Business

12 Essential Business Tips For Startups

These days, it seems like everyone is hoping to become an entrepreneur and come up with “the next big thing”. Who can blame them? When successful, the benefits to owning a startup are obvious: being your own boss, creating something from scratch, bringing value to the people around you and, of course, making a bit of coin along the way.

 

  1. Know yourself, your true motivational level, the amount of money you can risk, and what you’re willing to do to be successful.  Sure, we all want to make millions of dollars. But what are you willing to give up reaching that goal? How many hours a week will you work on an ongoing basis? How far out of your comfort zone are you willing to stretch? How far will your family stretch with you? To be successful, keep your business plans in line with your personal and family goals and resources.

 

  1. Choose the right business for you. The old formulas – find a need and fill it – still works. It will always work. The key to success is finding needs that you can fill, that you want to fill, and that will produce enough income to build a profitable business.
  2. Be sure there really is a market for what you want to sell.  One of the biggest mistakes startups make is to assume a lot of people will want to buy a particular product or service, because the business owner likes the ideas or knows one or two people who want the product or service. To minimize your risk for loss, never assume there is a market. Research the idea.Talk to real potential prospects (who aren’t family and friends) to find out if what you want to sell is something they’d be interested in buying, and if so, what they’d pay for the product or service.
  3. Plan to succeed.If you’re not seeking investors or putting a huge sum of money into your business, you may not need an elaborate business plan, but you still do need a plan – one that specifies your goal – your destination – and then lays out at least a skeletal road-map for how you’ll get to where you want to go. The plan will change as you progress and learn more about your customers and competition, but it will still help you stay focused and headed in the right directions.

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  1. Don’t procrastinate. I’ve heard some people advise would-be business owners to not move ahead with their business until they have investigated every last detail of the business they want to start, and are absolutely sure it’s all going to work and be profitable. The problem with that approach is that it leads to procrastination. No one ever really has all the pieces in place – even after they’ve started their business. Yes, you need to research the market, have a rudimentary plan in place and do things like get a tax id if needed, register with local officials, if required, etc. But if you try to make everything perfect before you launch, you may never get around to starting the business at all.
  2. Learn from others. Find mentors, join groups with like-minded people, learn everything you can about your industry and what it takes to get from where you are to where you want to be. Attend industry conferences. Take training courses when they are available. Buy courses offered by experts. You’ll save a tremendous amount of trial and error by learning from people who have been there before.
  3. Get to know investors. If the business you are starting will need investors to grow, do what you can to find out what investors are looking for and where to find those who might invest in your kind of business. Local angel and venture capital groups are a good place to start – attend meetings they hold or meetings that investors are speaking at.

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  1. Put yourself out there.Ask for what you want (in a polite way.) I started my online business by participating online on BLOGGING. When I was ready to send them a proposal to run a small business area, I could not only talk about my credentials in general, but point to places I was already contributing to their service. I became one of the early content providers to America Online because I picked up the phone and made a cold call. I wound up with a new consulting client after I struck up a conversation with a woman sitting next to me on an airplane. Remember, people like to do business with people they know. Get  the ball rolling, and keep it rolling by continually reaching out and introducing yourself to new people.
  2. Never stop learning and trying new things. What’s profitable now, won’t necessarily be profitable next year or 10 years from now. So, don’t let yourself fall into the “this is the way I’ve always done things” rut. Keep your eyes and ears open for new things. Are there newer or better ways to market your products and services? Are customers asking for something you’re not offering? Is there a different type of customer you should be targeting? Get answers by reading everything you can about your industry and listening to your customers.

 

  1. Be flexible and listen to the market.
    Even if you nail down the perfect niche, it won’t necessarily remain the same forever. Markets can be fickle and consumers want to be on the cutting edge. If you can’t pivot and react when the winds of change come, you’ll be blown away.

 

  1. Take risks and be willing to fail. Failure doesn’t preclude you from ultimately succeeding – in fact, it’s often a necessary step. The best entrepreneurs don’t let the fear of failure prevent them from going for what they believe to be a great idea. Some of those risks won’t pan out, but the ones that do will be the ones that define you.

 

  1. Follow your passion–not what you think is going to be easy to make profitable. Think about a big business idea you have. Are you in love with it? Is it something you’d be ecstatic to eat, sleep and breathe every day for a few years? If it pumps you up just thinking about doing it for a living, that’s a really good sign. If not, throw the idea out and find something else. But that doesn’t mean you have to turn all of your hobbies into your career. You can love your work too.

 

 

 

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