So, You Want to Start a Business…55 Startup Tips

Starting a business

The idea of turning your concepts into an actual business is wonderful – there aren’t many making the leap to turn their dreams into realities. For many budding entrepreneurs, it is important to learn from successful businesses, a start-ups, and failed companies to glean useful insights.
Ultimately, your goal as an entrepreneur is to try and successfully build a fruitful business. In doing so, you use learned tactics and skills that you will continuously diversify, develop and strengthen.

Below, we have created a sectioned listicle-style article of 55 tips gained from a variety of ventures and leaders, that will be beneficial to the new entrepreneurs out there:

Preparation

Preparing to open a business

We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence then is not an act but a habit.” – Aristotle

It is crucial for entrepreneurs to continuously learn and stay-up-to-date with their respective industries and new methodologies to increase their chances of owning a prosperous business. Using the right tactics to build efficient services is advantageous, but having well-laid goals will help you properly prepare.

During the Preparation Stage:

  1. If you aren’t passionate about it, why pursue it? Create a business that you are passionate and proud of.
  2. Heavily research your industry, target market, and emerging methods of marketing/advertising.
  3. Stuck on how to best navigate a problem? Don’t rely on one solution to be the answer to any problem that comes your way, but rather, diversify your solutions for potential consumer issues, product challenges, and the ‘what-ifs’ by preparing contingency plans.
  4. Challenge yourself with new ways of thinking; research different approaches, procedures, and tactics.
  5. Map out your business plan for the first year. Continue building out your plan and company goals for the next 5 years.
  6. Entrepreneurship can easily consume your personal life; ensure you plan to have enough time to recharge and spend quality time with loved ones.
  7. Plan out your go-to-market strategy in great detail.

Bonus Tip: Be confident. If you don’t believe in yourself and your idea, who else will?

Building Your Network

Building Professional Networks

It significantly benefits entrepreneurs to learn from the experiences of others. Engaging with people from diverse backgrounds is valuable in making meaningful contacts and useful for the growth of both yourself and your company.

  1. Networking with people in the same or similar field, as well as making ties to complimentary industries and talents.
  2. Sharpen your business and communication skills to better engage with other professionals and boost your confidence.
  3. Networking facilitates open communication and can provide valuable insights for entrepreneurs.
  4. Networking offers up a plethora of new opportunities:
  • a. New ways of thinking
  • b. Potential business partnerships
  • c. Get your company in front of the right people. Meeting and building strong connections with investors can lead to potential financial backing.

5. Can increase confidence. 6. Strengthens your individual profile; the stronger that is, the more your network will grow.

Bonus Tip: Don’t ask your network for help before you’ve helped them. The motto here is “Give, give, give – then receive.”

Everyday life

Everyday Life in Business

Life as an entrepreneur is not always easy. In fact, it can be downright difficult, exhausting, and socially limiting. It is said that one of the hardest parts of life is deciding whether to walk away or to try harder – have you ever faced that choice as an entrepreneur and how did you steer the decision?
Managing your business and working for prolonged hours may cause serious stress and health issues, among other factors. So, it is necessary to not let the stress of it all overwhelm you.

Bonus Tip: Did you know you can now be medically diagnosed as burnout?

  1. Keep calm and entrepreneur on: take every fire, challenge, and setback one step at a time.
  2. Take legitimate breaks so that you can conquer your industry with a calm mind and solid focus.
  3. Schedule your workday and include set times after work for relaxation and personal time (i.e. 10-20 minutes of mindful meditation).
  4. Do MORE of what will make you happy: perspective shapes your world, the more positive you are (which you will be, by inundating it with more things that make you happy) can change the way you see and tackle challenges.
  5. Build a smooth, trusting relationship between yourself and your team.

Team building

Team Building is essential

“Alone we can do so little, together we can do so much.” – Helen Keller

A business is nothing without the people working in it – something often forgotten about in the world of industry. Any successful business is dependent on the hard work and efforts of its team. Strong teamwork and team-bonding plays a crucial role in a company’s success.
Let’s talk workplace culture – Google has excellent insights on this, not to mention the ways they keep their employees engaged. Google believes in the idea of community building. This creates a positive environment in the workspace, where employees are encouraged to work when they like and however they prefer. Employees coach each other in the “Googler to Googler” program. To increase positive employee relations (and subtly fortify team bonds), various micro-kitchens have been set-up where employees can sit together for lunch.
Google also gives prizes to its employees to encourage more innovative ideas. In their ‘Shoot For The Moon’ program, employees are awarded for their failures and mistakes because when the fear of punishment is removed, employees feel safe to explore more inventive and non-traditional approaches.

