Setting up a company with your eyes wide open, boundless optimism and a clean slate is a transformative experience. If you haven't done this before and you come from a background that isn't business orientated means you can't possibly appreciate what is ahead of you.
You can research, develop a roadmap and put a plan in place, but nothing is going to go as you thought. I don't believe you can learn how to do it but you need to learn to adapt and quickly rethink all of your assumptions.
You really will be winging it for a long time, you'll scramble, work insane hours, take on too much work and do far too many jobs yourself that get thrown at you from sales, development to filing(and paying) tax returns. Holidays? Forget those, if it's going to work you'll need to sacrafice some things in you personal life for a year or two.
If you did know what at least the next year of your life was going to look like after starting up, you may think twice before doing it, being niave and green is a good thing in that regard.
Carving out a niche and building a profile in a very competitve market is hard, but if it works out the rewards are worth it and you wouldn't change anything to get to where you did.
You need to accept you'll make a complete mess of some things but you'll do what it takes to make sure to never repeat those mistakes again. You need to never think that you've figured it all out and always be looking to improve every one of your processes.
This talk will give a bit of background on iterate and how we grew so quickly, we started in August 2011 and there are currently seven people working at iterate with two more joining the team at the start of June.
We've moved from incubation offices to our own city centre location in Dublin. We're working on complex projects for large organisations, redefining their online marketing strategy and overhauling and improving existing internal processes, resulting in significant cost savings.
This talk will hopefully be useful to anyone who is currently running a service based company or is thinking of doing so. I'll discuss the processes, staff and structures we put in place that saw us scale quickly in the last year.