Take risks, but not too many risks. Be on social media, but don’t be on social media too much. You need a little money, or you need a lot of money. When you start reading advice about how to have a successful startup, you may start to feel as though someone threw a lot of ideas into a basket, gave it a shake and starting drawing them out at random. One reason advice can often seem contradictory is because so many people are speaking from their own experience. They know what worked for them, and they want to spread the word. But when you drill down to basics, there are just a few things that you absolutely need for success.
Don’t get stuck on the concept of value here. All it really means is something that people are willing to pay enough for that you can make a profit. At the core, you have to fulfill a want or need or solve a problem with what you offer. Customers are aware of door to door scams, and you won’t want your product or service to be associated with this style of selling and marketing. Nothing else matters if you can’t deliver something that people are willing to buy.
You can have the greatest product or service in the world, but if you don’t have the tools you need to run your business, you can’t succeed. Be smart in your spending, but give yourself, or your employees, the necessary technology and processes. Sometimes, this might mean venturing into areas that you aren’t in an expert in, and you’ll need to rely on your own research and people you trust to make the right choices. This is the case if your startup has a fleet. Talk to your fleet manager about vehicle telematics and what their needs are for downloading and transferring information from the fleet in real time. This can make a real difference in that manager’s ability to run a fleet that is safer, more cost-effective and more efficient.
Here’s something else you can’t do without the people who will give you money for your product or service. This might seem obvious, but it’s surprising how many business owners seem to have the attitude that everything would run smoothly if it weren’t for those demanding customers and their pesky needs. But talking to your customers is crucial for understanding them, knowing what they want and identifying how to appeal to them in your marketing.
Talking to them can also help you solve their problems and turns customers who may be unhappy with an element of your product or service into happy ones. You also need to be mindful of your customers in terms of their outside interests. If your target audience wants to help tackle the environmental crisis then it might be important to you as a business to make conscious efforts to be a greener company.
Customer relationships are critical but so are other relationships. Treating your employees like people instead of worker bees who can help you build your business will increase loyalty and retention and produce people who will go the extra mile. Other startup founders and mentors can help guide you in your decision-making. A smart financial advisor can offer money lessons and save you from expensive pitfalls and help you make good long-term decisions about your money. Finally, be sure that you don’t neglect personal relationships. Support from outside the realm of work and some down time is important in preventing burnout.