Starting a business is not for the faint of heart. It is very stressful and practically demands all your time and attention. On the other hand, it can also be a great personal and professional experience. Here are 50 tips to help you in your entrepreneurial adventure.
1. Discover your skills. Not everyone has what it takes to start a business, that does not mean that your idea is not brilliant, only that maybe you do not have some vital personality characteristics to launch your company. Before investing time or resources, evaluate yourself and see if you have the typical skills of an entrepreneur.
2. Develop an idea. Do not start a business just because something is fashionable or because you think that marketing it will give you money. Develop a business concept that you are passionate about, something that you have some experience with. Next, think of a product or service that you believe will improve people’s lives.
3. Prove your credibility. Once you have an idea, discover how you can make it come true. Is the product something that people want or need? Can you have profits selling it? Works?
4. Write a business plan. A solid business plan will guide you forward. You will also need it to present your idea to potential investors. It should include a mission, an executive summary, a summary of the company, samples of the service or product, a description of your target market, financial projections and the cost of operations.
5. Identify your market. Even if you have detected some interest in your business, you need to do more homework. Evaluate the market so that you sell to the people who will surely make the purchase. Make a competitive evaluation.
6. Determine the costs. Do additional research and know the standard costs within the industry. This will not only help you handle the business more efficiently, it will also be valuable information for investors.
7. Establish a budget. Once you determine how much money you will have to work, find out how much you need to develop your product or service and create a marketing plan.
8. Find the right investors. You will need some type of financing at the start, whether it be your savings, credit cards, loans, venture capitalists or donations. Find an investor who shares your passion, someone with whom you think you can work.
9. Listen to investors. Whether you like it or not, they will have an opinion when it comes to your company. Listen to their advice and suggestions, but that does not mean you have to do everything they say.
10. Have a great support system. You will invest a lot of time and resources in your new business venture. Make sure your family agrees. They should be aware that this process will challenge them economically and emotionally.
11. Determine the legal structure. Determine what is best for you: be the sole owner, have a partner, a limited liability company, an S corporation, a nonprofit organization or a cooperative.
12. Select the name of your company. Decide on a name that goes with your brand, then see if that is available and if you can use it freely in your country and state.
13. Register the name of your business. If the name you want is available, register it as soon as possible in the corresponding offices.
14. Take advantage of resources without cost. These can be social networks or even a person who offers you advice and experience to move your startup forward.
15. Buy insurance. Make sure you have the right insurance for your company. This may vary according to the type of business. If you work from home, make sure that your insurance includes the thefts or damages to the assets of the company as well as the responsibility for the damages related to it.
16. Fix the accounting books. Have all the money that goes in and goes out of the business.
17. Choose the appropriate location. Choose a location that suits the needs of your business, one that offers an opportunity for growth, the right level of competence and closeness for suppliers. It must also be accessible to customers.
18. Do not worry about an office. If you are not making a profit, do not be mortified to acquire a space to work, you can do it from home.
19. The patent can wait. Patents can cost a lot of money. Pay this amount when you are sure you have enough customers to settle the bills.
20. Be flexible. The odds are that your original idea has to be modified. Being able to adapt and change something to offer the client something you want will determine whether you will succeed or not.
21. Share your ideas with friends and family. The closest people are the ones who will be most honest with you about your idea. Do not hesitate to seek their advice and suggestions.
22. Ignore the negatives. There is a big difference between constructive criticism and someone saying quickly that your business will fail. The best you can do is ignore these people.
23. Do not get mad. If your idea is rejected by clients or investors do not succumb to anger. Find out what they did not like, make adjustments and come back with them once you’ve changed what they wanted.
24. Deliver the product or fast service. Your business is a work in progress and if you launch a product or service quickly, you will be able to build a community of clients that can provide you with valuable feedback that will help you improve your offer. As the founder of LinkedIn says “If you are not ashamed of the first launch of your product, you have made it known very late”.
