How to Build A Successful Startup
Starting your own business is both an exciting and frustrating endeavor. Many entrepreneurs and fledging business owners would have gone through the same process of coming up with a cool or great idea for a business, doing the necessary market research, and finally deciding the idea is worth pursuing, either alone or with a team of co-founders.
At this point, you’re not yet building a business: what you have is a startup that requires a lot of work to take your company to the next level. It seems overwhelming, because it does feel like you have 1,001 things to look into all at the same time, from building your brand presence, organizing your supply chain, finding the right partners to work with, hiring the right mix of people for your company, providing great service to your customers – and all this while trying to increase the value of your sales so you can fund expansions and grow your company.
It’s a lot of things to look into and a lot of work involved, but here are some basic tips to help make your startup journey a little easier:
1. Build a solid plan. It may sound a little bit of an academic exercise, but every company begins with having a good plan in place. Many entrepreneurs find writing business plans a daunting task in itself, but you don’t really need to have a complicated plan that runs into hundreds of pages – what you really need is to be clear about your short-term and long-term goals, and detail how you intend to achieve them, including how you get products and services known in the market, what your sales revenues are going to look like, managing costs etc.
It is important to note that a business plan is not cast in stone, i.e. you can – and should—regularly revise your plan to keep it relevant, and if necessary change your plans to pivot your business if required.
2. Network as soon as you can, and as much as you can. Business is really about connections, and professional networking is how you can push your company to the next level. Networking allows you to present yourself and your company to other business owners and professionals who may one day become your clients or recommend your product or service to others.
Explore networking with people both online via professional social networks like LinkedIn and joining LinkedIn groups. You should also look at attending business networking events and get to know people in-person. Platforms like Meetup and Eventbrite allow you to find out more about on-going events in your local area.
3. Hang around the right people. Many entrepreneurs can probably relate with meeting critics telling them their venture is going to be a waste of time and money and a lot more other negative comments, and all in the name of being “concerned” for their well-being. It is important that you do not allow yourself to be affected by the negativity; instead, make sure you spend your time with the right people, like other business owners, mentors and strategic partners – especially those who have a positive mindset.
If you are building a team, it is important that you find people who believe in your vision and the purpose of the company to join you instead of merely pulling in people based on their qualifications. While it is the people joining you should have the right skills and competencies, what’s even more critical is having a team that is able to align their expectations and mindsets with the goals of the company.
4. Stay updated. Keep abreast of the latest trends and industry news. Many companies that close down because they are unable to keep up with developments or unable to stay ahead of the competition. Keeping yourself updated with market outlook and industry trends better allows you to make adjustments or pivot your business if required.
Do note, however, that you do not have to react to every piece of news concerning your industry; it’s merely prepping you to mentally embrace changes when they arise.
5. Financial visibility to make the right decisions. Believe it or not, there are many business owners who make business decisions with little or no financial oversight. As a result, many such decisions are made and plans executed without considering financial factors like cash flow movements and balance sheet adjustments. Cash flow movement is perhaps one of the most important pieces of financial information you would need to monitor, since it tells you where the sources of funds are coming from, and where and how much funds are going out from your monthly account. You can take advantage of FidCorp’s Financial Visibility Services (FVS) to give you an overview of your company’s financial statements via our monthly accounting services.
As a parting note, remember that everything about you and the way you do business needs to convey to others that you are a professional. This means you have to be on point in terms of how you present yourself to others, including your business cards, email address and presentation decks. You also need to ensure that you have the necessary professional indemnity insurance to protect your business, and ensure that your tax filing matters are in proper order.
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