If you are thinking about joining the start-up culture you might’ve noticed there’s a sea of conflicting advice out there. Although there is no perfect formula for launching a small business, there are some guidelines you should follow – and some mistakes to avoid. These are our top 10 pro tips for how to turn your brilliant business idea into a thriving success.
1. Address excuses
Forget money, forget time; what’s really stopping you from becoming an entrepreneur? This is the time to be honest with yourself, address your fears, and address every excuse holding you back. Worrying about the risk of a new business venture is normal. The stakes are high, but overcoming adversity is the first step in proving you have what it takes to succeed.
2. Absorb everything
You’re not the first person to start a new business; there are many who have tried (and failed) before you. Good news! This means you have a lot of teachers, and smart entrepreneurs learn from the mistakes other business owners have made. Do your research, talk to people. What are their reactions to your idea? Above all, don’t ignore advice from the experts; there’s a reason they made it to where they are.
3. Be a solution
My ex-boss, many years ago, once said to me ‘Don’t come to me with problems, come to me with solutions.’ I wasn’t a natural problem-solver at the time, but I quickly learnt to become one. His words stuck with me and have helped me throughout all aspects of my life, more than just my career. It requires initiative – to think outside the box. Rather than making your business about what to sell, ask what problem does it solve? Once you have a solution, you have a market.
4. Avoid cheap clients
Times can feel desperate for business owners just starting out, and clients smell that desperation a mile away. Some will try to lowball you on your quotes and negotiate discounts, but don’t be fooled into thinking that is just how it’s done. These are the clients to avoid. No matter how generous your favours, they will never be fully satisfied with your work. Set a precedence from the start that you know your worth and will not concede to unrealistic client demands.
5. Get paid up front
The expense of a new start-up can leave your bank balance teetering on dangerous turf. You cannot afford to carry the debt of your client’s unpaid bills, particularly if it is your sole source of income. It may feel cheeky, but it’s not unreasonable to request upfront payment of your services, and if they don’t pay – you don’t work.
6. Earn while you build
Starting a small business is not an overnight success; it is a process. To avoid draining your financial well, keep your day job while you grow your business. Building clients and a steady income takes time, so make sure you have a healthy inflow of cash as you make the transition from employee to entrepreneur.
7. Don’t break the law
It’s easy to become swept away in your exciting new venture, but there’s a serious side to starting a business. You need to understand the rules and regulations and follow legal protocols to avoid being slapped with steep penalties. This includes: business registration, accounting, tax liabilities, and adhering to employer laws as you hire new workers.
8. Balance passion with knowledge
Passion for your business is the sole driver behind your motivation and perseverance. But passion is meaningless if you don’t have knowledge. Conduct market research on same or similar products, talk to potential clients and question the experts about launching a start-up. Your knowledge will direct you where to go, while your passion is the fuel to get you there.
9. Speak up about your business
If you’re worried about what people might think of your business idea, you need to get over it. Being an entrepreneur requires a certain amount of gumption; you need to bold and outgoing, and not afraid to tell people about your business. If you’re passionate about what you’re doing, speak with confidence and conviction. If you must, fake it til you make it. Success lies on the other side of your comfort zone.
10. Keep it simple
First and foremost, you are starting a business. The goal is to make money, and if your concept snowballs out of control you risk overcomplicating the process. Create a simple, quality product or service that will meet and exceed customer expectations. It’s not good offering them the world if you can’t see through on your promises. You don’t need to compete with the big fish – as a small business you should start small, then let your business grow organically.
Finally, always look to the future. You may be starting a small business, but your ability to think big is what will set you apart from the pack. Trust your intuition, set aside your ego, and do what every other success story before you did – just have a go!
- What’s the difference between running a small business and running a successful small business? Good habits. Just like developing good personal habits can help you succeed as an entrepreneur, developing good business habits is equally as important. If your business is not performing as well as you’d like it to,…