The world of startup companies has become a subculture of people with big ideas who can’t seem to get a business going. There are so many entrepreneurs with real vision but no practical experience on how to grow a business to the point where it’s secure and turning sustainable profit. Here are five tips for entrepreneurs to keep in mind as they go about building a solid business foundation.
1. Brand with a purpose
Know who your target customer is and build a brand that appeals to that group. From value-based to exciting and edgy, there’s a marketing model that works. Let your brand fit the market. Your character is what will set it apart from others. Find a way to translate your story and personality into something your audience connects with.
2. Leave room for discussion.
Literally. Coming up with processes to transform a dream into real-world value can’t be done by force of will. It takes feedback and complex reasoning, the kind you get through bouncing around ideas to generate more options. A good ratio of staff to meeting spaces is 10:1. That doesn’t mean dedicating a room to meetings of eight-to-ten people is mandatory. Often important decisions are made between two or three people. You’ll want to be efficient with space for cost reasons, but provide for a few enclosures that allow impromptu collaborations to form new ideas.
3. Clients and processes are very different
Organising how your business operates is also key. Some require a few offices with a professional atmosphere and others the hustle of a big space with open cubicles. For product-driven firms, separating business into account management and project fulfilment results in happier clients and better resource management. Business also involves legalities; licensing in London and business registration in Malaysia are two different things that may each require special services, not another managerial burden.
4. Learn to say “no”.
Clients who only do business in exchange for deep discounts or unbilled services are eating into profits and limiting your business. Even generous terms are not enough to satisfy customers accustomed to haggling on every deal. Clients who can’t appreciate that you’re in business to make a decent profit only bring aggravation, and that’s a bad way to carry on a long-term relationship.
5. Don’t invest in salaries
You often hear the importance of assembling a good team, but in-house teams can be costly in terms of benefits and rising salaries. Don’t invest in personnel where hiring remote or service contractors will get the job done. The same goes for administrative roles where perhaps a virtual services company is more practical. Few people are willing to risk careers on a new startup. All you need to focus on is finding affordable ways to get things done.
Hopefully these tips will give some insight on getting results when you’re still trying to find your footing. Accept that you’ll learn as you go. Keep experimenting until your company becomes the business model that others follow.