I can’t believe I’m going to say this, but try not to beat yourself up – if in the 1st two years of your start-up, you are still flying by the seat of your pants. I am just at the end of two full years, and I now FINALLY see how to execute and operate my women’s apparel start-up with a more methodical & planned approach.
As someone who works full-time in Angel Capital, I lean on our portfolio companies to flesh out and execute a viable plan. I even say to some of them “devise a plan like a roadmap, so when things go wrong, you can make better decisions on your detour.” Well guess what, sometimes you gotta see where the wind takes you before you can devise a mapped course.
There’s no doubt that having a plan (budgetary, operational, marketing, etc) and executing is the best way to operate, because it allows for consistency – which I think is key to success (& persistence). But, I can honestly say in looking back that I absolutely had to try many things, and see what works – what didn’t, and see what sticks, in order to create the baseline plan and operation for my company. To that end, I have found myself in some debt from the 1st two years, which makes me extremely uncomfortable. However, as I look back, there were not any expenses that were frivolous or impetuous. Many things, particularly with a product-based business, just had to be tried in order to see the outcome and where the market resides or how the market reacted.
So, if you can help it, allow yourself to be comfortable with the ‘trial & error’ approach with your business, until you find those pathways that work. Once you do, you can begin to also set a baseline for operations and budget.