Fast money doesn’t always mean long-term money. So sidestep those temptations.
Every company needs money to remain alive, aside from grow. This is also true in the tech world, where even slow growth is equated with slow death. But sometimes, acquiring an excessive amount of investment too soon may be the very thing that triggers a business to remove the open sign instead of set up the moved to larger facilities sign.
Forget Unicorns. WE ARE IN NEED OF More ‘Zebra’ Startups.
Indeed, I’ve seen a slew of startups recently wear a badge of honor carrying out a huge investment round. They’ve boasted about post-money valuations, but the bad news: They’ve disappointed their investors with a down round because of poor execution, market volatility or something or market fit miss.
So, the lesson here’s that reaching unicorn status, that elusive billion-dollar value, could be desirable for most entrepreneurs, however the mentality to attain it– "raise money and raise it fast” — can ultimately result in downfall. A recently available study by the National Bureau of Economic Research evaluated 135 startups valued at $1 billion or even more and concluded that typically, these “unicorns” were roughly 50 percent overvalued.
In order to avoid the flop that lots of unicorns and unicorn-chasers experience in the search for success, your investment "unicorn" talk and instead challenge your business with a larger goal to become a monster truck. " Monster truck" is how I define a company with a $500 million value that grows revenues 50 percent year-over-year.
Creating a monster truck isn’t about how exactly much money you raise or the road you take to make it happen. It’s about being in it for the long term, and about remaining disciplined and capital-efficient. It’s about creating a real business with real customers, to create the thing that matters ultimately: value for all parties involved.
10 Lessons From Billion-Dollar ‘Unicorn’ Startups
Types of founders who’ve realized this greater vision of long-term, sustainable business include Scott Farquhar and Mike Cannon-Brookes of Atlassian and Fred Luddy of ServiceNow, never to forget Marc Benioff of Salesforce, who famously rejected a $55 billion offer from Microsoft.
With IPOs in 2015, 2012 and 2004, respectively, these businesses are still booming. Actually, Benioff recently told CNBC: “Salesforce hasn’t been stronger or in a stronger position than it really is now.” And the founders of Atlassian accelerated their growth considerably soon after their IPO.
Since that time, Atlasssian’s leaders have continued to delight customers by modernizing their platform on a microservices approach while moving from an on-premises product to a multi-tenant cloud service offering.
In a nutshell, these businesses have proven an IPO may be the beginning of growth, not the finish of it.
So, you can either fight for that badge of honor of experiencing raised enough money at a big enough valuation to become a unicorn — or you can create a monster truck that drives value wherever it goes. Sound easier in theory? Here are five basics to make it happen.
Cash could sidetrack entrepreneurs from their original strategy, causing them to invest money on unnecessary things that don’t help create a moat around their business.
Businesses that raise lots of money and go south have usually detoured from their original plan, then frantically tried to recuperate. Avoid this downfall yourself by remaining rock-solid in your strategy: Use your cash to hire the proper people, invest in the proper areas and create a great culture. Nobody will probably love your idea a lot more than you, if you aren’t ready to lose your own money, losing someone else’s ought to be untenable.
Farquhar and Cannon-Brookes started Atlassian "armed with a debit card and a dream," they state on their site; plus they didn’t have a dollar of outside capital for pretty much ten years.
Having loyal customers and an evergrowing group of leads proves that there surely is value available; and you can head to anyone for funding once you’ve achieved this objective.
Customer trust defines the integrity of a business. And that sort of trust often takes quite a while to build. Customers keep carefully the wheels of the business enterprise turning, so make certain you’re doing everything possible to keep loyal customers around and create strong relationships with new ones.
Ultimately, you’ll realize it really is far more rewarding to invest time with customers instead of investors, but that without customers, you can be spending your entire time with investors.
Many entrepreneurs fall in to the trap of not hiring top talent, fearing that "those people" are very costly or that such a move might expose a weakness, an admission of failing to have the requisite skills themselves.
However, creating a monster truck can occur only when you are self-aware and understand your shortfalls. Stay grounded in everything you are proficient at, but search for employees and partners who can fill the gaps and provide new perspectives.This is exactly what any long-lasting and valuable business needs.
Take Luddy for example; he stepped into something role in 2011 because, as Forbes wrote, “He knew product. He needed a CEO who knew growth.” Deciding to start out a business is selling yourself strong. But trying to build it alone is selling yourself short.
When possible, start your business in the last stages you will ever have. Delaying your startup because you want more experience under your belt appears like a good idea, however in reality, you should never be likely to be fully prepared for what’s to come.
Have a lesson from someone (me) who started his business at age 40, whereas someone like Benioff sold his first software application at age 14! Creating a business is an extended, emotional journey, and one which requires a toll on both entrepreneur and the ones in his / her life.
No real matter what your actual age or background, make the most of opportunities when you can, as the sooner you can build that requisite foundation and endure the inevitable growing pains, the better. And if you were to think your idea can truly impact the world, why would you even want to delay starting out?
Frequently, startups die out a long time before their bigger visions of success ever come to fruition. Understand that your idea is your most significant asset, so avoid concentrating on exit plans or roads to success that want sacrificing that idea.
Keep an eye on whom you welcome into your journey and trust only anyone who has the same determination for long-term success. With regards to funding, everyone’s money is green, right? So find investors who’ll be great partners. Search for those people who are patient, understand the chance you’re pursuing and know your struggles. These also needs to be individuals who will help you find great talent.
This kind of help can not only protect the lifespan of your cash, but also that of your idea.
It requires discipline in order to avoid temptations that may otherwise jeopardize your long-term success, so remember: Fast money doesn’t always mean long-term money. There’s an emotional journey to building anything great, and entrepreneurs ought to be prepared for the ups and downs that go with it.
Sure, dark swamps of despair can look at all elements of your journey, and you will need resilience and fortitude to create it through those trying times without quitting on your own goal or deciding on a good way out. And, all too often, the latter need means raising money.
Getting a $1 Billion Valuation in only Eight Months
But remain steadfast in your strategy, align it together with your tactics and set up a great culture. In the event that you allow these exact things to influence your decisions rather than hunger for capital, your monster truck could have what must be done to fuel itself for the long term, zooming past those fleeting unicorns out there until they’re only a speck i