8 Tips for Startup Owners to Succeed in Business
The majority of startups fail within the first year of business and in this current climate the situation couldn’t be more difficult, however in this article we will give you some of the best tips possible so your business doesn’t become another statistic.
Tip 1 – Know Your Motivation Levels
After all of the excitement has worn off that you have started a new chapter in your life with your business you will find out real quick how motivated you are to succeed. To some business owners, motivation is never a factor but months down the line when you have put hours and hours into your business and it doesn’t seem to be progressing is when it can get tough.
If you give up easily you should reconsider if starting a business is right for you. This isn’t to put you off but not giving it your all even when the situation looks useless is going to separate you from the businesses that succeed and the ones that don’t.
Tip 2 – Make Sure There’s a Need for Your Service
All the motivation in the world won’t save a business where there is no need for one. If your product or service isn’t needed then you aren’t going to be a successful startup owner. Business owners usually talk to their friends and family about their idea and when they get a positive reaction they go ahead and lump their life savings into it only to find out that their business doesn’t solve a problem.
For example, let’s say your startup idea is to create a photography app that automatically prints out your photos when you take them. You share this idea with your family and friends and they all love the idea as no one gets printed photos anymore right, especially ones that get sent to your door in a few days.
You go ahead and set up a new photography app business and then you quickly realize there are many other companies out there doing the same thing and the market share is tiny. At this point you have coded an app, a website, set up social media accounts, and even paid someone to run them for you.
A complete disaster and a huge waste of money. If you’re thinking of starting a business, make sure there is a problem out there that needs to be solved. Asking friends and family for their input isn’t going to cut it so speak to strangers and get their feedback.
Tip 3 – Keep Your Startup Lean
Startups seem to think that every company needs to be the next Facebook or Snapchat with big offices, open-plan workspaces, and indoor coffee shops. The truth is most successful startups are run from less desirable offices so they can keep their expenses down while working on their product.
Your job as a startup owner isn’t to show off to potential investors how big your office is but to show off how good your product or service is. Keeping your expenses low is going to allow you to work on your idea even when there is little to no money coming in. This is very important as the first few iterations of your product or service won’t be your final version and it will take you time to perfect it.
There are many ways of keeping your expenses low, it could be the case of getting a smaller office or it could be cutting back on subscriptions to software and doing more manual work. If you are a start-up right now think of all of your expenses, put them into an excel spreadsheet, and then note which of the expenses are vital and which aren’t. Once you have your list cut out the ones that aren’t vital.
Tip 4 – Find out Who Your Ideal Clients Are and Sell to Them
Many business owners make the mistake of wanting to sell to everyone. By selling to everyone they think that they are going to make more money and will be able to sell their company and retire earlier. Unfortunately by targeting everyone you won’t appeal to anyone.
Finding your ideal customer can take time and making a buyer persona can help but don’t solely rely on a buyer persona is your ideal customer will change over time.
Having someone you can design your marketing around will allow you to sell to them better and refine your product to suit them.
You may think if you target down too much you are going to lose business but think of it like this. If your product was the exact product that 1000 people were looking for and you could charge them $50 per month for it. Your startup would turn over $50,000 in monthly recurring revenue.
$50,000 a month is life changing to most people so by perfecting your product for a select few people is a great way to make money as a startup business.
Tip 5 – Choose the Right Business for You
A jewellery business may turn over $50 million dollars a year but that doesn’t mean you should go out and start one. Firstly the capital needed is not going to be a possibility to most and most of us won’t have any idea how to run a jewelry business.
People may also tell you to follow your passion. Sometimes this can work but often passion projects don’t pay the bills. Sure I love watching football, eating good food and staying in luxury hotels but starting a ticket service that sells sports tickets accompanied by overnight stays in luxury hotels wouldn’t be a good business idea for me as I wouldn’t even know where to start.
My tip would be to start a business in a field you already have experience. Think of your previous jobs, how many of those companies make a lot of money and could you do the same if not better. If you answered yes to that question then that’s a good place to start.
Selecting a business idea is tough but if you get it right it will put you in good shape for the rest of your career.
Tip 6 – Do What You Do Best, Outsource the Rest
Stick to what you know and can do best and then outsource or hire someone to carry out your weaknesses. Having a successful business is all about hiring people who add to your skills. Some business owners think they need to do everything themselves but this leads to burnout and stress.
Hiring people with skills that accompany yours will not only take the burnout and stress off you but it will also make your business more profitable in the long run. Hiring can be a difficult ball game to master and if you are worried about hiring the wrong people, you could choose to hire a freelancer from a website such as Upwork.
Hiring a freelancer has less risk than hiring a full time member of staff as you have no long term commitments with them and only pay them for the work they complete. Freelancers can also be cheaper if you choose to hire one from a different country.
Hiring a freelancer can have its pitfalls but it can be a good choice to a startup where funds are limited.
Tip 7 – Mistakes Happen, Move On
As a startup or first-time business owner, it’s impossible to know everything. In fact, you don’t even know what you don’t know so learning as you go is part of the process. Unfortunately making mistakes is part of the process and you will need this experience to make better decisions in the future.
Mistakes happen and how you react is going to define how successful your business is. Don’t dwell on mistakes because you will keep making them if that’s all you can think about.
As a startup business owner you are going to make decisions that are wrong for your customers, your staff, and your bottom line. Move on from them, apologize if you need to and try not to let it happen again.
Your biggest lessons will come from your mistakes so when they happen take a step back and see what you could have done differently.
Tip 8 – Learn From Others
Even if your business idea is something totally different to what is out there it doesn’t matter as there will be others out there that you can learn from. Other business owners will have been through the same mistakes and learning process as you, asking them for advice is a great way of learning.
Others may be able to see huge flaws in your business, you may be undercharging, neglecting a section of the market or it could be as simple as taking some of the stress off you as a business owner by talking to others with similar experiences to you.
The startup world can be a lonely place and only people who have sacrificed 70 hour work weeks can understand. Talking to people with similar experiences can help, so reach out to mentors and other business owners from time to time.
The startup world can be fierce, competitive, and lonely. It can also cost you your savings, your sanity, and your relationships. Working in a startup is less glamorous than people would have you to believe but getting a startup right can be life-changing. The tips shared in this article are a good starting point and being lean while trying to solve a problem that people need solving is going to give your startup the best chance of success.