Is my startup on track?

Startups begin in the back of an entrepreneurial mind. Next, they are transferred to the back of a napkin. Then, they’re usually put on the backburner while the founder seeks backing. Finally, one lonely desk is set up in a small back room. A business is born. Or, rather, what will become a viable business is given half a chance to take root (if nurtured partly by the book and partly in response to unforeseen circumstances in a ‘gut-feeling’ sort of way). The point is that business involves risk. Startups are fragile. You never know if the off-the-cuff chat you had in the queue for your morning bagel that was overheard by a potential business partner will be more important than years of single-minded late-night graft on a project that never gets noticed. While we can’t force serendipity, building the plane while we’re in the air is made all the more easy if we are at least told where to plug wing A into fuselage slot B.

Prioritise tasks towards building a ‘core’ 

Prioritising your workload doesn’t mean setting out objectives and blindly sticking to them in the vague claim that you are following a plan. Prioritising means making adjustments in response to what sells and what doesn’t sell (businesses that don’t turn a profit are soon to be ex-businesses – if you need help with staffing, a PEO company could help, see PEO broker). Start small by selling your product and asking for feedback. When a purveyor of a certain well-known fast-food chain first opened its doors, the menu was sprawling. The owners (a pair of brothers who went by the name … you guessed it … McDonald) noticed that over 80% of their revenue came from just three items: hamburgers, fries, and soda. The decision was made to prioritise all efforts towards selling these three items (in a bag to reduce wastage on plates, and at a window to reduce restaurant maintenance costs). Ta-da.

Learn from the burger brothers

Going back to our example of the Golden Arches, it’s perhaps a little-known fact that the business was sold as it was becoming a hit. There was no real reason to sell up. But the brothers simply weren’t the right minds to carry the brand into the future. Instead, the brothers invested in a sort of business partner who directed the franchising of the business. This partner spotted potential to prioritise even further, but the brothers, as it turned out, feared the loss of their famed ‘home-made’ quality and dug their heels in. So, the business was, at length, bought out from under them by their partner. These days, you can be asked if you want fries with that in every corner of the globe. The lesson is that when success comes, be ready to move forwards.  

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