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How to Help Ensure Startup Success

Going from a good idea to a profitable business is not quick, or particularly easy, but getting started in the right way can make a big difference to your survival and success.

1. Get the right mindset

Is it what you REALLY want to do? Is it something you REALLY believe in? Is it something you feel you CAN achieve? You will need passion and commitment to support the right mindset when you decide to go into business.

Many people don’t follow their dreams, or even believe they have what it takes to build their own business. They make excuses that prevent taking that leap of faith and many regret it. If you don’t want self-doubt to turn into self-sabotage ask for advice from experienced small business owners, seek a mentor to support you, or an experienced coach who can help you get clarity about what you want to achieve and how.

2. Before you begin a startup or small business it’s time to THINK about:

Your market: is your idea viable. Find out about similar ideas to yours: who is buying what, where and how to help you understand if your idea will work as a business proposition.

Your Support: family, colleagues, friends… success relies on all sorts of networks and connections. There may be someone you don’t know but who could potentially help you. Now’s the time to get introduced.

Your Money: full-time job? Studying? stay in your full or part time job (for now). Starting to work on your idea while you are employed or in education can give you security and if you can put some savings aside that helps too. Think what money you need to start: what equipment and resources you will need. Could your city or regional business support with grants and loans?

Your Plan: set out a plan to achieve your business goals. It can help to stage it: 6 months, one year, five years. Expect this to change but get it down as a road map and a reminder.

Your responsibilities: check the tax and legal requirements of your sector. If you are not sure, get advice from local business support and find a good accountant to talk it over with.

Yourself: there’s not time like the present to be the professional you want to be. Think about your ‘brand’ and walk the talk. How do you want to be seen – smart, professional, courteous? Find a domain name that reflects your business for your emails, get some business cards and treat everyone as a potential customer, with respect and curiosity.

Your customer: begin to build a customer base. This might be beginning a blog or simply talking to your support networks and actively seeking to meet others who could support, invest or buy from you.

3. Get to know your competitors

Just as you should not underestimate your competitors, you must also no ignore them. They are a valuable resource of knowledge, support, even collaboration. Give kudos for their success. Help them out if you can and the favour is most likely to be returned.

4. Understand your skills and carve out a niche

Knowing what you’re really good at doesn’t just apply to your products or services, but also your personal skills. If you are not good with numbers, find a bookkeeper. If you are not good at writing, find a copywriter. Maximise what you do well and delegate to others the tasks you do not.

5. Become well known for what you do

There is nothing more attractive to a customer or supplier than someone who is respected and trusted. Spread your expertise via videos, blogs, eBooks and podcasts – just a few of the ways you can expand your audience and customer reach.

6. Know what it costs

It is just as important to know what income you need to cover your expenses and make a profit, as it is to identify unnecessary spending. Your accountant or bookkeeper is not in charge of your business, you are. Be and stay in control of your finances.

7. Surround yourself with good people

Trustworthy, loyal, positive and productive (it also helps to know how to relax and have fun) – anything less and you are storing up trouble!

8. Keep listening and learning

Partners, friends, colleagues, customers, competitors… sometimes the hardest feedback to hear is the thing that will improve what you do the most.

9. Follow your instincts

Intuition, ‘gut instinct’, call it what you like, we have an in-built alert system when it comes to risk and reward. If you’ve got a big decision to make it’s important to get the facts, seek advice and listen to your gut.

10. Have values and give value

By doing the very best you can with what you have, your team will respect you, your customers will return and your business will grow.