I will start with ”in my opinion” 🙂
I have always looked at building startups in 2 different ways: the ones built to generate revenue fast and those which were started with a clear, fast exit strategy in mind.
The mindset is mainly influenced by access to capital and investment.
Usually (there are exceptions) the companies built in countries that have small markets and lack of access to capital tend to focus on generating profit as fast as possible. The alternative is fast bankruptcy.
While some might disagree, I think the companies looking for crazy growth do not focus on generating revenue in their first years. The value and impact are calculated in a different way. And this usually happens with the tech platforms and apps, nowadays mainly disrupting industries or focusing on sharing-economy.
In my short experience of building startups (only 4 years), I have managed to grow 2 companies reaching 7-figure revenue in less than 2 years since their inception.
I have always noticed, when building a company “to start being independent and make money” (this means every client is your boss), you want to generate revenue immediately and reach breakeven as fast as possible.
In this case, most probably it is a company that offers services in combination with technology (or even without it).
If so, I believe you have to look at 2 things in a simple and abstract way
the right people(1) doing the right things(2)
(1) Finding the right people
I have always been a fan of attitude over know-how, at least when you are trying to bring people in your team. The right people will do their best in a particular situation and they will continuously develop their skills to become better, while having fun and understanding their impact.
It is literally the moment to build a team that can conquer the world.
Colleagues who are trying to stop the team, criticizing everything, constantly complaining, and creating more problems are definitely not a good idea. So I have always been focusing on a lack of no-sayers, no-doers, no-goers.
Now, this also means that the team needs to be led by the right people. I have always focused on building a safe environment, trying to offer the perfect context for each team member’s personal and professional development while having a lot of fun. My approach is based on developing the team way faster than any other leader can. We all have to feel the pressure of having to be better.
A good team will pivot in a bad situation and regroup for a better plan.
But a bad team will always kill a perfect idea or a good company.
(2) Doing the right things
Now, if you are sure that the right people are there for the company and you trust them, the next step is to clearly identify what truly impacts your business. Make sure that all of them are fighting in their department or with their specialty to push towards these particular aspects.
Simply put, you need to have people that are passionate to generate sales, especially at the very beginning of the company. Surround them with people that always deliver what they promise. at a quality level that generates loyalty from your business partners (clients).
To sum up, everything will fall into place if you have a good team and you manage to define the “right things” that matter to them and to the company.