So, I received quite a number of emails early this month to share some insights on managing a new business venture and the things to expect.
First of all, expect nothing: just enjoy the free ride of the adventures. The secret to the process and eventually mastering the craft of entrepreneurship, is to treat this new venture of yours as new born baby.
The excitement, the enthusiasm, little to heartbreaking surprises, stress and all the sleepless nights that will come along with running the business will be worth a growing experience.
Now, if you can’t imagine the joy that comes with having a little baby, how about the tickling nervousness you feel when you fall in love? Aha, you got it now. Treat your new venture like your first love.
A brief look at how this fresh love crush will impact your ‘baby business’:
- Having the zeal to do more: getting tasks done and completing schedules.
- Openness to creativity: hatching unique ways to improve, grow and stay relevant
- Willingness to serve more; selflessness and understanding of target needs
- Showing credibility and trustworthiness: getting committed to business services, demand and delivery
- Assertiveness: Self-assurance and determination to make the business work, to succeed.
- Most importantly, paying attention (to new clients and customers if you’re lucky to have one or two during your inception, or perhaps your family and friends who volunteers as your ‘test’ customers)
There would be splits of emotion and cluelessness but, they are what makes running a business captivating and sure, there’s no shame to find yourself lost sometimes: regardless, they keep you on your toes to get things done.
In No Order, Here Are 16 Basic Tips for Struggling Startup Newbies
- Don’t rush the process
Take a deep breath: nothing will make sense if you do not patiently take one step in a time. You will only scowl to no progress. Don’t be in a hurry to setup and start banking some good cash.
Every business phase will rightly position you for growth and success if you allow your business go through them.
- Have a core plan
A core plan is essential to running a profitable business. You can’t do without it: like a target without an aim. This well documented plan is your entire business. I do not see a successful business without it. In order to save yourself from shutting down even before you start, get your business a solid plan and make it your foolproof.
- Grasp a few lessons from the pros
Every entrepreneur was once a newbie: nobody can ever know it all.
Business is dynamic and as much as the business economy is constantly evolving, businesses are opened to improvements and new ideas. Get mentoring if possible or some good tips and motivation from iconic entrepreneurs. You will certainly not head down for a fall from ‘too much knowledge’, just get some help!
- Get your acts together
Knowing what to do, when to do it and when not is key to productivity. You must avoid rushing to meeting deadlines and galloping through schedules if you want to be a doer. Often times, even well-organized entrepreneurs fail to have it all together: trust that zero percent output will be the end results.
Create your own workable routines and schedules, groom healthy habits and stay balanced.
- Start Small
Yes, some business ventures can be capital intensive, but why scare yourself out through the roof with outrageous starting capital? The hidden truth to starting small isn’t about how much money you have to kickstart with, but how smart you can start with what’s available. There’s a way: it has always been done with little. Don’t break the bank and go running back to it for loans.
How a startup can fund itself to survival, indicates a good foundation for its financial management and attracts potential investors.
- Cognize Some Market Insights
A business’ ability to drive above market growth hinges on the depth of its consumer insights and how effectively its translated into action.
- Use ‘Cheap ‘Effective Marketing
Marketing your business can be expensive, but, for a startup, even a little can mean a lot of cash. Technology is cheap if you find your way around it. Many startup owners are maximizing social media for a higher outcome.
There are many social marketing platforms today that equally serve the purpose of the traditional marketing channels which appears to be at high-priced for small businesses. Identify these ‘cheap’ mediums and make headway.
- Define Your Offerings – Services/ Products
Precise, identifiable, rememberable, attractive and resonates with the customer’s needs: that’s how straight to the point your offerings must be defined. This can be quite some work, but for easy market penetration and curving a perfect market niche for your services and products, these key characteristics of a well-defined services must be covered.
- Go easy on pricing
Quite complicated but, once you’re able to grasp all the factors that contributes to setting just the right pricing mechanism for your service or product, you will not have to sell for too low or high, over-price or in between. (Get detailed article on how to determine pricing via our blog: www.thestartupreneurs.com)
- Postpone Hiring
It’s never too late or too early for startup businesses to hire. It’s actually best to hire when you have too much workloads and business activities to cover. Before you decide to form a workforce or a team, consider how much of work or contracts comes in, what sections of the work you can handle and allocate, how much income you make to cater for team/salary expenditure and an alternative hiring solution. Don’t be in a hurry.
- Create a goal score
This tip I never miss out to share with my startup clients. Creating a goal score keep tracks of things you’ve successfully completed.
It also motivates the startup and gives them a feel of success to want to do more. A goal score can be on your business calendar, daily activities, monthly schedules or projects. It also keeps track of what your business is doing well with and not, keeps records of growth and what you miss out on. (Need a little help with what a goal score looks like, you can request for one via email: email@example.com)
- Expect less and be opened for setbacks
Business success and growth takes time and with rare commitment. You must learn to survive setbacks and have less expectations from little head-starts.
Especially in the beginning phases of many startup businesses, it’s quite acceptable to encounter few setbacks, but the work of an entrepreneur is to turn such mistakes and failures into opportunities for success. Many successful entrepreneurs today, will tell you how at some point in their careers, they anticipated that they were going to fail: I did too. What made the difference between the forgotten and the successful ones is that, they focused on battling their way through what seemed impossibly undefeatable times.
- Build Business Relationship
Building business relationship is key to long term success. No matter what industry you operate in, building relationship will foster your growth. They can cut across business to business, or business to customers etc. Working to develop a solid business relationship brings great benefits. This goes beyond just developing one: it must be nurtured with trust, loyalty, and of mutual benefit.
- Spend Wisely
Create weekly, monthly expenditures, spend within budgets, borrow less or nothing, have financial projections and forecast to improve your cashflow and financial stability. Many startups barely have any money, and so being financially disciplined can be a distress. Consequently, the need to have a financial plan.
- Communicate Smartly
Avoid communication traps as much as possible. Make your message simple, clear and to target. Communicating your brand or business message may appear as the easiest thing but messages can often be misinterpreted or misconstrued by customers and running into risks for damage control. Your campaigns, social media contents, marketing – telling your story must always carry the right message.
- Stay Focus – Lose the distractions
Distractions will come in many forms to derail your progress. You will be tempted to venture into other lucrative ventures and be attracted to emerging ideas and trending businesses: keep focus. You will lose sight of what needs to be done, trying to keep up with the market competition, but you must forget about being competitive and build a brand that will speak volumes for itself.
Personal life issues, will interfere with work but, learn to create a balance to avoid burnout and depression. Feed your focus!
Harmony Attise is the CEO of Commec Ghana, a leading business development & marketing company, business entrepreneur, startup and small business consultant and a writer.
She’s been listed 100 Most Outstanding Women Entrepreneurs in Ghana – Dec 2017 by TANOE. A finalist awardee for Africa’s Most Influential Women In Business & Gov’t 2016- For professional Business services, and Best SME, Ghana -2017 by CEO Global, South Africa.
Her company, Commec Ghana was awarded the Best female -owned Marketing company- Ghana by MEA Awards (Middle East), 2016. She’s also a YALI alumni and a New Leader of the Crans Montana Forum For Tomorrow’s Leaders.