What’s next? How do I get organized? What systems do I need?

What’s next? How do I get organized? What systems do I need?

Gregg Fairbrothers:  Many startups put getting organized, putting controls, accounting, and policies in place until it’s too late, and invariably they end up paying a heavy price. It’s easy to over-organize and over-structure too early, but unfortunately even easier to put it off until problems strike.

  1. What’s next? It depends. There’s no one answer to a question like this. What you need to do next is affected by where you are, and especially, what are the next risks to your business that you need to eliminate. These are the strategy- and execution-related next steps, things like how to get a product designed and built, how to find people and build up the company, how to get money, how to prove markets. Getting these right creates a successful company where nothing existed before.
  2. In parallel there are the operations next steps that you have to take to get things done, and to operate professionally, things like set up money management and accounting, processes and policies, structures and business commitments. Getting these right saves you from taking a successful launch and having it blow up around you

Mike Gonnerman (Founder and CEO, Michael Gonnerman, Inc.): 

  1. Arrange for an advisor, who can be a Director, Advisor, or just a mentor.  The point is that you need to speak regularly with someone who has been through it before.
  2. If you have co-founders, get their agreement on company purpose, direction and initial ownership.
  3. Find a lawyer and have him/her
         – organize the entity (dba, Sub S, C?) and register with the IRS, state, et al
         – prepare the founders’ agreements (avoid “Winklevoss” issues) – then, get them signed
         – prepare letters/agreements for other parties (consultants, employees, advisors, et al) and get them
             signed
  4. Determine your near-term and intermediate term cash needs.
  5. Make it happen!  Remember the sentence of ten 2-letter words: “If it is to be, it is up to me!”
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