In the early days of Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg had one sole focus – growth. When business partners and employees would suggest ways that the platform could be monetized, he would have a simple reply “How does this affect growth?”.
The fact is that in the startup world it is often scale or die. Companies that are unable to expand quickly will lose their market to competitors which are able to expand more rapidly. Learning how to produce and manage hyper-growth is an essential skill set for any startup founder. Here’s what creating a Startup at 90 MPH looks like:
Focus On Financing
Having available cash isn’t enough for a fast growing startup. You need to predict your future needs for financing so that you are well prepared to meet your needs. Even a temporary lack of financing can temporarily halt development and expansion. This can be enough to give your competitors an edge they will exploit.
Build Solid Management
As a startup founder you may have the ability to manage small teams of people. But what happens when you suddenly add an additional 200 employees in the space of several months? Keeping all of those new hires on task and on mission require management talent. Make sure that you are ensuring adequate management to run your fast growing company
Speed Up Product Development
Product development used to exist in cycles of several years. For a super fast growing start-up that is simply to long. Accelerating your development process is essential to ensure that you are keeping up with the market. Note the rise of Zynga, which launched in 2007 and within 3 years was worth half a billion dollars and then peaked. The ability to quickly develop in -built virality was its success formula. If it had spent longer in development it would have missed it’s relatively small window to cash in.
Get A Loyal User Base Fast
You need to develop a core croup of loyal customers who will support your product. These loyal users will support your product as you are iterating and developing from it’s core functionality. Make sure that when you are experiencing hyper growth you don’t neglect this core group of users.
Find A Mentor
Getting an outside, experienced opinion is important for any business. But when you are growing at 90 mph, you definitely need the advice from someone who has already been down the same path as you. They will be able to provide you with advice on matters such as whether your organizational structure is enabling or limiting your growth. These are things which can be very difficult to see from your own perspective.
The need for hyper-growth is the new reality for companies that want to scale and dominate globally. Whether it’s online financial transactions with Paypal or house sharing with Air BnB, being the second best start-up in your market, frequently means being left far behind. It’s the 80 / 20 rule on steroids, with the company’s that are able to manage hyper growth being the clear winners.