Creating an efficient team building process:

  1. Develop common goals for a clear vision and effective organization
  2. Clarify individual roles and duties so that your team has a solid understanding of what needs to be accomplished.
  3. Schedule a weekly meeting (remember to keep these to the point, as too many meetings is inefficient and actually lowers productivity). One-on-ones are a great way to connect with the individuals on your team, and will allow them a safe space to voice concerns and bring up new ideas.
  4. Observe team effectiveness and respond to their needs.
  5. Communicate clearly and constantly (a lack of communication is often where teams break down, major issues arise, and time is wasted).
  6. Schedule fun, team building activities.

“Happy Employees lead to happy customers, which leads to more profit.” – Vaughn Aust, EVP of Integrated Solutions.

Building the Business

How to build your business

The appropriate business model for your venture is necessary to create a strong final product, which is needed to successfully enter the market. The right goals, pricing, target market, and team – along with an effective business strategy – helps achieve your target set-up.

Building Your Business:

  1. Understand what the market is looking for.
  2. Plan finances carefully (recognize your financial situation, the reality of generating revenue with a startup, and plan accordingly).
  3. Invest a lower budget into high-risk strategy (no risk, no reward). Invest a larger budget for Consistent strategies (consistency is imperative to creating brand recognition, trust and ultimately product/service adoption).
  4. Learning over time enables growth.
  5. Based on your initial launch, observe the customers’ needs and happily accept feedback and thoughts from your audience (negative feedback is perfect, your audience is taking out the guess work for you and directly letting you know what they want).
  6. Be responsive and adaptive to the market.

Psychological + Marketing

Marketing your business

It has been infamously quoted that authentic marketing is not the art of selling what you make but knowing what to make. The growth and development of a start-up relies on effective marketing. Product development is a major factor, but so is effective marketing and working with your team.

Entrepreneur Focus:

  1. Never stop retaining information and learning new concepts.
  2. Make sure everyone on your team is on the same page.
  3. Happily and readily, learn from your mistakes.
  4. Implement a strong growth strategy.
  5. Always take feedback from customers and colleagues; there’s always room to improve!
  6. Don’t focus on too many things at the same time; keeping your attention focused will make you more efficient and result in strong work.
  7. Did something go wrong? Don’t beat yourself and/or your team up, accept the situation and learn from it.
  8. Focus on engaging with the target audience to create brand loyalty, trust, and recognition.

Leadership & Growth

Women Leadership
  1. Do not get confused between leadership and micromanaging; micromanaging actually slows down efficiency and makes it difficult for your team to feel confident in their abilities and limits their growth.
  2. Think differently from your competitors.
  3. Reward the effort your team puts in.
  4. Find a mentor with a leadership style that you admire. Keep in mind it is always beneficial to have many mentors with different styles as well so that you can gain different perspectives on leadership.
  5. Invest in your team’s development.
  6. Be assertive without being rude or demeaning.
  7. Don’t be the smartest person in the room; hire a clever team and learn from them.
  8. Encourage and put trust in your team.
  9. Be a good listener.

Right Pivot

The Right Business Pivot

Sometimes, switching up the work routine or exploring different avenues may prove to be the answer for success.
For instance, Instagram’s founders Mike Krieger and Kevin Systrom are great examples of hard work that pivoted the right way. Before founding Instagram, the two worked on a similar project called Burbn, which was comparable to Instagram in that it allowed users to add filters to their pictures. The duo thoroughly studied market trends and later discovered that the photo sharing app had already been released by their competition. Using their user experience (UX) skills, the business partners worked on refining and developing features of Instagram. Today, Instagram is available on all the app stores, and is enjoyed by millions of users worldwide – not bad in terms of successful pivoting, right?

Learning from Success:

  1. Shift your role to focus on the maximum used service (i.e. for Instagram it was photo-sharing).
  2. Minimalism can make a large impact – make your product/service enjoyable and easy to use.
  3. There’s more than one way to do something, so if at first you don’t succeed – try, try again.
  4. No success story happens overnight, there are always many failed attempts, bugs, product issues, and more to overcome.
  5. Persistence and determination in pursuing your goals will help you achieve them.

Right Pivoting:

  1. Focus on improving one aspect of your product at a time, don’t take it on all at once.
  2. Create simple solutions – break down the challenge so that you can see it as small problems, instead of something overwhelming. Doing so may help you find your eureka moment.
  3. Do thorough market research and competitive analysis.

The Takeaway

Entrepreneurship isn’t for the faint of heart, but there is no better feeling than achieving success with your startup. Being able to build something from the ground up is empowering, worthwhile, and inspiring – who else thinks ‘entrepreneur’ is synonymous with ‘hero/heroine’? We certainly do!

Budding entrepreneurs/heroes/heroines what tips do you find the most useful?

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