Year One: Living Out Your Crowdfund Investment Business Plan
Okay, so the excitement of hitting your crowdfunding target has subsided a bit, the cash is in the bank, and you’ve reached out to your crowd to thank them for believing in you. What comes next?
First, take a deep breath and remind yourself that you’ve already proven you can do a great job. (If you were a lousy manager or communicator, or if you had a weak vision, the crowd wouldn’t have funded you.)
Next, learn the most important word in your vocabulary from now on: E X E C U T I O N.
Do not go out and kill someone. Instead, execute your plan. Thomas Edison once said, “Vision without execution is hallucination.” You’ve already got a great vision, and you don’t want your business to be a hallucination, so you need to follow through.
Here are five steps to help you execute:
Think micro. When you were sharing your vision with the crowd, you were thinking macro — explaining the big picture of what you want to accomplish. Now it’s time to think micro — to shift your attention to the details. You don’t want to get bogged down in micromanagement, but you must think about what you need to accomplish and break each big step into smaller tasks.
Build your team. When you have a sense of the tasks at hand, find people who can help you complete them. If you’ve budgeted to hire staff members, now’s the time to run a search. If you don’t have the budget to pay people, locate supporters who are willing to volunteer.
Whichever situation applies to you, pick the best possible team and don’t compromise. Get comfortable asking people for help and delegating responsibilities. A great leader knows how to delegate. Just don’t make everyone else do all your work!
Be flexible. Starting a business is never a smooth endeavor. No matter how diligently you try to prepare for what’s next, “more important things” will invariably pop up that demand your attention. Be prepared for this situation by charting a clear course but being flexible enough to change it and recalibrate if need be.
And if you do change course, be sure to let the people on the ship (your investors) know what you’re doing. If they think you’re heading in one direction (the equivalent of sunny Hawaii), and you arrive somewhere else (that may look like freezing cold Alaska to them), they won’t be happy unless you’ve prepared them for the change.
Always strive to do your best. Don’t overpromise and underdeliver; you’ll only set yourself up for failure. Instead, be honest with yourself about your capabilities, and strive to exceed your investors’ expectations.
Think before you act. Deliberate action and speech are crucial because you don’t want to make rash decisions, put your foot in your mouth, or behave in any other way that rattles your investors. Try to be a steady force at the helm of your endeavor.