Most entrepreneurs who have successfully launched and grown their business will tell every startup out there that running a business is never easy. The lack of experience in running a trade alone can lead to a lot of confusions and doubts.
Startups are also susceptible to committing newbie mistakes like skimping a business plan, going light on marketing because of budget considerations or assuming that employees are as passionate as they are about the business, etc. Mistakes like these can often lead to failure.
With that in mind, we give you the top 3 things that you should keep in mind when starting a business:
Don’t start with the product, start with the market. This seems very obvious, but many still fall short when it comes to doing market research and, as a result, fail. You have to always think about your market and analyze every data available to you. Evaluate niches that you have domain expertise in and make sure that you’re able to identify a problem that actually exists. Find out what the problem is costing consumers and sketch out your solution of the problem. Use all of these as the basis of your business plan and strategy.
Put all your researched data, thoughts and ideas on paper – spreadsheets, powerpoints – to help you clearly determine whether you have a solid and feasible idea or not. Ideas are useless if they’re not feasible.
Make sure that you have enough cash reserve. One of the major reasons why most startups fail is because of financial issues. Most entrepreneurs run out of money during the earliest stages of the business.
After you have already invested and sacrificed so many things – your sleep, career opportunities, and perhaps even a bit of your sanity – it’s only natural to try to put in everything you have financially just to make it work. This is definitely a big NO! You should be able to provide for yourself and your family even while launching a startup.
So before you even start thinking about going into a venture, setup a plan on how you can sustain yourself and your business for about a year or two. Unless you have created a “Purple Cow” product that people will fall in love with instantly, you won’t be able to make a sustainable profit during the first few months of launching a business. Setup a financial fund, that’s the first thing you have to do.
Adapt and be flexible. If at some point your startup needs to change its course, you have to be flexible. Sometimes change is necessary to adapt to mistakes and failures, other times it’s about seizing new market opportunities that have not been apparent before.
The three tips provided above are by no means a comprehensive guide on starting up a business. They are however major things that can make or break a business. If you have more tips for startup entrepreneurs, please share them by commenting below.