Determining why some startups soar to monumental heights while others crash before they’re even off the tarmac is almost impossible without a careful analysis of each individual case. Regardless, getting any startup off the ground will inevitably involve getting a number of difficult – but not impossible – factors right, includingthe ability to convert a vision into reality, take product from concept to delivery,hiring the right staff, developing the right contacts.This article will outline the fundamental tips that you should bear in mind when attempting to launch or grow your own startup.
Find a Mentor
Gaining advice from an entrepreneur of the founder of a more established startup will provide you with invaluable insight into the complex world of critical creative thinking, monetary negotiations, and emotional resolve that is needed to compete in business. While you may initially find reaching out to more established companies for free advice a little intimidating, if you approach your would-be mentor with respectful humility and gratitude you may well be pleasantly surprised atthe level of generosity you get in return. Though the start-up and entrepreneurial community may be used to combating harsh rejections and endless competition; it is, in the end, a community of like-minded, ambitious individuals who can relate to one another on the level of goals and desires. Once you’ve scored a meeting with a would-be mentor, be sure to prepare questions that are as specific as possible. Facilitating the development of a professional relationship with your mentor will hopefully lead to a lasting friendship. Like all relationships, mentorships take time to develop. Be patient, gracious and always follow up.
Developing a Network
Developing a network is a bit like finding a mentor, but in a more diffuse and indirect way. Your network may include those who provide advice, friendly competition, incentives, or even competitive frustration to collectively get your gears moving in the right direction. Reach out to other startups in your field or your area for a meet-up. While some may view this activity suspiciously, the key is to go grassroots –start locally. The entrepreneur or startup community in your areawill often be open to mutual learning, and certainly mutual commiseration. So reach out, be open and reap the rewards of projecting a positive attitude.
Finding the right people with whom to develop a network is not easy. One way of increasing your outreach and learning the skills to run a better business can be attending seminars and conferences about business development, investment, the financial climate, or venture capital. These seminars often take place in university or business environments, where it is traditionallyeasier to develop business connections.
Become an Expert
As an entrepreneur, you’re also going to be a problem solver. You have alreadydiscovered an issue, shortcoming or need in your field, and are filling that void with your business creativity. In order to sell yourself as a solution-oriented inventor you must develop a reputation for authority. In other words, do not expect a half-thought-out business plan to lead you down the path of success. Robust preparation, rigorous research, and experience in your field areinvaluable whether you are launching a new app or opening a self-serve ice cream shop.
Know your own Weaknesses—and Find a Team that Will Help
A good businessman is not born, but forged over time. Recognition of one’s weakness in business – be it a shy exterior, a tendency to jump in without thinking through consequences, or the desire to develop all facets of the business at once – is a key component of business survival. You will not automatically fail if you have a business flaw, but you will flounder if you believe you have none. Once you’ve identified your shortcomings, it is essential that you surround yourself with people who – while imperfect themselves – will complement your skills and make up for your deficiencies. Commonly quoted advice from the business world suggests hiring people who are smarter than you. While this may not always yield positive results, it is important to hire people who you know will fill the gaps in your skill set.
The Right Tools
You do not need to run out and buy the latest gadgets on the market to furnish your office. In fact, it’s probably best that you don’t diminish your funds with impulse buys, no matter how impressive they may seem from the outside. It will never be the brand of your smartphone or the size of your laptop that will determine your businesses success, but having the right tools will lend a level of professionalism, polish and confidence to your work. ‘Dressing for the job you want’should not only apply to your personal style and hygiene, but should be taken as a metaphor for projecting to others the success that you hope one day to accomplish. Investing in an innovative business tool -- like an ultra-thin and powerful Lenovo ultrabook with an HD display and Dolby sound or a highly responsive Samsung tablet -- will give you that air of confidence and control that any new business owner should hope to embody.
Now go ahead and put your new startup on the road to success! Remember that perseverance and patience are just as important as ambition and drive, so buckle up and prepare for a long ride.