Starting a business is scary in any economic climate. You’re putting yourself on the line – your ideas, sweat, capital, time, and relationships – in the hope that your gamble of starting a business will pay off.
What do you need to succeed in business? Experts say that you need to have loads of persistence, passion, and hard work – and yes, luck. But there’s really no single winning formula that can guarantee the success of your business. You have just to do it, and do it right.
I’ve collected some of the tips we’ve given on PowerHomeBiz.com, as well as from other experts and authors, on what a startup entrepreneur needs to do to increase chances for success. Here are the initial 25 tips:
1. Develop a product or service that people will want to pay. Find out what your customers need and want. Watch them. Talk to them. Understand them. Ask them about their problems, and what types of solutions they think will address those problems. Give customers what they want, and they’d gladly pay you for it.
2. Define your business model. Think how your business will make money. Simply put, first identify where you will get the money (your customers) and then how you will get the money (sales, marketing and other strategies).
3. Don’t reinvent the wheel. You don’t have to invent the idea. McDonald’s did not invent hamburgers and Starbucks did not invent coffee. Instead, they pursued markets that already exist and did everything better.
4. Be unique and “do your thing.” Think differently and resist the urge to be a clone. Your business is unique. Instead of copying others, differentiate yourself through your concept or presentation. You may be offering the same products, but clearly define your unique selling proposition to help users see your business apart from your competitors. It is important to identify and concentrate on making the unique aspects of your business as superb as possible.
5. Work hard to give your customers quality products at a reasonable price. Meet client expectations so you can win their loyalty. However, be careful not to promise the world to your customers in your desire for them to love your product. Promise only what you can reasonably deliver at costs that are acceptable to you.
6. Know your customers. Be very clear about who your customer(s) will be. Who are they? What are they like? What are their motivations for buying your products or services? Where can you find them? What is the best way to communicate to them and reach them? The more you know about your customers, the more successful your business will be.
7. Don’t wait for perfection. If you’ve got a product or service in mind, you don’t have to wait until it is 100% perfect before you release it. Aiming for perfection is good, but it can hold you back. You need to start getting out there and be visible. Just be sure to listen to your customers’ feedback and adjust or modify your product as you go along.
8. Learn from – and fix – your inevitable mistakes. You will commit mistakes, some big and some small. But the key is what you learn from those mistakes, how you correct them, and how you improve your business based on those learning. Ultimately, like all successful entrepreneurs, your success will depend on how well you learn from your mistakes.
9. Build the right team for your business. The quality of your team – employees (if any), investors, professionals and strategic partners — will spell a huge difference in the success or failure of your business. In fact, many successful entrepreneurs consider the quality of people as key to success. Find people who share your passion and vision for what you want to accomplish with the business. Look for people who are ready to fully commit themselves to your business.
10. Provide customers with the ultimate buying experience. A bike is just like any other bike in any store, but think of ways you can sell your bike differently. Recreate in your business the best customer experience you have ever had, every time. Make the selling experience personal and interactive – and customers will love you for it.
11. Understand your market. Develop a clear understanding of the market and your competition (oh yes, you do have competitors). Businesses do not operate out of a vacuum, and it is important to learn as much as you can about the industry, the market and the players. You need to recognize competitive threats and opportunities; in order to give you time to prepare contingencies for either.
12. Keep realistic expectations. Starting a business is not easy. You’ve heard the statistics that 80 percent of all small businesses fail within five years – yet you think that yours is going to be different. Good for you to have that kind of optimism! But don’t forget for a minute that making money is hard, period. For some, it even takes up to a month, or worse, even six months before they even get a sale! Be prepared for these eventualities.
Read Part 2: 25 Tips to Startup Entrepreneurs