5 Key Factors to Improve your Business Startup Performance

Efficiency, the ability to accomplish a job with a minimum expenditure of time and effort, is one of the most important ingredients to business success. Startup companies must be ruthless in this pursuit.

There are far more things working against you than for you, time, competition, etc. Here are 5 simple steps to improve your business startup performance.

5 key factors to improving efficiency

  1. Have a Clear Focus.
    The surest way to waste resources is to become distracted by non-essential issues. Clearly define your purpose and stay on task. Constantly ask yourself if what you are doing is essential to your core business. If it is not, you should likely stop doing it.
  1. Find the Right People.
    The best way to operate is to have the right people running things. A founder’s time is limited. Every hour spent supervising employees or correcting mistakes is time not spent on creating your company. What is the opportunity cost of your time?

Create a team you can trust and give them the latitude they need to function efficiently. Adopt a simple philosophy: “Everyone is where they need to be and doing what they need to do unless they prove otherwise.” In order to do this, people need to know how their work fits into the big picture and under what parameters they operate.

  1. Identify the Process.
    While you must remain flexible, not everyone can “wing it.” In order to maintain your flexibility, you must impose some structure on the operation. If not, you will spend your time overseeing what others are doing rather than building your company.
  1. Identify Outcomes and Key Metrics.
    It is very hard to get to the right place if you don’t know where you are going. Be sure you clearly define the outcomes you want so your people have a specific target. When people know what to do, they can be incredibly productive.

Be sure to develop metrics to measure progress toward your goals. Focus on the factors that delineate success or failure. This may be one of your most difficult tasks. While there are many operations that are difficult to quantify, improvement ultimately requires you to measure yourself against some baseline over time.

However, don’t get mesmerized by data. For the most part, success is subjective so you don’t always have to have “hard numbers” to be able to measure progress.

  1. Identify Key Milestones.
    Life in a startup is inherently complex. It may be difficult to establish a firm schedule. However, time is also your worst enemy. You are burning cash. Your competition is working diligently to beat you. Like metrics, milestones should be paramount in driving your company.

There is always inertia that pushes back against progress. A deliberate plan to create and improve business startup performance in operations is a key step in creating a fundable company.

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Dave Clark

Dave Clark taught Strategy at West Point and is a co-founder of FundingSage, which provides valuable information, tools and resources to entrepreneurs seeking to start, grow and fund a business.