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Last updated: 25/3/2023
First 90 days at your startup
Your 90-day company building sprint.
The goal of your first 90 days should be;
- Set goals (quarterly and annual)
- Build out a roadmap (product, funnel, funding, ops)
- Make your first sale
- Get great at selling (run experiments, identify traffic generating channels, monitor activations/conversions, scale)
- Make profit
Learn from the above!
- Then determine the “product-market-pricing” fit
- Reset goals + set expectations (messaging, branding, product features and updates)
- Understand your business
- Scale customer acquisition
- Hire/manage team
- Reward (yourself and team(ESOP))
Day 0: You have a validated idea and an MVP with laid out foundations to build a product and start a company.
You have a big idea. You may have an invention or a prototype. There may be a few people (founding team or FFF). You may even have some funding (either Angel/VC or FFF) or a place in an accelerator program.
Day 1. You have decided to start a company. What's next?
Now it is time to start building momentum and transform the loose collection of elements into a company.
When you start a company, not everything will be relevant to you. But it may be a helpful list to stop procrastinating and start building your company as well as your product.
Go and say hello to your customers and develop a customer success playbook
- Develop a customer discovery interview format. How do you get the value of the discovery quickly and consistently? You can also automate this with product analytics, feedback, and NPS score but meeting customers in the OG style is the best!
- Interview at least 50 customers and pitch. Listen to them carefully, learn how are they using your product, did they have any use cases you never thought of (happens in real). You can use this learning to tweak your marketing messaging.
- Create a pitch deck for customers. It should different to an investor deck and educate your customers on guiding, use cases, ICYMI’s, your roadmap, change log, wall of love etc.
- Build a network map of the people that matter around your company. Who can champion? Who can kill? These can be influencers, SME’s or advisory board members.
Establish digital systems today to start collecting the memory of the company
- Build playbooks, policies, onboarding guides, knowledge base etc
- “xxx Relationship Management” (customers, potential employees, investors, advisors etc)
- Put a lot of focus on productivity and automation. 99.99% of startups are under-resourced when you first go to market. Make sure back end operations are taken care of by bots or VA’s
Build V1.0 company constitution. This should be simple at first.
Note: This is more like a company playbook that iterates over time
- How do we pitch?
- What do we stand for?
- Vision, mission, values?
- What is our culture?
- How do we sell?
- How you are different?
- “xxx led growth” plan? (marketing, product or community)
Turn the big idea into a strategy hypothesis
- How long is your runway?
- What are your annual run rate and cash burn rate?
- Build and iterate on your path to scale. Every piece of information MUST be recorded and they can provide exceptional learning later
- Redo your Value Proposition Canvas with an existing business perspective
- Redo your Business Model Canvas from a growth strategy perspective
- Develop OKR’s Objectives and Key Results) for the first 3, 6, 9 and 12 months
Build your story - get on top of the “Art of Storytelling”
Run Messaging workshop to know what words you use (inspirational, empathetical, conversational, actionable etc)
- Establish a visual brand that is professional and be OK with the idea that you might change it one day. Simply consistency in everything that goes out as comms.
- Get a Twitter account, share your knowledge
- Be active on your LinkedIn, show up there every time! Talk about your wins, learnings, “how-to’s”, what worked for you, any tools you recommend, shout outs to team members or external organisations to collaborate with and much more
- Media launch - NOT easy but worth trying to get a placement in the most relevant publication
Start building thought leadership around your category
- Build a Twitter list of the people that matter around your company and check into it regularly. Join the discussion
The whole idea is to build a personal brand. You get it!
[Optional] Establish an ESOP plan
- Great way to attract and retain talent
- Shows your commitment to the growth of your team members
Bring your innovation to life
- How quickly can you show something? and what is it?
- R&D Tax incentive. It’s a boon!
- Patent, IP, Trademarking and other “valuation bumping” stuff
- Prioritisation of proof. What do you need to show for people to believe you? Feedback? testimonials? referrals? partnerships? global distribution rights?
Build your investor/funding network
- Create a pitch deck for current (if any) and potential investors
- Present to other founders for feedback (raw the better)
- Review of government grants available for your startup. Make a big list and apply as they are a great source of alternative funding
Before applying or accepting to any accelerator or incubator program, make sure how much you really need them. If you are doing it for money, okay. For, PR, it’s easy. For connections, understandable. To get customers and growth, NO. Better drop your idea/business here if it’s not pursuing!
Love to hear your feedback on this. Please let us know via the chat or email “firstname.lastname@example.org”