Age is no parameter to define how successful you will be as an entrepreneur.
No successful entrepreneur had everything figured out from the beginning.
But, the road to success isn’t an exact cut route. You would have to face numerous risks, obstacles, and pitfalls on your way. If you want to make your business idea work, you have to stand against raging storms.
The silver lining in the dark cloud is that many people have survived them and have shared their best-kept secrets of success to encourage budding entrepreneurs.
Here are ten success tips that will help you run your startup steadily and successfully, even at a young age.
Focus on A Business Idea That Sells Now
The product or service you are going to introduce to the market might have a lot of potentials – according to you. But, what’s important is to know if it fits the market requirements.
- Will consumers actually pay for your idea?
- Does the market need it?
- Would you be able to sell it?
These questions can’t wait until you have started the business because “lack of market need” is the primary reason for startup failure (Source: CB Insights).
It’s also important to emphasize that market needs are time-bound. You have to introduce a business idea at the right time.
Imagine you selling typewriters today. It’s hard to see your business surviving, yeah? Just like that, a business idea that’s too far-fetched for the present times may not survive as well.
Do you know that many great startups have failed because they arrived too early?
Although they pulsed with immense potential to revolutionise the business world, the market just wasn’t ready to accept them.
Pets.com, a startup that tried to introduce an eCommerce store for pet supplies, met a similar fate and vanished with the dot-com bubble. The market for it formed much later, and today, it’s a huge business! (Source: Business Insider)
In case you are unsure about your idea – I recommend taking one of the small business online courses focused on idea evaluation to understand the viability of your idea.
Be Passionate About What You Do
Passion is equally important as market need. If you start a business only because it can be financially rewarding, you have failed to grasp the true art of entrepreneurship.
A lot of giants like Apple and Walt Disney were results of the passionate desires of their founders. Steve Jobs has said, “People with Passion Can Change the World” (Source: Forbes).
If you are not passionate about the business, you won’t be half as dedicated or motivated as you should be.
It becomes difficult to overcome the obstacles that you face, and your tendency to give up will be really high.
But, there’s a thin line between being passionate and being overly passionate, where the latter can backfire. If you are excessively passionate, you lose focus on realistic aspects and ruin your startup.
Have a Solid Business Plan
Creating a business plan for a new business is essential because it’s one of the most useful tools an entrepreneur can have. It clearly defines the path in which you should head to achieve your goals and objectives.
One straight fact about a good business plan is that they are well-detailed as opposed to random sketches or outlines of your business strategies. This is also a reason good enough for young entrepreneurs to delay drafting a business plan because they are time-consuming.
But, here’s why you should do it anyway. Research-backed data reveals that business plans have the potential to help businesses grow by 30% (Source: Bplans).
Here are some points to note:
- Your business plan should clearly state your vision and mission to set the direction for your venture
- It should highlight how you intend to finance the business and how you are going to spend it
- It should also explicitly state your marketing and PR strategies
- Briefly focus on the means of expanding your business network for growth
Business plans are also crucial to attract the right investors to your business. Did you know that your startup is 2.5 times likely to get funded if you have a complete plan? So, please don’t skip it!
Mistakes are a Part of Your Learning Curve
“Your most unhappy customers are your greatest source of learning” – take this million-dollar worth quote from Bill Gates to look at your mistakes from a new perspective.
If you expect your new business to flood with positive reviews and smiling customers, you are living under an illusion.
Mistakes are part and parcel of every entrepreneurial journey, and it’s up to you to let them make or break you. They help you understand customer pain points better and fix them.
Some mistakes can indeed cause terrible PR for your business. But, if you succumb to it, you will keep drowning.
Coca-Cola once made the grave mistake of replacing their original drink with a sweetened version called “New Coke” and customers rejected it right away. The company rebranded its original version as “Coca-Cola Classic” and brought it back, winning back their beloved customers in no time (Source: Business Insider).
So, the next time you go wrong with an advertisement or a sales pitch, focus on how you can make it better or turn it into an opportunity!
Pay Attention to Time Management
As an entrepreneur, you would have to wear many hats, juggling multiple tasks to make your idea work. This would also mean you would be working around the clock, draining mugs and mugs of caffeine to keep you powered up.
Sometimes, no matter how long you work, you would still feel there’s not enough time to complete your tasks.
What can you do about it?
As Henry David Thoreau puts it:
It’s not enough to be busy, so are the ants. The question is, what are we busy about?
If you need to achieve both your short-term and long-term goals effectively, it’s essential to optimise your time by prioritising and focusing on things that matter the most.
Manage your time by:
- Categorising the tasks to be done based on their importance and urgency
- Planning ahead, so you can start with a strong motivation
- Allocating tasks that need to be done into specific time slots of the week
- Breaking down a mammoth task into smaller, easily achievable tasks
Managing your time can help you remain productive, focus on your goals clearly, and combat stress.
