The battle of raising Series A funds might be won but the war still remains to be fought. This is the curve where a planned pipeline or a foolproof strategy can take off like a rocket or go down the drain leaving you with nothing but a learning curve (for future). In the end, it all comes down to dollars and cents so spend that money well. With the pressure from the investors to scale up and apprehensions around venturing into a new territory might get the better of you so here are some imperatives to consider amidst all that chaos in your head and around:
Only The Necessary Is Necessary
Be penny wise, use the funds only when necessary and wherever necessary. Focus on utilisation towards capital expenditure and not operational expenditure. Strategise to figure out how can operational expenses be brought to a minimum and managed through your monthly revenues.
Spend It On Building The Right Skill Sets And Not Spaces
Use most of the funds on the right manpower instead of utilising it on a quirky office space or something that just has an external value add. People are one of the biggest costs of any business, so it is important to invest well in building the right skill sets. Once you are in scaling mode things will become demanding and get stretched a lot so the right people to carry the mantle are important.
Brands are made by people. They will enhance the product and represent the brand so it is an area you can’t neglect.
Categorise And Budget All Segments
Whether it is operations or hiring or an elaborate marketing plan, categorise and budget all segments and stick to it. The expansion might want you to go overboard but stick to your business plan or modify it around the corners but do not go way beyond the marked territory. Things might have changed since bootstrapping and now you need more footfalls or traffic to your product but major marketing plans are not always the solution. Think of alternative cost-effective ways.
If you can’t afford an agency or a team of in-house experts, get a specialist on board. Every division of a company whether its HR, Marketing, or Operations keep it budget-conscious and solution-driven.
Get People Addicted
There are certain brands out there that have raised the product bar so high as to have got people addicted. The window to make a mistake is the bare minimum with so many options at easy disposal. Spend on building a seamless product; invest in delivering a high-quality experience. The way a product looks and delivers the last mile makes all the difference. Brand the product mediums well and spend in creating a great user experience. A solution-driven product with an expectation match of user experience is all you need to get a customer addicted and sustained.
Keep A Buffer
It takes time to make a good company into a great one. It requires patience and the willingness to put the skin in the game for a long haul. While the budget and strategy may look brilliant on paper one needs to be prepared for the contingencies. One should also be prepared on not making immediate revenues.
Keep a buffer in the budget funds that will help you sustain in the rocky period. Don’t run only on personal or team instincts, have a calculated and sustainable roadmap with a contingency plan. Take advise from the investors they have been in that position with many of their ventures, make the most of their experience while creating yours.
About the Author
[The author of this post is Sarvesh Shashi, founder and CEO of Zorba – A Renaissance Studio.]