Accidental Entrepreneur Part 2

by - February 16, 2018

I thought it maybe worth summarising what I have learned in the last year not only building a company of my own Sales for Startups but also other technology businesses too.

From the last year, I have learned a lot from creating my own company and building out a team to support our clients and me as the Founder and CEO.

A couple of key observations from the last year:

  • Measure bi-weekly and monthly improvement rather than hit or miss yearly goals.
  • Get a bookkeeper early on and setup a workflow and set bookkeeping expectations for your new team member.
  • Really understand business finances, cashflow and the core fundamentals of business bookkeeping and accounting.
  • Reviewing the ROI on your expenses at least quarterly, especially in software, consultancy fees, personal development and client entertainment.
  • Some partners just want your clients rather than to truly partner with you – immediate commercial gain takes over for many business owners.
  • Really understanding your customer’s needs, wants, problems/issues, causes and big why.
  • Build an inbound marketing engine as early as physically possible, you will improve it as you go along.
  • Have themed focused days of the week on ‘Sales’, ‘Marketing’ or ‘Partnerships’ for example.
  • Employing a Virtual Assistant to take care of all the ancillary and necessary business and client admin.
  • Focus on delivering on 2-week projects and the associated tasks – we call these 2-week sprints at Sales for Startups.
  • Spend time really understanding a new field or function, for example if you are not a marketer, really understand a marketing framework/methodology and apply it.
  • True and valuable partnerships take at least 10x the effort, time and resources you think it will.
  • Having weekly and rotating improvement meetings on Sales, Product, Marketing and Partnerships in the startup phase is seriously important = making progress.

Once you reach the year mark and you’ve won multiple clients, learned a lot, built a team, have some partners or associates – now you must employ a mentor.

You want a mentor who has already succeeded in the type of business that you are growing. It does not have to be in the exact market niche or area that you are focused on currently. For example, if you are running a SaaS business, you want a mentor who has built and potentially sold a SaaS business before. If you are Management Consulting business, you want a mentor who has built and sold a consulting firm.

This mentor will be able to take you from where you are today and shortcut your development time in getting to the next point both professionally and personally.

Building a business is not only an intellectual challenge but also a mental and emotional one. You have to change your mindset from one of certainty, to uncertainty, from being a master of a specific trade to wearing many hats and ultimately thousands of people campaigning for your attention.

Even if you have low points, you will have the possibility to quickly bounce back if you are measuring improvement and performance on a regular basis. Not just, how much revenue did we make this month? And thinking it’s only a 20% increase month-on-month and we wanted 50%! I know I’ve said this many times before!

This is much easier to do if you are aiming to complete projects in 2-weeks rather than just focusing on a quarterly or yearly revenue target. You will always have a quarterly goal that remains fixed, until you achieve it but the projects underneath may change each 2-weeks.

I look forward to sharing more of our learns both as a company and with our Tech CEOs and the highlights of the journey, as we progress from a 1-man band a year ago to now a team of 5 and rising…

Further Reading

James Ker-Reid
February 11, 2022

How to identify your target market

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Patrick Thorp
October 22, 2020

3 different types of sales organisations (and their pros and cons)

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Funding journey
James Ker-Reid
November 30, 2021

The impact of niching when going for startup investment

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