Be the 25 Percent: 25 Tips to Make Your Startup a Success (Part II)

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.

Network online

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.

Negotiate everything

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.

Start marketing

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.

Small Business Development Center assistance is for anyone interested in beginning, improving or expanding a small business. The SBDC specializes in individual counseling while offering services in a confidential environment. These services are offered at no cost. Call (575) 527-7676 for an appointment with a business advisor, or email sbdcinfo@nmsu.edu. More information may be found at www.nmsbdc.com/lascruces/index.html.

The Gardner Learning Center is one of four satellite campuses for Western New Mexico University. Since 1994, we have provided undergraduate college classes to Sierra County. Our mission is to offer affordable access to education with an appreciation for the multicultural, multilingual nature of our population. We have a commitment to the professional growth of our students, staff and community with an eye toward the future needs of the people of southwestern New Mexico. Call (575) 894-9050 or go to www.wnmu.edu/ExtUniv/glc/index.shtml for more information.


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