The greatest problem with starting your first company lies in the fact that you have no previous experience to govern your decision-making. Instead of making your own mistakes in hope of learning on them, why not listen to people who’ve been down your path before you and try to learn from them? Apart from being cheaper and safer, this didactic method is also more insightful, seeing as how you might not be able to verbalize or analyze a problem you encounter on your own. With that in mind, here are five tips that might just come in handy.
1. Don’t get too excited about a business idea
A great idea may be a fertile ground on which you can start a multi-million-dollar business empire, yet, on its own, it’s not that useful to begin with. In other words, without the knowledge necessary to make a business plan, fundraising abilities to see these plans come to action and leadership abilities to keep it all together an idea will remain just that indefinitely – an idea. Therefore, don’t expect people to start showering you with money just because you came up with something new, even revolutionary. This is something you’ll have to work for as hard as possible.
2. Don’t wait to get ready
Postponing the launch of your business for too long is the ultimate error that too many small businesses make. Think about it, the sooner you launch, the sooner you start making money. Most businesses take 6 months to 1,5 years until they’re able to sustain themselves and the sooner you start, the sooner you will reach this break-even point. Sure, a sloppy start might make things difficult for you in the long run, yet, sloppy and non-ideal are not the same. Furthermore, there’s always a probability that your startup is in fact ready and that the only thing keeping it down is your own borderline OCD perfectionism.
3. Reputation is everything
Once you get a couple of clients, you’ll be able to boast with results, yet, when you just start making a name for yourself in the business world, you won’t have much to stand behind. This is where reputation comes in big time. The way in which your audience talks about you and, most importantly, the first impression you make on them might be mistaken for a proof of credibility or authenticity. Needless to say, this is an illusion that goes ever in your favor. To achieve it, you need a reputable website, an office at a prestigious location and an affordable mean to buy a 1300 number for your business.
4. Competitors are not your enemies
The next thing that not a lot of people will tell you is the fact that your niche competitors aren’t necessarily your enemies. Think about it, just because someone works in the same industry or even sells a similar product, it doesn’t mean that they’re actively working against your brand. If you manage to make a friendly relationship with competitors, in some situations, they might even be willing to help you out by outsourcing the workload they can’t deal with to your company. In other situations, they might recommend you to those whose offers they can’t accept at the moment.
5. Don’t avoid spending money
Finally, even though money may be short in the early stages of your startup, you need to understand that being stingy leads only one way – down. Avoiding employee bonuses harms your morale. Sticking to free instead of paid software licenses harms your productivity and spending lower-quality supplies harms the reliability of the end product. Sure, being frugal is one of the most important skills of every entrepreneur, yet you need to stop fearing the prospect of using your work capital to the benefit of your company.
At the end of the day, success comes in many forms and whether or not someone is successful depends on your own interpretation. This is why it might be for the best to look for role models within your own industry. On the other hand, when it comes to rules of entrepreneurship, in general, there’s no reason for you to set such criteria.