For many, the dream of starting their own business is both exciting and scary at the same time, which is why start-ups need small business advisors.
There are countless stories about entrepreneurs who risked it all and made it big. Those who are successful extol “hard work” as the quality that made them successful. For those of us with an idea or dream, we can’t help but wonder, “What if?”
If all it took were hard work, then there would be many more business owners out there.
There are many things to weigh when trying to start your own business. Below are some of the things you should consider before taking that plunge into being a business owner:
Understand your Target Market
Performing an analysis of the market for your product is the first vital step in validating your business idea. Experts at the Small Business Administration say that understanding Demand, Market Size, and Market Saturation are indicators of product success. These indicators will help you identify product viability, market space opportunity, and the existing competitors taking up space.
Further, experts at SBA stress that a competitive analysis “… is key to defining a competitive edge that creates sustainable revenue.” This is especially crucial to understanding the strengths and weaknesses of your competitors. It gives you insight into where you can differentiate your product to fill the consumer needs in your space. Regardless of the business, you’ll have direct and indirect competitors. To be successful, research as much as possible about what your competitors sell and the way they sell it, which is why start-ups need small business advisors, experience with these things matter.
Traditional wisdom says that it’s good to have a thought out business plan, tons of market analysis, and competitive analysis. Intuitively, these things seem to help make an entrepreneur more successful. Often though, an entrepreneur will put together a business plan and an idea for their product and think that’s it. Yet, with all that planning and analysis, it’s estimated that 9 out of 10 startups fail. That’s a sobering and humbling number for any prospective entrepreneur. However, there are lessons we can learn from those companies that manage to make it out of the hyper-competitive market spaces.
A big takeaway from the success and failures of the technology sector is not to be afraid of failure. Instead, learn and adapt from that failure, which is why start-ups need small business advisors, good ones can give you sound advice.
Be Willing to Adapt
Steve Blank, gets specific about the merits of the “lean startup” in his article “Why the Lean Start-Up Changes Everything.” He explains how this methodology “…favors experimentation over elaborate planning, customer feedback over intuition, and iterative design over traditional “big design up front” development.”
This approach can lead to greater success. No single plan can prepare you for all of the things you’ll encounter when trying to grow your business.
As Steve says, “Startups are not smaller versions of large companies. They do not unfold in accordance with master plans. The ones that ultimately succeed go quickly from failure to failure, all the while adapting, iterating on, and improving their initial ideas as they continually learn from customers.” When creating a product, you have to continually adapt it to the needs of the customers. Adapting is a way to ensure that your business fills a niche and stays relevant in the market, which is why start-ups need small business advisors. Knowing when and what to change will make the difference.
Build Teams to Help You
Finding good people to add value to your business will help to grow your company faster.
Look for one or more partners to add a team dynamic. Having more than one person with input into decisions related to the product, marketing, and operations is just better. Neil Patel from Forbes says that team members will add “versatility” to the startup, and “Every startup is backed by a team of people. The more versatile that team, the better chance they have of succeeding.”
An entrepreneur can’t be a one-person team. Whether you form a partnership or find a mentor, it’s essential to be willing to listen to others. Learning about other’s trials can teach you a lot about people who have been there before. Join groups with people who think like you. Take training courses and try to learn everything you can about your industry. Figure out where you’re at and what it takes to get to where you wish to be.
Stay Focused and Execute
Having an entrepreneurial spirit means you have lots of ideas: some good and some bad. Being successful means moving on from bad ideas and translating those good ideas into a strategy that works.
Jesse Torres for Entrepreneur.com wrote, “4 Steps to Successful Execution of a Strategy”, explaining that good execution of a plan will make a strategy work. He talks about how entrepreneurs must set clear priorities. Identify what your goals are and stick to those goals.
Spreading yourself too thin on too many ideas or goals could make you miss all of them. It’s better to be realistic and stay focused on the most important goals.
Also, you must periodically evaluate the strategy. Set a time to meet with your team and management to go over how the strategy is progressing. Jesse says, “The periodic strategic meetings should discuss strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats (or SWOT). They can help executives determine the strategy’s soundness in light of changes within the organization, industry, and economy.” Knowing how to develop your brand strategy takes some expertise which is why start-ups need small business advisors.
Stander & Company is There for You
One reason many people don’t become entrepreneurs is that they don’t know where to begin. Taking that leap from idea to startup is a big one and requires some planning. Make sure you have the right strategy when deciding what to do with your business idea.
If you’d like to grow your startup business or simply don’t know where to start, check out the rest of Stander & Company’s site. We are small business advisors, provide bookkeeping and payroll services, as well as tax services, marketing, and more. Contact us today, and let us guide your entrepreneurial spirit.