are not ultimately necessary to your business's success.
Mark Webster, co-founder of Authority Hacker, an industry-leading online marketing education company, says he sees a lot of new business owners putting too much of an emphasis on revenue.
"Sure, it's great that you've hit a million subscribers or you've just completed a multi-million dollar product launch," Webster says, "but how much of that hits your personal bank account at the end of each month?"
According to Webster, course-correcting this issue is not difficult when you're in a period of growth. "The best thing to do is break down your business costs into different categories and make sure you're not overspending on things that don't move the needle," he says.
For Brandon Monaghan, co-founder of Miracle Brand, a direct to consumer bath and bedding company, having an experienced business partner helped encourage him to focus on profit.
Monaghan says, "I see far too many companies in the e-commerce space, raising money without actionable steps to profitability."
Monaghan and his partner put in long hours instead of getting distracted and focused on conversions over fancy design and branding.
Outsource and Delegate
After spending so much of your own time getting your business off the ground, evolving from startup mode will require you to give up some of the control.
Gilad Rom, Founder of Huan, a company that manufactures smart tags for pet safety, recommends eliminating all labor-intensive processes.
"Some processes like payroll, billing, training, and onboarding can be automated. Other processes like graphic designers, developers and SEOs can be outsourced," Rom says. "When you are lean and focusing only on your core competencies, you will start to scale."
Delegating will also mean letting go of some control, which can feel scary at first, since you may be used to relying only on yourself and a core group of trusted individuals.
Trond Nyland, founder and CEO of Mattress Review, an online resource for sleep-related products, cautions against trying to remain in startup mode since it may kill your business in the long run due to burnout.
"What you want to do is start delegating as quickly as possible so you can focus on what's important and avoid getting stretched too thin," Nyland says. "If your most valuable skill is selling, you should delegate everything that distracts you from selling to other people. Focus on your 'money skills' and let the others do everything else."
Be Flexible and Open to Adaptation
Growing beyond the initial startup phase means having some flexibility. You may find yourself having to shift your initial business plan a bit, no matter what you had originally intended.
When Nyland first started Mattress Review, for example, he had no interest in researching and reviewing any product other than mattresses, but he soon found his customers wanted more.
He says, "When I found out that readers also want information about pillows, sheets, etc, I had to pivot—even though I had no interest in these product categories."
Adapting to a constantly shifting business landscape is essential to your business's survival. Rom suggests that the key to successful adaptation is having a learning mindset.
"Learn about your business, including operations, customer experience, and product development. Learn about your industry, including technological developments, customer preferences, and market trends," Rom says. "By being adaptable, you can stay ahead of your competition and continue to grow."
Moving beyond startup mode will have its growing pains for sure, but ultimately your startup evolution means you have laid the groundwork for a successful business.