It is hard to deny that starting a new business is a big, emotional rush, not too dissimilar from falling in love. But in pursuit of that rush, there are many things about the project we just don’t consider. Perhaps there is an evolutionary reason for it.
The thrill of falling in love perpetuates the species in ways that would never happen if we carefully thought it through. Our hormones push us into acts that we would never undertake with more consideration. Perhaps evolution requires us to take chances on the things that are necessary for the perpetuation of humanity.
That could also describe the world of entrepreneurship. People throw themselves into projects, along with their life savings. They find other investors who will join them in their madness. It usually ends in tears.
But without this seemingly reckless abandon, some of the biggest and most successful companies in the world would never have formed. Just think about the superpower that Apple has become. There is a lot they didn’t think through before getting started. They made a lot of missteps but corrected course along the way. It seems some lessons have to be learned the hard way.
If you have already started your latest entrepreneurial love affair, here are four things you may not have considered:
When a person is in the process of designing a new product, they are not thinking about how the end user of that product will encounter problems, and need to contact someone for help. Customer service is something that gets bolted on long after the product is complete.
At that point, the entrepreneur often picks up an off-the-shelf solution designed to cut costs and benefit the company rather than the customer. Unfortunately, this describes approximately 90% of call center support services right now.
The other 10% have begun utilizing to call center software that is based in the cloud, providing the agent with better and more timely information and enabling them to provide a superior customer-centric service experience.
One of the main reasons customer service is so universally disappointing is that business owners don’t think about it until they have to, rather than making it a part of the initial planning. Make sure it is a part of yours.
One of the biggest startup money wasters is purchasing or leasing excessive office space. The problem with startups is you never really know how much space you are going to need. Office space and high-end desk chairs are given out like some kind of perk. But it is a perk few startups can actually afford.
Office hoteling is a better way to get things rolling. A 10 person office will likely do just fine for a 15 to 20 person company. The money you save doing this might be enough to ensure that you make it past the 2-year mark.
Before you acquire your first customer, you need to have a secure way to collect and store the transaction records and sensitive customer data. Few companies think about this at the beginning. Record retention becomes a bolted-on solution that ends up being insufficient.
You can’t simply opt to keep no records. Credit card receipts have to be maintained for a minimum of 18 months, tax information for twice that. Even large companies suffer data breaches. But I suspect most of the problem lies in the fact that they simply did not think about integrating strong solutions into the process before launching the company. You should avoid that mistake if at all possible.
Few people realistically consider the possibility of failure before starting a new venture. What they don’t understand is that not only is failure an option, it is sometimes a good thing. Fail forward and fail quickly. These are things that the big companies have figured out. But it usually takes them a while before they can integrate this into their strategy.
Another benefit of planning for the possibility of failure is that you can have contingencies in place to keep the failure from stopping you completely.
Customer service, office space, records retention, and failure are not the kinds of things people think about when fantasizing about their startup. But at the end of the day, their outlook would be better off if they did.