Read Part 1: How to Launch a Successful Startup
Keep your expenses and spending as lean as you can for as long as you can. It is important that you don’t spend what you don’t have! You don’t need a fancy office at the start of your business, or an office space in the high-rise tower in downtown. If you can hold off hiring that additional programmer or administrative assistant, then save your resources instead.
Avoid the mistake of spending what you think will come in – remember, payment can be delayed, or worse, the money may not even come in at all. You’ll be stuck with all the bills but without the money to pay for them, and that could spell the end of your business. Spend only what is absolutely necessary and forego things that are not critical to your current operations.
8. Get the right partners.
Bringing in a third party into the business – whether as a business partner or investor – is one of the most important business decisions you will make. Like marriage, if you choose the wrong one, your business can be in a lot of trouble and it will be a pain to work with them.
With a business partner, determine first the compatibility of your mindsets and entrepreneurial styles. It is important that you share the same vision with a potential partner. Find one that complements your knowledge and expertise, even one who may be smarter than you. Before you jump in and take the partner into the business, get to know each other; you don’t want a situation where you can’t stand working with the other person just a month into the partnership.
Most important of all, never ever start the partnership without any signed agreements at all. Have a clear partnership agreement, including a buy-sell agreement in the event you or the partner wants out of the business. Even the closest of relationships and friendships end badly when business partnerships turn sour.
9. Develop a culture of success in your organization.
Business success and your work culture are linked tightly together. The way you do things in your business must be conducive to success – and this requires a strong leadership and focus.
The culture of a business is set through the owner’s leadership – what is acceptable and not acceptable to you as well as the basis with which you reward employees. The process by which you, and your employees (if any) do things should be geared towards the attainment of business short and long-term goals. Everyone in your business must be on the same page, whether the task at hand is accounting to selling to developing a brand strategy.
10. Conduct regular business and market review.
It is important that you take time to regularly review, revisit and revise your business strategy. Look at changes in the overall economic situation, analyze your industry and determine how and where your business stands.
Your business does not operate in a vacuum, and it is essential that you take time to analyze where opportunities for your business lie. If the assumptions and strategies with which you started the business are no longer applicable, then be flexible enough to modify them and even possibly change your business model.
11. Learn, and keep on learning.
Your willingness to learn can play a huge role in your success as an entrepreneur. Whether you think you have the smarts to become a successful entrepreneur, or you have no idea how to become one, continuously educating yourself is important. Keep yourself informed and read — a lot. Read about stories of other successful entrepreneurs, how to improve yourself and your productivity, and read about what is happening in your industry. Always make time to read books, top blogs, and business and trade publications.
Learning gives you the confidence and inspiration to do things and pursue your vision. It also gives you intelligence into the market, what’s happening now, what might happen next. It can also play a really important role in connecting you with other people you need to know in business.
Learning can also take the form of talking to fellow entrepreneurs, and asking for their advice or mentorship support and assistance.
12. Prepare for changes.
Be ready to make the shift. When you start the business, the key driver to the success of your startup is your entrepreneurial fortitude. It is your vision, drive and passion that will spur the business.
However, as your business grow, the needs of your business changes and you will require help in developing and executing your vision. Hence, your managerial skills become critical.
Examine your new role when you start growing your business: you may be a great founder, but a poor manager. You need to know how to manage people in conflict, as differences are very likely to come up in any organization. Learn how to shift your role in the business.
Take time to learn and understand how to manage employees. And if you think you are better off doing other things for the business other than managing the staff, hire a professional manager for your business and focus on what you think you do best.
At the end of the day, your goal is to create the best business you can possibly be, and do the best that you can – and enjoying the process along the way.
Read Part 1: How to Launch a Successful Startup