Starting and growing a business has many similarities to driving. To reach your destination safe and in time it is all about having the right vehicle, knowing how to handle it, adapting to road conditions and of course the right fuel. While the right fuel is the obvious part the right vehicle for your plans is crucial as is the organization for the entrepreneur. This goes hand in hand with the experience of the driver or entrepreneur in our example.
To learn driving it is sufficient to have an old small car because once you have grasped the basics your focus needs to be on the street. You will pay extreme attention and learn as much as possible. Think of the first projects, events or mini-businesses you have managed – you will probably remember reactions from friends, teachers and family. As you become more experienced you have increased the speed of projects.
Start-up teams have this same passion and spirit as your friends had on your first trip to Italy on your own in an old Fiat Panda – you just forget how your back hurts because you are all excited about the destination. With an increasing distance and number of trips you will make sure to have a more comfortable and safer vehicle available to keep everyone happy. In your company you will need to professionalize processes and hire more people the longer you grow.
Fuel is the obvious factor; however, there are many aspects that you can optimize. Think of fuel efficiency and a limited number of gas stations along the way. In your financing strategy it may make sense to skip one expensive financing round while at other times you would want to take up capital now without urgency to do so to have a safety buffer for some additional distance.
At some point, after painful crises and successful growth, you will enjoy going fast by adding ever more customers and employees. However, just like on the road you will need to know in advance or see it early enough where a dangerous turn will come up. It is advisable to reduce your speed ahead of it. The skill and more importantly the attention of the driver will strongly define the well-being of the passengers.
The faster you want to go the more important it is to have the right information systems in place. Right doesn´t mean more indicators but the meaningful ones! Imagine going in an exclusive car with all kinds of in-vehicle information systems and an unclear message from the on-board computer forces you to stop at the road side. As an entrepreneur you need to understand your industry and company specific key performance indicators (KPIs) and define the meaningful ones for you. You will want to review regularly whether you have the right personal skills, organization and KPIs as your company grows.
Not only as a beginner but also as an experienced driver a driver safety training can help you improve your skills – and from my own experience it is great fun, too. Round2Lab with its R2L Program offers a safety training for entrepreneurs! You can check your skills, try out some new maneuvers and to make it really effective we require you to bring your own car, i.e. we will deal with the real world challenges you face in your company.
At every level of experience and at every point in the journey you need to be sure that your co-drivers and passengers want to go to the same destination and that you would trust them to take over the driver´s seat if need be. Agreeing on the same destination, the best route to take and where to take a break is crucial to keep everyone happy. In your company you need to agree on the mission, your strategy and define milestones you can celebrate. We at Round2 Labs provide you with a platform to exchange experiences, learn from others and get tools that help you along the way.
Some destinations are very far away – you better make sure you bring some good music and enjoy the ride!