Now is the age of the innovative and the confident entrepreneurs are setting off on a journey to make their dreams come true. Startups are small companies which are initially financed and managed by a small group of founders or a single individual. However, a certain amount of groundwork is needed before the founders of startups announce their business propositions to the world. Below is a guide about “what to do” and “what not to do” when you start building your own startup.
Let the Good Make Noise
Here are some do’s that startups should follow in order to sustain and register a long-term growth in their chosen niche.
1. The Power of a Mission Statement
It is very important for a startup to operate with a strong mission statement. Only when you lay down your purpose of entering a particular niche will you be able to work around it. A clear cut definition of your business motives is the primary step your startup should come up with.
This statement will help you as a founder to excite the interests of stakeholders including your colleagues, customers and employees. The mission statement should be so compelling that it becomes your obsession, pushing you to work hard in the direction of establishing your business proposition.
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2. A Principled Business Life
Discipline is an important trait that drives people to perfection. In the sphere of business, discipline about your core values and principles will enable you to operate better.
It is not an overstatement to quote that entrepreneurial setups backed by strong business ethics stand up against the rest who compromise on operational values and standards.
Your core values essentially mirror your disciplined business life, attracting the attention of your competitors, customers and colleagues to work in tandem. If you repeat your core values along with your vision statement on a daily basis to your employees, you will be able to ignite their efficiencies. This repetition paves the way for a startup team to be in sync with company goals.
3. Focus on Your Bottom-Line
Startups are required to come up with a stringent analysis of how they can generate sales. Businesses are here to make money and so is the case with startups which are incorporated with an intention to rake in profits.
Startups flourish when the quantum of sales generated by the team are pre-determined. Meeting timely targets should be your aim, while overcoming challenges that will come your way.
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4. Craft Solid Damage-Control Mechanisms
Life is uncertain and at times unfair too. This is so true in the case of startups as well which are susceptible to unpredictable scenarios. However, the only predictability is that challenges are a part and parcel of every business. You need to anticipate challenges and list out all such scenarios which will put your business in a tight spot.
After enlisting all the possible situations, you as a founder should spend time chalking out solutions to each one of them. It is through this diligent preparation that you can safeguard your startup from business shocks and keep the money rolling in.
5. Handpick Passionate Employees
Most of the startups fail on account of faulty recruitment practices. Since employees are the life-blood of your startup, you should hire only such candidates who are passionate about your mission statement. A bad hire can throw your startup out of gear. Hence the key is to implement an interview process that will shed light on the commitment your prospective employees would have towards your startup.
An intelligent way of hiring the right team would be to check out their interest levels by posing the million dollar question: “Why do you want to join our startup”? Depending on the responses, you can handpick your team which will work hard to make success the second nature of your startup.
6. Coin Your Unique Selling Proposition(USP)
The USP of your startup is what makes you set apart from your competitors. It is a statement that speaks volume of the real benefit your customers would enjoy by patronizing your products and services. When you have a USP in place, your customers will find it easier to match their needs with your offerings.
A solid USP will compel customers to pick your brand in contrast to others demonstrating a shoddy promotional theme. And to come up with an effective USP, your startup should invest in a creative marketing campaign that highlights all the positives that your offerings bring to the table. Tagged as a differentiating strategy, your USP makes your products unique over the run-of-the-mill offerings that are overflowing in the markets.
Steer Clear of the Don’ts
The following pointers should be best avoided by startups at all costs.
1. A Big “No” to a Business With Frills
Spending on luxuries will drain your startup of its capital resources. Instead of renting a plush office or investing in modern office furniture, it is important to invest in attributes that generate sales.
If you are mindful of where your capital is being spent, you will be able to cut costs and look at ways to improve your bottom-line. When such non-essential features are removed from your costing structure, you will be able to work around a competitive model that will guarantee you low costs with high returns.
2. Expensive Technological Solutions Are Wasteful
Given the fact that your startup is in the process of establishing itself in a highly competitive marketplace, you as its founder should initially take baby steps. Lavish spending on cutting-edge technologies should be completely avoided.
New technologies not only drain your resources but also your precious time when your team is caught up learning about modern software systems. Instead, you should make the most of the available technologies that you are aware of. You should also impress upon your employees to use the technology platform they are comfortable with.
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3. Mismatch of Your Needs and the Strengths of Candidates
As mentioned, recruitment plays a very important role in the success of a startup. It is in this context that founders and promoters of startups should try to match their hiring needs with the core competencies of the employee pool. A hiring mismatch will come as a costly proposition for your startup.
However, when it matches, you can bank on the strengths of your employees and turn them to your advantage. On the flipside, you as a founder should not be spending time on improving the weaknesses of your team. This is a wasteful effort that should be completely avoided.
4. Employee Favoritism – A Strict “No”
Your startup in no way should fuel the concept of favoritism. You as a founder should ensure that you treat all your employees fairly and with a deep sense of equality. It is only when every team member is treated on par with the others, that a congenial business environment is created.
Most of the startups fail because they treat employees with partiality. Hence, a biased treatment towards employees can wreak havoc in a startup especially when employees feel that they are not given their due importance. Founders who consciously spend time with their employers and bond well will set the stage for a happy and fulfilling startup employment. Hence the onus is on you to conduct business in such a way that you look at every employee as your brand ambassador.
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5. Advertising Agencies Burn A Hole In Your Pockets
Startups should be majorly concerned about getting first-hand customer information. It is all about direct response marketing which helps you initiate a “call to action”. Feedback and response to your products and services coming from your customer pool is the strongest data point that will help you come up with an effective marketing program. This sort of marketing can be done by yourself without involving advertising agencies.
If you are concerned about branding, you as a founder should be patient till such time you gain ground in your chosen niche. Once customers and competitors begin to recognize you along with your creative offerings, you will be able to target your customer base through a well-established brand equity. Staying away from advertising agencies is hence the most intelligent way to bring down your costs.
The Key Takeaways
There is no shortcut to success. This famous axiom that fits into every sphere of human life including the businesses promoted by an enterprising individual. Hence, you as a founder of a startup should do all the hard work that involves a deep thinking about customers, markets, competitors, market conditions and business risks. A solid homework involving all these attributes will help startups launch and succeed in their businesses forever.