Launching a business is a feat unto itself. It takes time, focus, and every resource you can get your hands on to get a product or idea into the marketplace. But the hard work isn’t over. In fact, the hard work is really just getting started. That’s probably why most small businesses fail within their first three years.
It’s one (incredible) thing to launch a business, but it’s another thing entirely to sustain that business for five, 10, or 20 years.
Here’s what you need to sustain, scale, and grow:
Scott Harrison of charity:water, a nonprofit that’s been in business for more than 12 years, said on The Launch Youniversity Podcast that writing out your values is something that can happen as early as day one. Your values will be your guide on how to hire, fire, and map out your business.
Read more: How to Find Your Values
Get crystal clear about the culture you’re trying to create. What kinds of people do you need on your team? What environment do you want to work in? What will Monday mornings feel like?
Plan to Pivot
Not unlike Friends’ Ross Geller trying to get a sofa up winding stairs, your business model will have to evolve if you want to survive. What works today isn’t necessarily what will work years from now. Don’t believe us? Ask Blockbuster or Kodak.
Track the Right Metrics
If you’re not a business data guru, analytics can be overwhelming. Since business owners often don’t know where to start, they track the metrics they can easily see, like social media likes and follows. There’s nothing wrong with Facebook or Instagram metrics, but is that where you’re seeing your highest customer conversion? Here’s how to find the most important metric for your business.
Replicate What You Admire
Business owners put a lot of pressure on themselves to do something that’s never been done before. Innovation is important for sustainability, but it’s okay to notice what’s working well for other companies around you. And we don’t mean just your direct competitors in your own town — look at the big businesses you admire and see what they’re doing to evolve. If you’re a nonprofit, instead of asking people to donate each month… you could roll out a Netflix-like subscription service.
If your business is in it for the long haul, expect challenges and changes. But with the right culture, values, and evolving business plans, you’ll be set up to throw your 10th-anniversary party in no time.