Embrace Risks and Opportunities
As an entrepreneur, you embrace the first risk when you start your business venture. The risk could be even greater if you have limited funds, resources, as well as experience.
But, that doesn’t make risks less scary. Many of us, in our early entrepreneurial days, shy away from risks because we identify it with failure.
But, experts in the entrepreneurial industry couple risk with opportunities.
As Jeff Bezos has put it (Source: Medium):
If you decide that you are going to do only the things you know are going to work, you’re going to leave a lot of opportunity on the table.
So, it would help if you didn’t hesitate to step out of your comfort zone, take the risk, and try out new opportunities.
The expertise that you gain from embarking on new opportunities is invaluable and it will teach you how to handle your business better in future. If it turns out to be fair, you will be a step ahead. If it turns out bad, at least you know that you tried.
Manage Your Finances Carefully
Let’s say you have successfully managed to raise a significant amount of funds to kickstart your business. Your next most significant challenge is to manage it carefully to ensure you don’t run out of cash sooner than you think.
As per CB Insights, 20% of business failures account for running out of cash. You don’t want to be one of them. If a business runs out of money, it’s staring at its doom.
So, how can you make sure you won’t go on a shopping spree just because you have cash?
- Think twice before you spend on anything.
- Prioritise your expenses based on their importance and urgency. As an example, paying rent is essential but buying a decorative picture frame to charm your clients IS NOT.
- Cut back expenses wherever possible by hiring the bare minimum number of employees and hiring second-hand items.
For many small businesses, the only reliable financial backup is their investment until they gain a strong foothold in the market. So, it’s essential to be cautious about your spending habits.
Don’t Hesitate to Start with Limited Resources
Not every business owner has the privilege of starting a business with personal capital.
Similarly, not every entrepreneur gets the opportunity to be financed by strong investors or venture capitalists. If stats are to be believed, less than 1% of startups that wait in line get funded by venture capital (Source: Forbes).
But it’s okay. It doesn’t mean that your startup idea cannot see the light of day. Google was born in a garage, Sara Blakely’s Spanx mainly grew from word of mouth marketing, and Facebook was started in Zuckerberg’s university dorm room (Source: Bluehost).
So, don’t be discouraged by the limited resources you have at your disposal. If you cannot spend on marketing methods, think of cost-effective ways in which you can spread the word around about your business.
Social media is a great platform, to begin with. SEO and PPC ads too. Don’t underestimate the word of mouth marketing either. If you can’t afford an office space yet, think about starting your venture at home.
Treat Your Customers Well
Customers should be the primary focus of your business. If you want your business to thrive and grow in the market, you have to attract and retain a loyal customer base.
But, the task is not so easy, especially when you have plenty of rivals for competition. Even if your business is built based on a unique idea, you still have to invest a lot of effort to gain visibility.
So, how can you stand out from the rest and put on a show that captivates your target audience?
The answer is to provide a fabulous customer experience. Making your customers feel special, acknowledged, and respected can help you retain them much better than delivering products at a lower price (Source: SuperOffice). This is because it’s no longer difficult for customers to find great products but great brands are a rarity.
As a startup entrepreneur:
- You have to make efforts to engage with your customers and build amicable relationships.
- Create a strong online and offline presence to assist your customers as promptly as possible.
- Make sure you provide them with satisfactory customer service. In fact, 96% of customers identify customer service as a significant determinant of loyalty (Source: Forbes).
Don’t Stop Researching
According to W. Edwards Deming:
Without research, you are just another person with an opinion
and it’s true.
Research is a crucial element for any business. Research backs the success rate of your business with valid data. Even after you have started your business, it’s essential to continue your research practices to fine-tune your business strategies and improve your product or service.
Getting to know your targeted market and customer type can help you refine your business model and optimise your selling tactics.
It’s through market research that you comprehend the behaviour, expectations, preferences, and purchasing patterns of your customers. You also learn what your customers are saying about you.
You will come across new market opportunities as well as market gaps that you can fulfil to stay ahead of your rivals.
The market research also gives you options for your business to pivot to something better. Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube are results of in-depth market research of their founders, who initially had different plans (Source: Market Research).
Every entrepreneurial journey is different. You wouldn’t face the same obstacles or opportunities as your colleague. What’s important is to know how to face your hurdles with confidence with determination.
After all, building a successful business is a result of great vision and resilience.
The above success tips can help you navigate your business more effectively in this highly competitive business world. If you face difficulties, don’t hesitate to seek help from industry experts or anyone who has been through your road before!
I’m a UK based freelance SEO consultant and digital marketer and I provide results-driven online consulting and digital marketing services to SMEs. Are you ready to grow in 2020? Get in touch today!