Principle 12: Drive a Lean Machine
What should I focus on for the first 12 months?
Why is this principle important?
The main reason startups fail is that they run out of money. In the first stages of your entrepreneurial journey you want to stay as small as you can whilst you find the way that works. You are not a mini-version of a big business, you are a startup – and that is a completely different beast. Don’t get distracted by all the noise – make something people want and find sustainable ways of getting them to pay for it.
What should you focus on at this stage?
- Get clear on the growth trajectory that will give your business the best chance of success.
- Address the main legal and administrative tasks needed for the first 1-2 years of a startup.
- Learn about useful tools and services that will save you time and money as you build
- Understand the key components to early-stage recruitment and building a team culture.
Take care of the important basics
Protect yourself legally
Early on only three things matter – who owns what, what happens if one of the founders leaves, and that any assets (brand, logo etc..) are owned by you. Everything else is a distraction until you get traction.
Minimise the burden of admin
Use the warehouse of great tools available to reduce admin so you can focus on the product and yours customers.
Move from a project to a business
Map your next key milestones
What does success look like in 3, 6, 12 months and 3 years? Think in three horizons – short, medium and long-term. You can control your next steps and your vision, you can’t control much inbetween.
Make excellent early hires
The people that work with you will be the reason you hit your milestones or don’t.
Focus on momentum above all else
You can feel it as well as see it. When it’s there everything seems possible and things can move fast. Search for it and hold on to it as long as you can!
Join The Tribe Forum for Q&A on the Startup Management principle.
- Where do I find a co-founder?
- What is the deal with interns?
- What are the best ways to outsource elements of your business?
Have a question that hasn’t been answered yet?
Jump into the forum and ask away (just click “New Topic” in the top-right of the screen. Write your question as the Topic title, with your context / explanation as the Description).
Tools & Resources
- Upwork: Find freelancers to tackle any job, any size, any time
- Growth Geeks: find a geek to help grow your startup
- People Per Hour: Everything your web project needs
- Task Rabbit: Practical help offline