Look online, and you’ll come across step-by-step instructions on how to set up a new business. Usually, they include tips like weighing out the pros and cons of being a sole trader versus going incorporated. Others may even give you industry-specific strategies to follow. But, have you ever noticed that most of those guides seldom talk about the essential qualities and tools you actually need to be a successful startup?
It’s like being given a car but never learning how to drive it. Unless you know what you’re doing, you’re going to crash! But, with the right knowledge, you can negotiate that car in almost any situation when you’re behind the steering wheel. It’s a similar story with setting up a new enterprise! These must-haves are crucial for your success.
1. Know the best time to enter the market
Have you ever wondered how successful stockbrokers manage to make millions for their hedge funds? One of the keys to their success is down to entry timing. Using the resources available to them, they can, for the most part, accurately predict the direction a market is going.
It’s no different when you’re starting a new business. You need to know when the time is right for you to start your new enterprise. It goes without saying that market research is quite essential to ensure you have a successful start!
2. Have a helping hand
One unofficial fact about the business world is that those who go it alone without any outside help from others rarely forge a profitable enterprise. We all need some help with various things in our lives, and starting a new business is one such example.
It makes sense to discuss your ideas with a seasoned mentor so that you don’t have to make any costly mistakes. Believe it or not, business coaching is the perfect way to seek inspiration and advice from someone that’s already “been there and done that”!
3. Funds, and plenty of it
It doesn’t matter whether you plan to launch a factory or a bedroom business. Whatever you do, you’ll still need capital – and plenty of it. First of all, you’ll need some money to cover your startup and immediate ongoing expenses. Examples include accounting fees, professional subscriptions, insurance, and so forth.
And, second, you’ll need money to live on until your new business starts to make a profit. For some startups, that might not happen until a year or two of trading.
4. Develop your self-control and discipline skills
It’s all too easy for newbie entrepreneurs to spend money recklessly without qualifying situations first. As a startup, you need to keep your costs down as much as possible to maximize your revenue.
With that in mind, you need to create budgetary plans – and stick to them. Don’t deviate from your budgets, regardless of how attractive a potential new opportunity might be. The key word here is “potential”; that means an outcome MAY or MAY NOT happen!
5. Refine your social skills
Running a business isn’t just about getting stuck looking at endless lists of things on Excel or writing emails. You may not think it, but it’s actually about being sociable with your new and existing customers!
We all don’t automatically go out and buy stuff; something persuades us that there is a product or service that solves a problem we have. As a business leader, your job is to convince others that what you have to offer will solve their problems.
And that means talking to people and gaining their trust, not just shoving your brand in their face and ordering them to buy from you!
6. Embrace the concept of flexibility
As you might expect in the business world, it’s vital that you learn how to adapt and be flexible with what you do. The market landscape will always change, and you must learn how to evolve with it.
You will also notice that some parts of your business plan may change as your enterprise grows and develops. There is nothing wrong with adapting your plan to meet the needs of your business.
7. The knowledge of what drives your industry
If you want to have a competitive edge, you need to know about the driving forces of your industry. Other businesses will be selling products and services in your sector because that’s what your customers want to buy.
The thing is, there will always be gaps in the market for solutions to other problems. For instance, people may need to do a workaround for a particular process because nothing yet exists in the market to take care of things for them. As you can appreciate, such information will give you the upper hand in your industry!
8. The ability to learn from other people’s mistakes
Continuing with our knowledge theme, you should also take the time to learn more about failed businesses in your sector, in particular, the more established and well-known brands. Why is that important, you might be wondering?
Well, you can discover why those companies failed and ultimately went out of business. It might be down to something like poor management, or it could be that customers no long want a particular type of product or service. Make sure you avoid making the same mistakes as they could potentially kill your business.
9. Previous industry experience
One of the “gotchas” that catches out a lot of would-be entrepreneurs is not having any experience of the sector they wish to target!
Let’s say that you come from a technical background and you decide to start a garden landscaping business. If you haven’t worked in the industry, you won’t know about the potential pitfalls and advantages of being in certain situations.
What’s more, you’ll have no idea about the unwritten rules your customers will expect you to know. Nor will you understand the specific needs of different customer demographics. However, if you started your new business in a specialized niche such as IT, you will be well-versed with what you and your clients expect from the industry.
10. Invest in the right technology
On the subject of all things technical, all new startups should have an array of useful technology at their disposal. At the very least, you will need a computer and an Internet connection to communicate with the outside world.
It’s likely that some startups may need to invest in industry-specific equipment and tools to get the work done. Bear in mind that the technology you use doesn’t have to be brand new; it just needs to be a perfect fit for your requirements. Starting up with the wrong tools at your disposal will result in confusion, frustration, and delay. Not to mention a loss of profits!
11. Marketing skills
You can’t expect your target market to instantly know that you exist and that they should take an interest in what you do! It’s your job to make yourself known in the marketplace, and you can only do that by marketing your brand.
There are thousands of ways to market your business both on the Internet and in offline environments. Consider taking a course in marketing basics or spend some time reading articles on the subject online. Once you’ve got a knack for self-promotion, it will come naturally – and opportunities will present themselves even in the unlikeliest of settings!
12. Have a “can-do” attitude
At the end of the day, the point of starting an enterprise is to service your customers. If you want their business, you’ll work out ways to provide solutions to their problems.
Sometimes, that may mean using products or services that you don’t usually offer. But, if it means clinching the deal, you need to make your brand the one that is most attractive to your target market.
For example, imagine you run an IT business selling desktop computers. Even though they aren’t things you usually sell or offer, you might have to provide things like server racks, structured cabling installation, and even office desks for a project. In short, if you can offer a one-stop-shop solution, you’ll gain more customers – and grow your business!
13. Perfect your time management skills
As an entrepreneur, you will probably have to take care of scores of things in your waking hours. But, that doesn’t mean you have to work 18-hour days to complete all those tasks! To be successful in business, one thing you must do is hone your time management skills.
Delegation, negotiation, and prioritization are the three aspects of an entrepreneur that can manage their time well. Focus your time on things that you know you can get done.
Delegate tedious tasks to other people or outsourced service providers. And, of course, complete all the high-priority things on your to-do list first!