This is an obvious one, but a point too many startups forget or ignore in early stages.
The purpose of a for profit business is to generate revenue, period. Avoiding this fact and/or not planning on it, focusing on it In most cases, the goal is to increase revenues continuously over time, i.e. scalability. It’s even more desirable to never have a dip in revenues, but this rarely happens.
There are tons of articles about many things about the startup world these days. Equity discussions, how to pitch, what’s hot, success and failure stories, etc. But very few articles about how to begin, grow and sustain revenues, what that process looks like or what to do when they stall.
There are also almost as many startups as the number of people I meet these days. Everyone has their own startup, which is usually little more than a reserved url, a $10 commitment and an idea. But can they produce revenues, increasing revenues over time profitable revenues? Can they create jobs? Stay in business for 10 years?
Google just announced their most recent quarter numbers: 26% increase in revenue year to year to $9.7 Billion. Now that’s a revenue focused company, pretty incredible for a 13 year old company to be growing that fast in a bad economy. Google’s original business plan didn’t even include their current main source of revenue – advertising. But they adapted quickly and haven’t looked back yet. Their admirable amount of revenue allows them to do so many powerful things their competitors can’t as well as contribute enormously to philanthropic causes. Not every startup will be a Google of course, but if you figure out how to continuously scale revenue or even maintain zero growth revenue, you can provide viable employment, profitability, benefits and even give back to society a bit.
So how do you do it? There are several components that must work together like a system that incorporate your products, your values, your people, outside advisors, investors and more. Having a great idea of course is key, but that alone won’t sustain you. This is where many startups trick themselves. “We have an amazing idea, so we will succeed. You must monetize properly, plan for hiccups, see the future. Most of all, Revenue has to be nurtured and protected priority #1.
I’m happy to discuss this more, just send me a DM at @tomnora or post on this blog.