We are fortunate to have the opportunity to help a number of startup companies find the working capital they need to make their dreams and ideas a reality. After several years of working with new business owners in every industry, we have amassed a long list of best practices that future startup owners can use to make their own companies successful as well.
Since spring is the season of new beginnings, we are counting down 10 rules for successful startup businesses to follow as they begin their new ventures.
10. Do what works. Your concept may be novel, but if you attempt to completely reinvent your industry then you will lose focus of your core goals. Pay attention to business practices and marketing strategies that have worked for others and put them to work for you.
9. Take advice from people who are where you want to be. When you announce to your network that you are starting a new business, advice will come from everywhere. As you listen, consider the source – is the person twisting your ear an influencer in your field who has captured market share and consistently turns profits? Or are they bitterly struggling to get their own startup off of the ground? If you would trade positions with them, listen more carefully to what they have to say.
8. Fast is easy. If you have a goal, break it down into actionable items and then get it done. If you spend too much time brainstorming or planning, your best plans will become nothing more than talk.
7. Ethics matter. Conduct your business with others the way you would want them to do business with you. Be unfailingly honest with your clients and as transparent as possible without compromising sensitive company information.
6. Foster an environment where your employees compete with themselves – not with each other. Competition can be healthy, but if your employees are at each other’s throats to be the top seller or number one in other areas then their ability to work as a team and promote your company’s mission is compromised. “A rising tide lifts all boats”…unless your workforce is poking holes in the sides.
5. Encourage and motivate your workforce with incentives that matter to them. When you’re starting up you will work very closely with your employees. Get to know them beyond their titles or responsibilities and use that knowledge to motivate them in ways that will work – whether that means production bonuses or recognition for their efforts, or something else entirely.
4. Don’t put all of your hopes for success in one employee, associate, or customer. If you lose a key employee, does the rest of your staff have the expertise and information to keep things going? If a large customer stops buying from you, will you have to close your doors? Even as a fledgling company, one of your primary goals must be to work with and serve enough people that the loss of one will not sink your company.
3. Market yourself. Nobody will be better able to communicate your goals and your enthusiasm than you can – so why let someone else do it? If you want to get your name out there, pick up the phone or open up your email and put it out there yourself. Contact industry leaders and trade publications to introduce yourself and your company and make yourself available for follow-up. The personal touch cannot be overstated.
2. Work with people who share your passion. Even the most dedicated startup business owner cannot achieve success with a team that isn’t passionate about working toward company goals. Look for “find a way, make a way” people that can share or understand your vision and who will charge through setbacks – because whether you like it or not, you will face them.
1. You MUST be passionate to succeed. This rule is the most important. If you are merely ho-hum about your business, or if you are already thinking about what you’ll do “if this doesn’t work out”, then do yourself a favor and don’t begin at all. You have to know that you can meet your goals and be entirely committed to pursuing them despite the difficulties that will arise. Even the best product or most revolutionary business idea will fall flat in the market if you do not approach it with complete gusto.
Following these rules will create a firm foundation for your startup business to succeed. From here, you can build on your potential with technical knowledge and new skills.
If you have passion for your startup but lack the funds to make it happen, Factor Finders can help. Our factoring programs for startups and small businesses can turn your initial invoices into fast cash that you can reinvest in fulfilling your dreams. Contact Factor Finders to learn more about invoice factoring and to receive a same-day proposal for factoring services.