Starting a business is a huge challenge. Many people have amazing ideas but are never brave enough to take the risk, start their own company and follow their dreams. This is an adventure that will be more than exciting but also exhausting. You should arm yourself with a lot of enthusiasm, patience, creativity and be ready for many sleepless nights.
Your employees will be looking at you for advice and example, so you need to make sure that you are well prepared to lead them. But being an entrepreneur doesn't mean you are all-mighty, and you know everything. So, be ready to do a lot of research. We are here to share with you seven things that you should know about startups to be better prepared.
1. Try to stick to your business plan
You already have a solid business plan that someone backed up with funding big enough to start with your business. This would mean that your business plan included everything needed for you to start your business and continue on your way to growth. So, it would be only logical to try to stick to it as much as possible.
The people who funded you will also want to be informed about your company's progress according to that business plan that they agreed to. This is one more reason for you not to deviate from it too much. Try to follow all the steps and achieve your goals one by one. Aiming higher is always good but don't try to be an overachiever in the expenses of overworking yourself and your employees.
However, sometimes it is not completely possible to stick to the letter of your business plan. And this is also fine. Maybe you won't be able to achieve all of your goals for the first trimester, or the development cycle will take a week or two more, but this is not fatal. Try not to panic if something like this happens but analyze why it happened and how you can avoid being in the same situation again.
2. Keep a close eye on your budget
No matter how significant your funding is, you need to ensure that it is used in the best way. This might be hard because you can be tempted to overspend here and there in the beginning. For example, you would like your site to be ready ahead of schedule. To achieve this, you perhaps will decide to invest more in the development and the design, which can exhaust the part of the budget for this task faster or even go above it.
Always think about the big picture when it comes to your budget because it should be spent wisely for all your activities. Try to make a clear plan of how much should go for development, marketing, accounting, HR, etc. Of course, if marketing doesn't spend all of their budgets, you can redirect it to another team, but never do it before checking if, in this example, the marketing team will have enough for everything planned by the end of this fiscal cycle.
Keep track of your spending and earnings. Based on your revenue, you might increase your budget for one team or another but never plan to spend too much. Your investors will want to see an impeccable accounting book in which you don't want to have too many spendings listed. It won't look too good for new potential investors as well.
3. Find the right people to work with
You can't manage everything yourself, and finding the right people to work with might be the key to success. Make a list of the people you think you might need to assist you and what you want in your team. Finding other motivated people with great ideas will be the next step.
Don't neglect any of the positions in a company. You might think that an HR or an office manager is not needed initially. How hard can it be to hire people and pay salaries on time? Or to manage an office – you just restock the coffee from time to time, right? But it is not exactly like that. A professional HR will know precisely what questions to ask during an interview and detect red flags. It will also help manage current employees and guarantee they feel well in the company. An office manager will take everything in your office, from arranging the cleaning to having everything in stock. No role is too small or not significant enough, so find the right person for each one.
You will need a lot of support, especially in the beginning. You are not alone, and you shouldn't be. Make sure you are hiring the right person for each position. After all, those people will be the ones helping you and your company on its way to success. Mistakes can happen anyway, so maybe the first person you hire might not be the perfect fit, but don't give up. You will find the ideal people to support you.
4. Don't underestimate marketing
Your idea is for sure great, and it might be something very innovative that nobody thought of before. This could make you believe that people will just start buying your product or subscribe to your services at once. But how would that happen if they don't know your company exists? This is why you shouldn't neglect the power of marketing.
Preparing your site and user communication is just the start. Promoting your site or product on the right channels in the right way is crucial too. Investing in marketing will guarantee that people will find you through organic searches but because of your paid activities too. The more extensive reach you have, the bigger the chances to get many promising potential users.
5. Try to build your network
In many ways, you are the face of your company. So you will have to represent it at events, on social media, and even in your daily life and contacts. Trying to build an extensive network of contacts can be very beneficial not only because some of them can be potential customers but also partners. Many great startups are out there, and connecting with their founders can be fun and valuable.
Exchanging ideas and finding new partners can be another way to take your company to the next level. For example, perhaps another startup owner found a way to achieve something you have trouble with and can advise you on it. Or you can start a referral network where you recommend customers to one another.
6. Be prepared for anything
We are always hoping for the best in each of our new endeavors. However, not everything is going according to plan all the time. So, being prepared to accept failure or take a minor step back is something you should be ready to overcome.
Not every failure will put you back at the starting line. It might extend your deadline and cost you a lot of nerves, but the most important in this situation would be to analyze it and make sure it doesn't repeat.
7. You should never give up
No matter what, don't give up on your company. It is tough to be an entrepreneur and have a startup. It can even be scary at times. But you already took the first and most important step – you started, and you have the needed funding. Now it is up to you and your colleagues. Don't stop believing in your success even when everything seems very difficult.
So what's next…
What you should know about startups is a very vast topic, and the seven tips we gave you here are not covering even half of it. If you are thinking of starting a business, you should be prepared that it is not easy, but it is very gratifying. You can't even imagine the joy you will feel once you see the first positive results and achieve your goals.