If your big idea has made it past the tricky formative months, you no doubt want to channel its growth. This means plenty of nights struggling to further develop product-market fit, evaluate and tweak your original value proposition, re-establish sales funnels, and basically map your way to the top. And you can expect partners on this journey. After all, everyone has an opinion.
That, of course, is the problem.
Plenty of well-meaning coaches, mentors, friends, and colleagues who are champions for you personally will, alas, offer lousy business advice. You are just as likely to hear that you should never work too hard as you are to learn that you must give up all hope of a personal life for years. Similarly, you may be told that VC funding is de rigeur by one person, while another will say that you’re looking for trouble if you don’t bootstrap your venture entirely.
Some ideas are obviously ridiculous, such as the notion that you should “never hire an employee.” Yet others may seem somewhat logical at first glance. How, then, do you know which growth strategy recommendations to trust and which to jettison?
To help you sift out good guidance from bad, start by ignoring the following “truths.”
Bad Piece of Advice #1: Never use techniques that cannot be scaled.
If you only adopted policies and protocols that could grow with your company, you might never get off the ground. In the early days of starting a business, feel free to use even the most unorthodox—albeit legal and ethical—means to keep your organization afloat.
For instance, if you are peddling a product, hawk it to everyone you know. Get your friends and family members to talk about it. Be your own biggest fan, and reach out to everyone in your circle of influence. Sure, this tactic is unsustainable in the long run, but it can be the starting point that you need. Besides, what you learn along the way will help you develop scalable processes to use later.
Bad Piece of Advice #2: Scale what you do best first.
No, no, and no. When you scale just one area of your company, you inevitably silo it, causing repercussions down the road. Expect to scale multiple areas at once, even if some are not quite ready for the journey. The road might not be smooth, says Will Koffel, Google Cloud’s head of startup ecosystem for the Americas, but it will work: “Founders must recognize that a successful approach to scaling is always uneven. Many founders don’t identify the right sequence in which to scale various aspects of the business.”
He knows whereof he speaks. While working for a different organization, Koffel and his team built up the product and engineering teams prematurely before also ramping up the sales and account management teams. As a result, customers didn’t know how to leverage the tools that the engineering team was creating. After years of downsizing, the corporation got back on track, but the lesson learned was a tough one. Don’t scale in silos: Ramp up together or not at all.
Bad Piece of Advice #3: If you want something done right, do it yourself.
Wait. What? Yes, some people still eschew delegation. To be sure, some aspects of your startup belong squarely on your plate. At the same time, you can’t continue to bite off more than you can chew. That just leads to entrepreneurial indigestion — not to mention the heartburn of failed growth.
You will always be the key to putting your young company on an upward trajectory, so expect to throw yourself into it. Yet be willing to either bring others into the fold or learn to say no to opportunities you cannot manage. About two out of three fast-growing startups fail because they cannot sustain the breakneck pace their founders set. Putting the brakes on rather than going full throttle is a sign of maturity, not of complacency. If you don’t have the manpower to grow at top speed, be brave enough to admit it. Otherwise, you could thwart your scaling dreams.
Should you stop listening to what others say about fueling your startup? Absolutely not. Just make sure you weigh your options and consider multiple perspectives before setting off on your growth course. And don’t forget to listen to your instincts.
Read More: Forbes