When starting a business not everything will be rainbows and butterflies, there will be a number of things that will go wrong, and the universe will do everything in its power to push you down to your knees. However all this trauma can be avoided if you plan prudently. We are listing down a number of Do’s and Don’ts of starting a business. There is no right way of doing it but learning from other entrepreneurs mistakes is the best way to do it.
- What about the small picture?
We are often so focused on the bigger picture of things we seldom think about the little things, the little things are just as important, actually I deem them to be more important because the little things add up to form the bigger picture. Business often make a mission statement at the start which is great, if you have a mission statement you’re on the right track, but the jest of the mission is often too broad and can get lost in translation. A mission statement needs to supported by a number of ideas and plans which will help you achieve the picture you wish to achieve with your startup. The best thing to do is; for every objective come up with revenue drivers and for every revenue driver come up with cost drivers. This way you know how much it’s going to cost you and how much you’re going to get out of it.
- Where’s the money?
Many entrepreneurs are business people with business qualifications and a similar mindset, what most of them lack is accounting knowledge which is key to starting a business. When you work your way to starting a business think like an accountant. Every entrepreneur has an idea of the startups financial position but it’s important that those ideas are mapped out on paper. It is just as important to have trusted tax and financial advisors as it is to have a business logo. You need to know where exactly your money is coming from and where it’s going, how well it is being utilized, is it underutilized, do you have other ways of utilizing it apart from your core business operations? These are the questions you need to ask yourself early on because majority of the startups fail because they lack liquidity.
- Your business is as good as the people
There is no right or wrong way of doing this because you can never know how a person will do by just interviewing them, but the best way of doing it is to hire people who are similar to you in terms of thinking. When people are wired the same way in the head there is a chance that their approach to work will be similar to yours. It’s better to appoint creative people than people who go by the book. Personally I feel that creative minds might not be the most intellectual but they have the maximum amount of room for growth and that is the winning factor for most businesses. Also I don’t quite understand why most business look for work experience? I feel the newer the person is in the market the easier it will be to mold them to your business culture because they won’t have anything to compare it to. You can train them on how you want your work and that is what you’ll get.
- Technology ‘A’ game not present
The technology lingo is alien to many entrepreneurs and so not having an adequate social media presence can hamper the growth of the business or can put a cap on the business outreach. Now I would suggest taking a software development, web designing course which will enable you to at least understand the basics if not the depth of the matter. I thoroughly believe that universities should offer these courses to business students as the future is all technology. It is important that you are comfortable with how your website looks, how much information it provides, is the quality good. Technology should not be restricted to social media but it is important to know how the system within the business works. Hiring competent IT staff is the initial step but ensuring that enough funds are allotted to research and development is vital. A good research and development team ensures the future of the business and it is important to be involved in such matters during the seed stage.
- Angel or demon?
It is absolutely vital that when picking out an appropriate investor or investment strategy you have your thinking cap on. I say this because this can be a major step up or down for your business. Even though an investor may have the same objectives as you , the future can be quite different. I call this the ‘Angel chat 101’ where you sit with potential investors and you have a frank conversation about the future prospects, growth strategy, level of risk you are willing to take. Discussing matter on risk and coming to a common ground is either a seal the deal or no way in hell for me. If the investor is unwilling and you can’t reach common ground then chances are that the relationship might not work out. Most startups feel that they can’t be picky about venture capitalists, I beg to differ. I will never marry someone just because imp ugly and as soon as a guy comes sweeping me off my feet I will cave in. You need to be sure about the investment, make a list of things you want to see in your investor and pick the one which ticks the most boxes.
- Don’t be cheap, market.
Most businesses don’t spend enough on marketing. Many deem it to be money thrown down a hill. But trust me marketing is the deal sealer here. Most companies feel that they don’t have to market their product because they already have customers. WRONG. Somewhere out there is a business marketing away and stealing your customer base. Now that we have that out of the way, let’s talk about the quality of marketing that businesses do, some of the adverts I’ve seen are just downright cringe worthy! If you want to attract a good loyal client base attract them with good quality content. There are so many advertising agencies that do some phenomenal work, spend that extra cash and get yourself a daddy, it’s about time you do.