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Guest Writer
February 12, 2016

Startup Basics 101 with Yatan Blumenthal | Growth

The word is out! You might have heard it; in March starts a brand new accelerator at ours! Who, what, where? EY start-­up challenge,​ in collaboration with b​etahausX.​ Great reason to ask our Chief Accelerator Yatan Blumenthal to write a series of blogs, and share some basic startup insights.

Phase #3: Growth

You have now overcome rejection, and your business idea and product have changed significantly. You’ve gone through many iterations and you’ve logged your learnings. You have revenue and proudly read the black numbers on your P&L sheet.

 

Pick your (Un)management Systems

When you have a small team, communications aren’t very complex, but you never know how fast your team will expand. This is why it’s important to think about the way you organize yourself from the very start. There is a wealth of management systems which work well, you just have to find your flavor. A developer team’s favorites are Agile and Kanban boards. Another one up and coming is Holacracy, employed by Zappos. It’s focused on distributed authority and Objectives- Key Results (OKR) system. Each system has its’ pros and cons; pick one, execute it, and you and your team will naturally find what suits you best. You’ll thank yourselves for taking the time to do so.

 

"There is a wealth of management systems which work well, you just have to find your flavor"

 

Culture eats strategy for breakfast

Take a  deep look into your company’s culture. What habits do you have as a founder that you are implicitly or explicitly ‘transfering’ to your employees? It’s of paramount importance that your team has a set of collective habits that you stick to, and that you constantly improve. If you don’t have habits, you’ll lose the overview once your company grows bigger.

Also think about what defines your company. Spirit of innovation, focus on fun, ability to fail and learn quickly? Whatever it is, make sure it’s reflected in your daily, weekly and monthly habits as a team. Recently I came across something called a “stinky fish” session. Stinky fish in this case means; what do you have in your pants’ pocket, that will start to stink if you keep it for too long? Having these sorts of sessions make a big difference for your team.

 

"what do you have in your pants’ pocket, that will start to stink if you keep it for too long?"

 

Keep a blog & tell the world what you know, experience, and learn

You are growing, so people want to know more about you. If you haven’t already done so, consider opening a blog or ‘online magazine’. Writing about things you learn or things you have knowledge about can teach your customers, business partners, and professional network something new. If you do, it can make a big difference in how they perceive you. It can also serve as a great tool for content marketing. Take a look at the buffer blog, which people read just because it describes first hand experiences regarding remote working, culture, project management tools, and more. The onemonth blog goes deep into methods for productivity. Go all in! Keeping a blog will also train you in communicating more concise and clearly.

 

"You are growing, so people want to know more about you"

 

Take the revenue path that most fits your strategy

Last but not least, consider your growth needs. Do you have one core tech that you need to develop, or will you need to attack the market aggressively to make sure you stay ahead? What are your needs and costs in terms of Research & Development? Remember the principles of testing and iterating from phase 2. They’ll save you big amounts of cash and time. To all questions such as the aforementioned, you should have clear answers. Only then can you make an informed decision about whether it’s best for you to finance your own growth, go into debt, or get VC funding. If you pick a VC as your source of financing, make sure they have “smart money” and can add more value than just zeros to your bank account.

Rather than taking advice from consultants or people ‘outside’, try to answer questions yourself, together with your team and your customers. Your company is unique, and while you can learn from others, the answers to your questions will always be at least a little bit different, than they are or were for everybody else.

 

"try to answer questions yourself, together with your team and your customers"

 

Wanna learn more and get all right from the start? Applications for the ​EY start­-up challenge are open until February 14th. Worried about travel expenses because you’re not in Berlin? Travel expenses up to €7.5 K are covered!

Why stop here? Find some more interesting articles here!

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