It’s no secret that most startups will fail, and majority of the cases are caused by not knowing how and why to take action. Another common mistake made by startup founders is founding a company with the aim of making a ton of money. If you found a tech startup with the aim of making a lot of money, you’re either poor in math or are harboring delusions because the odds of making a windfall via that means are next to zero. This is not a deterrent to potential tech startup founders, but a warning about starting such a venture with the wrong motivations. This article is a checklist of sorts, outlining some essential things you should know if you startup is to succeed.
- Make something you believe in that will also sell: As opposed to just making something you want to sell, if you want to have a successful business, build something you believe in so that in the low periods when your business is facing a rough patch, the belief that you have in your product will help you power through. Then make sure it’s something that will sell. Do your market research thoroughly before launching to avoid being just another startup making a product or offering a service that nobody is interested in.
- Assume you will spend more than you budget for and earn less than you project: always be pessimistic with the numbers when planning if you want to build a successful business. This doesn’t mean you’re settling for low returns, it just means you’re preparing for the worst while hoping for the best. Assumptions like this will help you measure the efforts required to sell and market the product or service you are providing. Generally, businesses spend about 30% more than they initially project so you need to be prepared for that eventuality.Also read: How to fix poor spending habits.
- Make sales and marketing a priority: As far as business is concerned, sales is king. Until you make a sale, nothing has happened. From the start you need to make the efforts towards getting not just several customers, but have repeat business from them. Find a marketing system that you can put into effect and measure its effects on your sales. A lot of entrepreneurs wait to build the right brand before trying to generate leads to make sales. While your brand is important, if you don’t have customers, there would be no business to have a brand for. Invest in selling first and you can build your brand from the ground up later.
- Find a mentor: Seeing things from an unbiased point of view can totally change the way you operate your business. Even if you can’t get your hands on a seasoned business mentor, find someone who will give objective analysis that you can rely on to hold you to a higher standard than you currently are currently operating at.
- Continue learning: There is a saying: learning comes before earning. And every entrepreneur must accept this. Commit to learning as much as possible about sales, marketing, project management and other necessary skills you will need if you want to build a successful business. Knowing and applying those simple fundamentals in a highly leveraged way is one of the ways many top executives and entrepreneurs build successful businesses and earn so much. Identify the areas you need skills in and decide to either learn yourself or hire an expert and learn as much as you can from them.
- Have reserves: For periods of bad luck and the inevitable blunders you will make. Good advice, but most times not easy to take. How many startups or even growth companies have a reliable cash reserve? In spite of this, it’s always a good idea to run as lean as you possibly can and not waste money if you want to build a successful business. You will endure mistakes and bad luck along the way, so having a good war chest full of capital and energy will only benefit you in the long run.
- Focus on the long-term: Building a successful business is a marathon, not a sprint. You need guts as well as patience and the ability to pace yourself. Think of it as you would climbing a mountain. All the preparation, training and planning involved also apply in building a successful business. No one just decides to climb the mountain, travels over there and starts climbing it. The same way you need to make preparations and training with the long task ahead in mind is how you should focus on making decisions and building mechanisms with the long game in mind.