Starting a new venture is an exciting, often confusing, and stressful time. Here are 5 essential tips for every startup entrepreneur to follow when launching a new business.
Identify your niche, and make sure it does something people want
The mistake that many startup founders make is that they are adding such a small gain to an existing product or service that people really don’t need or in fact want it. Sometimes the founder cannot really even identify what it is that their product or service is offering, which is of course infinitely worse. The secret here is to develop something that you care about, and people will care about. Do not spend countless hours and money launching a business that doesn’t deliver something that people are interested in. That right there is the very essence of a futile exercise.
I have come across so many startups in my time that are passionately and energetically fighting to push a product, a product which I think to myself ‘do people really care about it?’ “Ultimately they didn’t, and it was an operation that failed to see the big picture. Make sure you perform the necessary market research to see that you are developing something that will make people’s lives more interesting or easier – that is the principle of a successful startup,” advises John Chandler, a business writer at Writing at Masters Level and Australian Help.
Have the cash to do what you need to do
Only cash and cashflow will allow you to do the things that you plan to do. For that reason you must budget from the beginning, and identify the priorities which will allow you to continue on the path you need to take. It is only cash that will allow you hire, to continue developing, and to market. You must always have an idea of where more cash can came from, and this is most significant in the good times when you have the relative time and attraction in your business to raise those funds. Always plan for a rainy day too, as they can and do come.
Get finances straight from the off
“Many conversations I have held with the founders of startups where they readily admit that they are not clued-in when it comes to finances. I think ‘fair enough’, but do you have someone on board who is? If the answer is ‘no’, then, barring a miracle, I know exactly where that startup is heading,” warns Jane Summerville, a data analyst at Academized and OX Essays.
Let’s be clear here, you absolutely must know the numbers. If you are seeking investment, that is the only thing that potential investors will care about. You yourself do not need to be an expert, but have someone on board who is. Never neglect this element, and be aware and on top of it at every stage of the process. Which leads us to the next point.
Be adaptable in your timelines
You will commence on your operation with a very clear vision of how long things will take. You must accept immediately that those timelines will be a waste of time, because you can almost guarantee that everything will take longer than you expect, from the raising of cash and capital, to the development stage, to the marketing stage. Some business advisers will recommend tripling the timeline to get a more realistic view of what lies ahead. You can be ambitious, but make sure you are realistic too, and be prepared to adapt schedules at any stage, so contingency planning, as with cash, is essential.
Don’t go it alone
Being the founder and owner of a startup can be a lonely business, and the stress and pressure can keep you up at night. The question you must ask yourself is ‘do you want to be on this journey alone, with no one to share problems with and bounce ideas off?’ Ultimately would you want to be the sole owner of a floundering business or a partner in a successful and financially rewarding business? When you consider it in that way, it becomes an easy decision to make. There are also the added benefits of a team dynamic, and different personalities bringing different talents and energies to the business. All in all, working collaboratively is a winner for all concerned.
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