Of course, at this stage in your business, the options are going to look a little different. As opposed to trying to survive, you’ll be in a position to take your business to the next level. But there seem to be an infinite number of choices open to you. Will you start fundraising? Maybe look into forming a partnership? Or should you look into kickstarting a new initiative?
It’s the same problem you faced at the start of your journey, and it turns out the answer is the same too: Pick a goal, then focus on reaching it.
When picking that goal, I still recommend keeping a 50/50 balance between addressing bottlenecks and strategic implementation.
How Reply is planning for the future
So, that’s fine as what does this look like in practice?
At Reply, we have two goals we’re focusing on.The first is to increase revenue and scale our business.
Rather than settling for organic growth, we’re now actively exploring ways to grow exponentially.
When setting any goal, using the S.M.A.R.T. methodology (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Time-bound) helps ensure it’s effective, and that’s what we’ve done: To increase our revenue by 500% over the next three years.
It’s certainly not an easy goal; we have competitors with more experience, who’ve started out earlier, and who’ve had the benefits of more funding.
But it is an achievable goal. I believe that the market is there and if Reply can scale efficiently, we’ll make it, creating explosive growth early on and gaining traction.
We’ve set specific revenue milestones over the course of the three years, as a way to measure our progress.
It’s important to remember when setting this kind of goal that the actions required to hit the first milestone are unlikely to be the same ones that get you to the next one.
For example, it takes entirely different tasks to make your first $1,000,000 revenue than to make it to $10,000,000.
It’s not going to be a case of repeating the same steps ad infinitum. It’s going to take some planning.
In our case, we’ve made sure that we have a solid management team in place.
My co-founder at Reply, Lee Gladish, has previously helped companies achieve similar goals, and has been invaluable in sharing his experience and expertise.
As someone who’s already been there, his vision is helping us make our goal a reality.
It’s also important to realize that complications will arise. We’ve acknowledged that at some point, we’ll hit a plateau.
Even with the best plan in place, any business can be affected by circumstances beyond their control.
For example, it’s very likely that at some point in the next few years we’ll hit another recession.
In fact, if you look at the conditions that led to the previous recession, we’re facing a similar situation today, and I believe we’re now overdue.
Although this is obviously outside of our control, that doesn’t mean we can’t prepare for it.
We’ve anticipated worst case scenarios, where we may lose as much as 30% of our customers, and planned how we would react.
The best companies don’t just survive a recession, they reposition and grow. That’s what we intend to do.
A big part of that will be focusing on demonstrating the value Reply provides. While in a recession, we may be hesitant to spend money on software, but we’ll dig deep into our pockets to pay for something that will make us more money.
It’s no good sticking your head in the sand. You’ve got to plan and prepare so you can thrive while your competition suffers.
Finding your business’s mission
Our second goal revolves around our ‘why,’ about what we’re able to give to the world.
Despite our aims to increase revenue, that’s not what our mission as a company is all about. Personally, I don’t need much money; I don’t need to be able to buy all the latest toys.
For me, that’s not what business is about; it’s not my ambition. My priority is to stay humble as the company grows.
When I was working as a programmer, I was earning enough, but I used that money to invest in creating something, into building a business.
I never felt the need to compete with the kind of people who kept score by their bank balance, or by having the fancy toys.
One of my role models is Elon Musk, a man who’s changing the world as we know it. When he made $180 million from PayPal, he put the money into SpaceX, Tesla and Solar City. He still had to borrow money for rent.
That level of dedication to growing his businesses is remarkable, and an inspiration to me.
While I’m not quite at that level yet, I follow the same principles. In my last venture, I came out of it with $30,000.
I could’ve spent it on anything, maybe bought myself a nice car. But that wasn’t my goal.
Instead, I reinvested the money into my new business.
When you’ve established yourself as a business, ask yourself why you’re here.
What’s your purpose?
If it’s to make a whole bunch of cash, that’s fine.
But likely there’s another reason that’s driving you. Identify it, and use your position to make that a reality.
It’s true; as a CEO, you will face obstacles. In fact, it comes full circle.
The challenge you face at the start of your journey, of knowing where to focus your efforts, will still be a challenge when your company is fully established.
You may face frustrations today, but the future is bright.
By taking consistent action, communicating with your team, and putting aside enough time to deal with bottlenecks and implement strategies for the future of your company, you can succeed.
Check out how Reply’s email automation software can help you with your business strategy, and sign up for a free trial today.