By Rob Young
Head of Digital and Moo.com.UK
Last week we discussed the first 12 tips to avoid becoming one of the 75 percent of startups that fail. How can you make sure that your new business won’t be one of them? Here are the rest of the tips to help you be a success!
Don’t plan forever
Don’t get caught in the trap of thinking that since you’re planning, you’re being productive. Planning must make way for doing – preferably sooner rather than later, so use your time wisely.
Carry on planning
Once you’ve done a bit of doing, go ahead and go back to planning. Constantly re-evaluating your business and the direction it’s going in can help you find opportunities for growth.
Anticipate the future
Nobody can know for sure what tomorrow will bring, but if you keep yourself informed and learn how to spot upcoming trends, you’ll be much more likely to successfully predict the future.
However, no one can predict everything – you’re only human, after all – so make sure you and your business are flexible enough to react to surprises quickly. Don’t follow in the footsteps of movie rental company Blockbuster, the latest business to have failed in recent years because of their inability to roll with the punches.
Harness the power of social media to help connect you with potential employees, partners, clients, providers or people that can promote your product or service.
But don’t forget offline opportunities
Step away from the computer, put away your smartphone, and find people in real life at conferences and networking events. The connection you can make with a person face-to-face is naturally stronger than one mediated between screens. And of course, don’t forget a professional business card to turn your encounter into a relationship.
Surround yourself with the right people
Networking is a means to an end – you need to establish who is worth your time and who isn’t. Don’t underestimate the value of someone useful, and similarly, don’t underestimate the destructive potential of someone who isn’t.
Be dedicated to work
Launching a startup is not like having a regular 9 to 5 job. If you want to avoid failure, you have to be prepared to fit your life around work. It may seem like working for yourself will mean better hours, but to be successful, you’ll most likely be going way over the standard 40-hour work week. On the bright side, whatever results from your hard work is entirely your own.
But find time to relax
While any entrepreneur must expect an increased workload, you still need to find time to unwind. Without being able to occasionally relax, you’ll inevitably suffer from burnout, causing more damage to your business.
Whenever a price is quoted to you, remember that a healthy proportion of that is profit margin. Can you lower that margin for your benefit? You might not always be able to coordinate a discount, but it’s worth remembering one of life’s most important rules: if you don’t ask, you don’t get.
Develop an elevator pitch
Of course, if you want to convince the vital people that you’re worth their time, you’ll have to capture their attention within 30 seconds. If you can develop an elevator pitch that will intrigue people and show your idea has potential in that amount of time, you’ll inevitably be afforded more time to discuss matters with them later.
If people don’t know you exist, you can’t expect positive results. Whatever your budget, there are things you can do (like tip #17) to start getting the word about your start up out now – tweet, contact blogs and tell everyone willing to listen about your new venture.
Don’t give up
In many cases, startups don’t fail – the people behind them give up. The single most effective thing you can do to make your startup a success? Refuse to throw in the towel.
An archive of SBDC Business Reports can be found at http://www.grantcountybeat.com/index.php/archived-items.
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