5 Tips to Turn New Year’s Resolutions into Reality

Entrepreneurs are an optimistic bunch. Their bias toward action is so strong that the word “start” possesses near-magical power. Start-Up! Start Now! Start Raising Capital! Start to Scale!

The start of a new calendar year is an incredibly inspiring time to be supporting and funding entrepreneurs. Their New Year’s Resolutions abound.

Here are three of our favorites heard in the halls of Rev1 Labs with tips and tools from Rev1 Ventures to turn each resolution into reality.

Resolved: Become the Sherlock Holmes of product/market fit.

In the pre-concept phase of the business plan, entrepreneurs who think they already know what the market wants are undoubtedly wrong. You can’t understand their pain until you sit down with potential customers and really listen to them talk about their problems. Once you know the pain points, it takes more probing to construct the value equation. That value equation defines the framework for your startup’s P&L variables.

Tip: Markets don’t buy; customers do. These days it is efficient and economical to start with a brief survey, but there is no better way to gain the specific insights that lead to successful companies than to talk to the actual people who are most like your ideal customer. Every conversation and each visit to a factory floor or a headquarters lobby reveals clues.

Action: The Rev1 Investor Startup Studio combines capital and strategic services to help entrepreneurs build scalable companies. Our Customer Learning Lab—a rigorous 3-day experiential learning session that allows entrepreneurs and startups accelerate and intensify customer and market validation.

Resolved: Meet with a mentor or outside advisor every month.

Startups with mentors and advisors are more successful. Mentored startups grow 3.4x faster and raise 7x more money. Successful entrepreneurs build intentional trusted relationships with mentors and advisors who can help with connections and operational and strategic advice on everything from company culture to sourcing raw materials. Plus, entrepreneurship can be lonely. Sometimes you just need someone to talk with—someone outside.

Tip: Mentoring is most successful when the entrepreneur defines specific challenges or critical milestones. Use a checklist approach, references, and one-to-one discussions to find mentors and advisors with the skills and experience you need and the right personal fit. The ultimate in mentoring for an entrepreneur is an engaged and supportive board of directors. Before reaching this stage, learning how to work effectively with an advisory board provides hands-on practice.

Action: Rev1 helps entrepreneurs make the most of mentoring. We provide access to our network of vetted mentors from leading corporations, universities, and the community with an extensive range of experience and connections. An advisory board provides structure. Make 2023 the year you start or expand your advisory board. The why and the how.

Women and entrepreneurs of color often lack access to culturally appropriate mentors, peer groups, and active networks. Rev1’s Grow to Scale Mentor Program is available to current Rev1 clients with diverse leadership. Rev1 pairs up diverse startup clients with experienced, culturally competent executive mentors who provide one-on-one supports, advice, and networking for diverse founders at the concept and seed stages.

Learn more.

Resolved: Cut the right corners

Starting a new company is always a race against the clock. Entrepreneurship is an expert class prioritizing a million demands and managing scarce resources. There is never enough money or time.

Entrepreneurship starts with opportunity. Entrepreneurship succeeds with execution.

The hard truth is that startup teams can never do everything they want to do—fifty pounds of potatoes just don’t fit in a ten-pound sack. They also can’t do everything as well as they would choose if time and resources were unlimited. Great entrepreneurs do the most important things really, really well, and the other things well enough.

Tips: With the economic uncertainty of 2023, cash management is more important than ever. With lasting changes in work patterns (remote and hybrid) and the expectations of so named Generation Z, the same is true for company culture. Companies with rich cultures experience about a 14 percent employee turnover; for companies with a poor culture, turnover exceeds 48 percent (Columbia University).

Action: 2023 will be a year of narrowing up and refocusing on the basics. Make cash management and culture top priorities. Start 2023 with a detailed cash flow review based on your most likely forecast. Reduce expenses by 10 percent now. Refocus on your company’s culture, an asset that doesn’t appear on the P&L.