Starting a business might be one of the hardest things you can ever do in your life. A startup takes passion, hard work, self-motivation and sacrifice after sacrifice. According to Forbes, 8 out of 10 businesses fail — it’s that hard! You need to make sure you have what it takes and the right reasons to start a business.
Here are some of the tips that will help you start on the right foot.
1- Surround Yourself With The Right People
You can’t afford to let people tell you what you can and cannot do. Start surrounding yourself with people who believe in you and who understand what you are doing.
Get yourself in startup social circles. Attend events and classes, which will not only increase your knowledge but will also introduce you to more people with the same mindset and interests, who face the same challenges. This is one of the most important things you should do to avoid feeling alone in this.
Talk to people you trust about your ideas and consider what they have to say; you also need to talk to your clients and hear their feedback about the business. Always keep an open mind and, please, avoid the naysayers who belittle your efforts and discourage your dreams.
2- Plan, Plan, and Plan Some More
You need a clear action plan on what you’re doing now, your expected progress first year, and approximate milestones on where you’re headed long-term.
Prepare a business plan and a financial plan, which should tackle the profitability and sustainability of your business. You need to know how much capital do you need, and how much money are you expecting to make in X time. But don’t worry if your business wasn’t profitable right away. If you stick to your plans, it’s going to pay off eventually. Be patient.
In addition to your financial plan, a market study is also vital. Figuring out the right audience to target will determine where you should be located, how to market your products, how much money you’ll spend on advertising, and will reflect in your overall plan.
3- Learn Something New Every Day
The things you need to learn are endless. You need to know about everything: marketing, finances, business, sales, social media and so much more. If you’re the CEO or in a managerial position, then you’ll be involved in pretty much everything.
You’re going to need to learn a lot — take advantage of the free resources, courses, workshops, and also people who are willing to help and support you.
4- Understand the Market
Who are your competitors? This is one of the most common questions in the business world.
I never liked that question, honestly, because it was hard to figure out. But things got easier, with the rise of technology that facilitated the proper market research.
To have a unique service or product you have to acknowledge everything your competitors do and sell and understand what makes them special. This should help you compete and will also help you figure out why would a customer choose your product/service?
5- Persevere in the Face of Uncertainty
Having a business is hard. You will doubt yourself and you’ll wish you hadn’t quit your stable job. You’ll ask questions like “Why am I wasting my life?” and “Is it worth it?”.
But it’s completely ok to feel this way. It’s fine to be afraid of the uncertainty and to even fall because you will get up stronger.
You might think that some people get it from the get-go, but it’s not about just starting it, it’s about sustaining it, and making it grow stronger.
You will need to make sacrifices. Having a business is not for everyone, you need to be self-motivated, confident and able to adapt. You need to be resilient, and you need your passion to lead the way.
6- Be Picky
Picking a business partner is as important as picking your life partner. Not everyone can be a business partner (especially not friends). You and your partner both need to have the same passion and values. You both need to believe in the business and be on the same page on how to run the business. Plus, you need to agree on who’s going to be in charge if things ever went south.
Choose a catchy and relevant name for your brand. The logo is very important, too. Build a website (if there is a need) and make sure to utilize social media so that the world would know about your values and what you do and offer.
Pro tip: offer your services at first for free to build reputation and trust.