From the time of your initial idea, you will have been thinking of all the very many steps necessary of turning your vision into reality. One of the first steps when starting up is to consider how you will build your market, and as you scale this will remain at the forefront of all that you need to do.
Startup to Scaleup
Welcome to a new series of articles for Startups Magazine. Over the next few months I would like to invite you to accompany me on a journey; a journey that many readers will already have started and many others will be contemplating. For those that have already started the journey then I hope that they will still find some of my words useful, and for those yet to start then I trust that this series will make navigation so much easier.
Have you ever thought of setting up your own business? Have you already done so? What made you want to do this? In truth, the answers are very different for each of us but, looking at government statistics and Companies House records, more and more people are choosing this route; especially since the turmoil in the last few years caused by the pandemic.
For anyone starting a business there is that delicious and intoxicating mixture of excitement tinged with fear. Both these are driven by stepping into the unknown and doing something new. Doing anything new or different will always present new challenges, and the further outside of your personal experience or comfort zone any new enterprise is, then potentially the larger those challenges will be.
This article could have been entitled ‘data and financials’ but so many of you would not have got even this far. But the truth is that data and your financials are not just numbers, as without a clear understanding of both of these then nothing else stands much of a chance. Data needs to be properly collected and analysed, and any assumptions and financial forecasts are then driven from this data.
The majority of businesses that are looking to scale in any meaningful way will look to raise funding at some point. As well as the other steps already discussed in this series and in my new book, there are two very specific actions that need to be undertaken; valuing your business and embarking on a fundraising campaign.
When it comes to considering how best to raise pre-seed or seed finance for your business, one of the most commonly asked questions is whether getting investment from business angels or crowdfunding would be better. It could be argued that business angels are just much wealthier versions of people that invest on crowdfunding platforms. As such, in reality it is more a case of a small number of angels can replace a much larger crowd.
Starting and scaling a business requires founders to undertake many different roles; many of which they will do themselves initially but other tasks they will inevitably require some assistance with. But whatever the business, any founder looking to scale must ensure that they tell a good story, and they tell it well. But what does this actually mean?
Starting a business is not always easy. But scaling a business, any business, often brings many more challenges than actually starting one. A typical small business is quite simple, bat as that business grows it becomes more complex and has more moving parts which become ever more complicated to coordinate.
It is true that many people do not like change and shy away from it. But it is equally true that periods of change bring much more opportunity for innovation and for businesses to adapt and pivot and supply products and services to fulfil needs that have opened up or changed in some way. In times of rapid change as we have seen over the last few years then the opportunities are both bigger and more abundant.