MILESTONE #1: Preparing Yourself
“ Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do.
So throw off the bowlines.
Sail away from the safe harbor.
Catch the trade winds in your sails.
Explore. Dream. Discover.”
— Mark Twain
Self-preparation often tends to be overlooked and undervalued, despite being arguably the most important milestone of them all. Preparing yourself and making sure your other co-founders are on the same page is extremely critical for building a successful startup. In the first few rounds of fundraising the investors determine how much they believe the current team will be able to build a successful company.
Can you answer these 4 important questions?
- How will your personal bills be paid during the first couple years of business operations where you probably won’t be able to take money out of the company?
- Are you trying to grow as quickly as possible and prepare the company for a sale or IPO within 5 years? Or are you determined to build a solid business and work at it until you retire?
- Does your company align with your passion, experience, and goals?
- Is your target market large enough and business model appropriate to scale to a size that will achieve your personal financial goals as well as the financial goals of potential investors?
You will want to a take a sober and realistic look at your current state of health.
This includes mental, emotional, spiritual, and physical health. Are you and your co-founders currently in a state of health that will allow for the strenuous endeavor of starting a new company? Ask your friends and family if they believe you are ready for this.
Personal Support Team
In addition to your health you will also want to take an assessment of your personal support team. This is different from your business support team which will be discussed later. This includes people like family, friends, doctors, coaches, trainers, pastors or spiritual leaders, and therapists. Each entrepreneurs’ personal support team will look a little different. When times get tough (which they will) having these relationships in place could mean the difference between overcoming obstacles and closing the business. Make sure to get their support in your new endeavor. If you find them lukewarm to the idea ask them why. They may see blind spots you are unaware of that would prevent you from being successful.