By Imad Hammad and Ali Malik / Entrepreneur Middle East - Image Credit Shutterstock
For startup founders, time matters -every hour, every day, every month they need to make sure to get the most out of every year. As the founders of CarSwitch.com, a UAE-based marketplace for inspected and warrantied cars that has raised over US$2 million in the last 16 months in order to transform the car buying and selling experience, we wanted to share how we have thought about getting the most out of our time.
1. Three layers of planning
As a startup, our life cycle is naturally more turbulent with less history than enterprises to build off of. Nonetheless, we put quite a bit of effort in making a plan and we work off of three layers to make it work for us. The first layer builds off our near-term aspiration which we have translated into a three year target that includes a series A fundraising and regional expansion. We worked backwards from there to set an end of year total volume of cars sold, revenue and partnership targets, accounting for seasonality we expect across some months of the year. We then get quite specific about the next six months and flesh that out as a full P&L (Profit and Loss statement) accounting for the revenue we target by product line, the number of staff by role we’ll need, and advertising and other support spend by channel required.
2. Get specific with a roadmap
With concrete targets in mind we paint the product lines, platform features and partnerships we believe we’ll need in order to deliver our end of year aspiration. This year, we ended up with two whiteboards worth of initiatives spanning every major aspect of CarSwitch.com. It was quite an overwhelming wish list, as you can imagine, and the stark reality is that it is unlikely possible to get all of it done.