25. Offers new products or services. If you already have clients make sure you take care of them by giving them new products or services.
26. Be patient. Always keep in mind that success will not happen overnight. It’s going to take some time before you win something.
27. Give more than what they ask at the beginning. Once you have a new client make sure you go further at least the first month. You will have that customer hooked.
28. Post to your blog all the time. Do not be ashamed to share your triumphs and struggles. Clients will enjoy your honesty.
29. Avoid fights with partners. If you have disagreements, fix the problems as soon as possible. Fights can distract them from doing things right in the business.
30. Do not worry about losing a percentage of the company. An investor has acquired an action from your company. Recognize the fact that eventually at some point you will have to give up a portion of the control of the business.
31. Hire an editor. Unless you know how to write very well, hire someone to write the mails for the target customers. This will also help you with press releases and other things that will make the company’s news known.
32. Prepare for the meetings. When you prepare for the meeting with a client, read everything you can about the industry, your competition and that client’s company.
33. Make a meeting agenda. Keep the objectives you want to touch at hand. Send that agenda by mail to your colleagues before they see each other so they can prepare themselves too. Make sure these objectives are clear and everyone understands them.
34. Do not be afraid of competition. Do not speak ill of the competition when you are with clients or investors. There is no need to be an object of pity. In fact, talking in this way may make customers leave with the competition offered by a product or service that you do not give. Remember, when the competition goes, there will be a market for your business. Use that knowledge as inspiration to do things better than your rival.
35. Benefit from word of mouth. Nothing beats good word of mouth marketing. Let your friends, family and influencers report what your product or service does.
36. Offers a customer experience. An experience includes sensory marketing. This means handling colors, lights, aromas, and so on. Integrate all these sensations to your offer, in such a way that they conquer the senses of your consumers.
37. Do networking. Do not be afraid to go out and show your face to the public, either at a conference or just out with a friend on a Friday night.
38. Give impeccable customer service. Interacting with people is an important part of your work. Your business could win new customers because you made them feel important. For example, Zappos was not the first online store to sell shoes, but the company perfected its customer service and won many buyers.
39. Make sure your website works. Potential customers want to know as much as they can about your business, so access to it should be quick
40. Do not worry too much about your economy. Some of the best businesses were launched when the economic situation was not the best for the world, so do not think twice and dare!
41. Make sure customers pay the bills. Make sure you receive payment for your product or service. Instead of taking advantage of you, set a specific time to make the payment. It will not hurt you to accept credit cards or have the option to pay directly on your website.
42. Find the right employees. Hire the ideal people for the position. Even if it’s your business, you will not be able to deal with everything, that’s why you need qualified people to complete the job.
43. Assign responsibilities. Delegate workable tasks to your work team.
44. Honesty is the best policy. If you have problems with an employee, make sure they are resolved. Nobody likes to talk behind their backs.
45. Remember that opposites attract. Hire people with skills and personalities opposed to yours. They will challenge you and bring new things to your business.
46. Say goodbye to your social life. You will spend a lot of time dedicated to your business. Even if you plan a night out with friends, you can leave early because a focus melted. The good thing is that these people will understand you.
47. Accept that you will be the last person to be paid. As CEO, you’ll be the last to receive a check, and that’s how it will be until you have the right winnings.
48. Do not expect success immediately. Just because your business has not made you a millionaire (yet) does not mean that your company is a failure. If you have received some type of profit doing something that you are passionate about, is it a success story, or not?
49. Accept when it is time to retire. Failure is inevitable. If things are not working and you have done everything you can, put aside your pride and close. Something like that is not easy to accept but it is for the best.
50. Do not trust only the advice of others. Although I offer to give you these tips, perhaps the most important is something I learned the bad: Although many people offer their help, realize that in the end you are the owner of the business and responsible for the success or failure of the same. If you know what worked, you will have the skills and knowledge to move your business forward.