Seven ways to give your start-up business a good start
..with Ndungutse Robert
Sometimes your new business succeeds, and sometimes it fails despite all your hard work and efforts.
What makes a new business succeed? Success needs more than just your best efforts, but other elements to blend in together and work in your favour.
Here are seven factors that are important in creating and building a successful start up business:
1. Have a long-term vision: Develop a clear short and long term vision for your business. Your vision will give you purpose and help you keep focused on what you want the business to achieve.
Without vision, your business cannot prosper and grow because you are reduced to keeping things the way they have always been.
2. Hire the best people – and manage them well. Even as a solo entrepreneur, you may need some outside assistance – e.g. virtual assistant to help with day-to-day tasks, accountants for bookkeeping and tax preparation, or even a web developer.
When choosing outside contractors, always go for quality and not necessarily the price. You should only focus on the best for your business, even though that might not be the cheapest.
Then work hard to keep your good people.
Make them feel that their contributions to your business are important. Invest in your people, and they will appreciate working for your company.
3. Keep your focus. In today's tough and highly competitive environment, focus is a key ingredient to the success of your business. It is important to identify and concentrate on making the unique aspects of your business as superb as possible. Be clear what your business stands for, and stick to it.
You don't have to grab all opportunities that come your way or try to do too much too quickly.
4. Innovate; don’t duplicate. Your business is unique, and the factors that worked for others may not be present in your situation.
Instead of copying others, differentiate yourself through your concept or presentation.
You may be offering the same products, but clearly define your unique selling proposition to help users see your business apart from your competitors.
5. Keep realistic expectations. Starting a business is not easy. You've heard the statistics that 80 percent of all small businesses fail within five years.
If you're making a business plan, think and re-think the assumptions that you are using.
Are you really going to have that much sales in the first year? Are your marketing strategies and manpower resources aligned to support your sales number? Are you clear about the risks and stumbling blocks your business may face?
6. Have a clear understanding of the market and your competition. Businesses do not operate out of a vacuum, and it is important to learn as much as you can about the industry, the market and the players.
Market climate, user trends, technology innovation, even the economy, can all affect how your company does and who it attracts You need to recognize competitive threats and opportunities; in order to give you time to prepare contingencies for either.
7. Run your business lean. Keep your expenses and spending as lean as you can for as long as you can. It is important that you don’t spend what you don’t have!
You don’t need a fancy office at the start of your business, or an office space in the high-rise tower in downtown.
If you can hold off hiring that additional programmer or administrative assistant, then save your resources instead. Avoid the mistake of spending what you think will come in – remember, payment can be delayed, or worse, the money may not even come in at all.