Building a company from the ground is one of the most difficult tasks in life, especially if you’re an early-stage entrepreneur. Nevertheless, it’s far from impossible since there are many who have proved that age is no barrier to running a successful business. A start-up world, like any other, has it’s own secrets when it comes to success. We’ve prepared the 8 most important ones that will not only help you to get off the ground but also to survive in the years to come.
1. Keep Your Eye on Every Single Dollar
There are many reasons why small businesses fail, but the most common one is that they simply run out of money. Your business is going to end up in a very dangerous situation pretty fast if you don’t stay on top of your cash flow, so it’s important to keep your eye on every single dollar, especially in the beginning. Your idea can be the best one in the world, but without an established budget, you’re gonna stick to, running out of money and hitting the brick wall is inevitable.
2. Keep Your Start-up Finances Organized
Since expenses will be coming at you from every direction it’s crucial to keep them organized. Without proper organization, you won’t be able to monitor and track all the spending, not to mention dealing with the taxes when they roll in. This is an inseparable part of cash flow management, but still many young entrepreneurs don’t pay much attention to it. The reason is that not many can afford to hire full-time staff which will handle the books in the beginning, but there are many helpful invoicing and accounting tools to choose from. But keep in mind that your accounting will become more complex with your growth and at some point hiring a professional is mandatory.
3. Don’t Focus on the Wrong Things
This is probably the biggest mistake when it comes to young entrepreneurs – they focus on things such as over-the-top amenities and fancy offices instead of generating revenue which should be the top priority. Three fully catered meals a day and a huge elaborate office in the city centre is not what you need in the beginning. What you truly need are limited fixed expenses since that is the key to longevity. Only if you start by operating thin will you be able to allocate the majority of your capital to growth, which is crucial for the implementation of any perks latter.
4. Look For Customers Right Away
ʽCustomers come firtsʼ is not just an empty phrase – without them, there is no business. So the sooner you focus on customer acquisition, the greater are the chances for success. After you identify different acquisition channels it’s easier to work on optimization in order to lower your costs. Keep in mind that you can’t test all the possible acquisition channels at once since you won’t have enough money nor finances for that kind of scope in the beginning. The trick is to focus on the ones which offer the most lucrative opportunities and scale them successfully. That will provide you with the financial capability to explore the others.
5. Pay Attention to Your Team’s Versatility
Your attention shouldn’t be focused only on your products, but also on the ʽpeople elementʼ since people are the ones who build those products. So your top priority should be to identify the founding team of your business. Then the next step, equally important one, is to understand the gaps in it. And there will certainly be ones, as soon as you start defining the roles, responsibilities, and the division of labour. Just take a look at one of the most important team members when it comes to the organization of your business – lawyers. They’re crucial for the safety of your business, financial stability, but also as counsellors during a hiring process and the rights of your employees. Many young entrepreneurs are reluctant to hire an outside attorney duo to the cost, but the fact is that it typically doesn’t rise to the level of full-time annual salary. Nevertheless, in order to make the most of it, you need to make sure there is versatility present – your chosen lawyer should have something beyond common legal knowledge, such as an experience as a work injury lawyer. Of course, it goes the same for every other core member of your team.
6. Don’t Underestimate School
Many young entrepreneurs consider the school as an obstacle to their business dreams, but the truth is that your university or college is a perfect start-up launchpad. It is practically an enormous hub of professors and eager peers, full of networking opportunities. Furthermore, every tuition comes with a number of free resources, and taking advantage of them could significantly reduce your starting costs. Last, but not least, true success requires both book and real-world smarts, and the former is the foundation you build upon.
7. Be Quick on Your Toes
Gone are the times when the business landscape was changing every couple of years – today this happens much faster and the only way not to miss opportunities is to be quick on your toes. In a modern world where trends change in an instant, the ability to adapt quickly is among the most valuable ones. This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t stay on the target, you just need to remain flexible at all times. If suddenly an entirely different world appears before your eyes, simply readjust and press on.
8. Catastrophe Forms Inside Your Head
We constantly hear about how many startups fail, but the truth is that most of them actually commit suicide. There isn’t any big catastrophe – founders simply get discouraged or bored once things get a bit dark and difficult. In other words, the catastrophe forms inside their heads because they don’t have enough willpower to see that things will be better tomorrow. You should look at the ups and downs coming your way as challenges you need to overcome to build your business. The same way Rome wasn’t built in a day neither was Google, Facebook, or Microsoft, and neither will be your business.
As you can see, these secrets are hidden in plain sight since they present quite logical steps for every startup. What differentiates young successful entrepreneurs from the rest is the ability to acknowledge them and put some time and effort into making them happen.