It’s hard to start a new business, especially in this economy when there are already so many established businesses working hard at keeping themselves afloat. However, although it may be hard, it’s certainly not impossible. If you can set up a startup, and continue to grow it, you can be incredibly successful. There are some things that a startup must do in order to succeed. We’ve listed them out for you so that you can have every chance of getting to the top.
1. Time things well
A good sense of timing is something that is often used to describe comedians, but when it comes to starting a business, it’s just a relevant. You need to pick exactly the right moment to launch your product or service. It can be difficult to determine when this is, and it is always something of a balancing act which can be knocked one way or the other by a variety of different factors.
These include what your startup funds are, and how readily you can access the money needed, what your personal circumstances are (are you able to commit fully to this new business, as that is what you will need to do), and how well (or otherwise) your competitors are doing. Starting a business in a sector that has seen falling sales, or is seasonal (and it’s the wrong season) simply won’t work.
You will need to do plenty of research before you put any money or time and effort into creating your new business. You will also need to create a brilliant business plan and, once you have committed to the startup, you need to keep going. Don’t rush, of course, it pays to take your time and get everything right before you begin, but don’t delay either. The balance needs to be just right.
2. A good budget
Many business owners feel that, as long as they can get the money they need when they need it, they can simply put it into a checking account and leave it there until they need to spend it. That, however, is a big mistake, and something that could spell failure for a startup business. If you don’t have a proper, well thought out budget in place before you get your funding capital, then you will have a problem.
Firstly, you won’t know how much money you’re actually going to need, and you might not have borrowed enough to cover your expenses. This is a huge issue because unless you begin bringing in money straight away, there is going to be a shortfall.
It’s also a mistake because if you don’t know what you’re going to be spending your money on, you could easily spend it on things you don’t need, leaving you with no available money for taxes, for salaries, for buying stock. You might have a beautiful, perfectly decorated office or an impressive fleet of trucks, but with nothing left in the bank, that’s all you’ll have. Be careful, and ensure that your budget is accurate, even if it makes for difficult reading.
3. The right people
It’s essential for all startups to have the right people helping them out. If you can hire staff right from the start, they need to be the very best. There is no point in hiring cheap labor and then wondering why your business isn’t productive enough. Of course, you may not be in a position to hire staff at first, or you may not need or want to. If that’s the case, then remember that you can’t do everything alone, and you will need additional help.
This help includes accountants, auditors, perhaps consultants too. If you need to talk about bank products for tax preparers, or which pieces of tech are required, or even how to raise some extra capital, you are going to need people on hand who have that expertise and knowledge, and who you trust. It’s good to start networking early to find these people ahead of time so that when you need them, they are available.
Networking is useful for other reasons too; it helps bring customers to you. It can take up a lot of time in the beginning, but constantly searching for people, sending out emails, making phone calls will all bear fruit if you keep at it. Being able to form new relationships while maintaining old ones will give you the best chance of growing your business in the shortest amount of time.
Self-discipline is needed when you start a business. It starts with the money; sticking to a budget is something that is all-important if you want to succeed because over-spending is a sure path towards failure. However, it’s not just about money. A startup requires you to be self-disciplined in every aspect and at every turn.
You need to stick to your plans and see things through, unless, of course, it is clear that your plan isn’t working. It will be hard work. It will involve long hours. Yet if you can do it, then you can be successful. If you want to work on your self-discipline, then it’s best to set smaller interim goals, rather than just looking ahead at what the end result will be.
This way it is far easier to stay on target and committed. You might choose to have daily, weekly, or even monthly goals. These goals can even replace the need to have set working hours if that is better for you; as long as the work gets done, you can work when your brain is at its optimum, rather than when you’re tired but still need to get something finished. Decide what you need to do and by when, and stick to your deadlines.
5. Be flexible
Nothing is certain when you start a business, even if you’ve started many in the past. Each one is different; each situation needs its own plan. You can simply see how someone else has done something and follow their way or working because it may not be what is best for you, or the startup.
You may indeed have run very successful businesses in the past, but that doesn’t mean you can use your tried and tested methods on this new one; it might be entirely different. This is why you need to understand that you are going to have to be flexible and change course as and when is required.
Any number of new factors can arise at any time, forcing you to change your ideas on this, that, or the other. It’s great for keeping you focused and for getting your brain engaged, but it is also stressful. Some people thrive under pressure like this, and others cannot deal with it. If you are the latter, then starting a business may not be for you. It’s certainly something to think about.
6. Startup capital
Money has been mentioned a number of times already because, without it, no business can grow in the way it has the potential to. Exactly how much money you need, and what you might want to use it for will vary from business to business, of course. One company may need something like $1 million, but another might manage very well with just $15,000.
The amount of money required is less important to a degree than what is done with it, which is why knowing where every penny you are asking for will be spent is crucial. Once you know how much you need, you will then have to work out how to get it. Some people have savings put away that can be used to fund their new business, whereas others are going to need a loan from a bank, or perhaps a private lender.
An investment like this will need to be dealt with formally; you and your investor both need to be sure that you are legally safe, and that the money is going to be spent as expected. Simply borrowing money and promising to pay it back with interest might sound fine at the beginning, but if something were to go wrong, there would be no legal recourse for either party, and big problems will arise.
7. Keep going
You could have the most well thought out, impressive business plan and the most innovative new business idea. You could have investors throwing their money at you because they all want to be a part of this fantastic new idea. Yet, if you don’t have the perseverance to see it through, even when things are tough, and you don’t have the passion for driving the business, you still won’t get very far.
In the end, it all comes down to the person leading the business. If they want to succeed, then there is far more likely that the entire venture will succeed. So before you start the hard work of running your own business, weigh up all the pros and cons. Make a list of what you’ll love about it, and what you’ll hate. Now is the time to decide, before you even begin.