Congratulations! Your thriving, bootstrapped business just closed its first and possibly last round of growth equity financing. Although the process might have taken a little longer than you expected, it’s all about the outcome; you now have a fully-funded growth plan with a company-building partner to help you and the team achieve your long-term objectives.
So now what?
As it turns out, having enough cash to fund the Company’s value creation plan is actually just a table stake. What you do with it and how effectively it’s deployed separates the highly valued businesses from the rest. The first 100 days post investment are critical.
Up to this point, you’ve built a disciplined operation with a healthy respect for capital. At the same time – and as far back as you can remember – the Company has needed more people, more lead generation, more product features, more space, more software tools, more brand awareness, and maybe even a new financial system to move from the endless pursuit of aspirational goals to achieving predictable and repeatable growth. This is your “We definitely should…” list.
Immediately after the financing, the team’s instinct will likely be to address the entire list leaving everyone drowning in 10, 15, even 20 number one priorities.
Don’t go there, you’re bound to end up in a mile-wide and an inch deep sea of chaos.
Instead, step back and take stock with what’s working well, and what’s not with one objective in mind; high-performance execution – which, simply translated, means consistently meeting or exceeding the plan. Armed with this self-assessment, the team’s focus can be narrowed down to 3 (and only 3) priorities during the First 100 days:
- Develop an institutional discipline around team communications at every level of your organization
- Commit to the Annual Business Plan as a team – bottom to top
- Align every team member’s individual role and their personal definition of success with this Plan
Why these 3 priorities?
The First 100 Days provide the rarest of opportunities to reset the Company’s priorities, psyche, and cadence in order to meet its long-term objectives. You are drawing the map that will enable your team to maximize the return of every invested dollar with confidence and with the highest degree of predictability. Good communication, the courage to commit to the mission and connecting everyone to the same definition of success (your ultimate destination) are all part of building the map. These sound like three simple priorities. Simple yes, but imperative. Taken together, they bolster the foundation for high-performance execution and can energize an entire team to tackle the most critical growth challenges that lie between them and their end goals.
“Getting the first 100 days right” requires a combination of trust, intellectual honesty, rigor, patience and resolve. It has very little to do with anything on the “We definitely should…” list and almost everything to do with organizational alignment around the few things that will have the most impact on the long-term value of the business. An investment partner that is patient enough to encourage you to re-align and re-calibrate before you starting trying to do too much is also useful.
In future posts, we’ll expand our discussion of the First 100 Days in preparation for Finding Your Cadence. In the meantime, you can find more resources and growth perspectives for your business at The Growth Equity Blog and the Workhorse Capital Blog.